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London open: Stocks little changed ahead of payrolls, easyJet flies lower

Fri 06 October 2017 08:42 | A A A

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7435.73 | Positive 41.77 (0.56%)

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(ShareCast News) - London stocks were inching very modestly higher at the open on Friday, with investors reluctant to make any bold moves either way ahead of the latest non-farm payrolls report.

At 0830 BST, the FTSE 100 was up 0.1% to 7,513.12, while the pound was down 0.3% against the dollar at 1.3080 and 0.1% weaker versus the euro at 1.1190, still weighed down by political uncertainty following Prime Minister Theresa May's speech at the Tory party conference.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "While on Thursday there was a web of reasons why the pound was driven lower, this Friday's decline seems to have a more singular reason behind it: Tory infighting.

"The sound of sharpening knives has only grown louder since Theresa May's Thick of It-esque speech mid-week. Last night there were reports that a group of Conservative 'rebels' were seeking advice from those who deposed of Ian Duncan Smith back in 2003, while this morning former Tory chairman Grant Shapps has claimed a number of MPs privately agree that the PM should go."

The non-farm payrolls report for September is due at 1330 BST, along with the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings.

Konstantinos Anthis at ADS Securities said: "The toll that Hurricane Harvey had on the US economy is yet unknown but it's bound to be reflected on this month's jobs report which will undoubtedly print on the soft side.

"However, there are some indications that this may be less bearish than some think. Strong manufacturing and services ISM figures and a positive ADP reading suggest that the NFPs might not come in as low as expected today, so we might be in for a surprise."

In corporate news, CRH was on the back foot after its proposed $3.5bn acquisition of US-based Ash Grove was facing possible derailment after the Kansas company received a potentially larger rival offer.

Budget airline easyJet flew lower despite saying pre-tax profit for the year is expected to be at the upper end of the previously guided range as it reported a record number of passengers over the summer.

On the upside, Ultra Electronics was in the black after it said that shareholders in Sparton have approved the acquisition agreed earlier this year.

NMC Health was boosted by an initiation at 'buy' by Berenberg, while Barratt Developments gained after Credit Suisse lifted it to 'outperform' and Pets at Home rallied on an upbeat note from HSBC.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,513.12 0.07%

FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,111.32 0.11%

techMARK (TASX) 3,540.95 0.03%

FTSE 100 - Risers

NMC Health (NMC) 2,787.00p 2.39%

Barratt Developments (BDEV) 657.00p 1.62%

British American Tobacco (BATS) 4,755.50p 1.07%

Admiral Group (ADM) 1,826.00p 0.83%

Convatec Group (CTEC) 285.10p 0.78%

Pearson (PSON) 620.50p 0.73%

Carnival (CCL) 4,950.00p 0.69%

Imperial Brands (IMB) 3,150.00p 0.69%

Compass Group (CPG) 1,616.00p 0.69%

Mediclinic International (MDC) 668.50p 0.68%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

easyJet (EZJ) 1,255.00p -2.26%

CRH (CRH) 2,758.00p -1.85%

Standard Chartered (STAN) 769.60p -1.13%

Fresnillo (FRES) 1,419.00p -1.11%

Glencore (GLEN) 367.25p -0.82%

Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 7,380.00p -0.74%

Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 66.92p -0.56%

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 614.50p -0.49%

Sage Group (SGE) 725.00p -0.41%

Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 352.70p -0.40%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Pets at Home Group (PETS) 217.20p 2.55%

PayPoint (PAY) 963.00p 2.23%

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (MLC) 455.00p 2.16%

Worldwide Healthcare Trust (WWH) 2,700.00p 1.69%

QinetiQ Group (QQ.) 243.80p 1.50%

Bovis Homes Group (BVS) 1,164.00p 1.48%

Entertainment One Limited (ETO) 274.80p 1.36%

Tullow Oil (TLW) 193.40p 1.36%

Sirius Minerals (SXX) 25.50p 1.19%

Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,452.00p 1.18%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Renishaw (RSW) 4,688.00p -3.93%

Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 1,244.00p -3.04%

Ferrexpo (FXPO) 290.40p -2.91%

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,190.00p -2.62%

FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,012.00p -1.84%

Softcat (SCT) 414.60p -1.75%

McCarthy & Stone (MCS) 149.30p -1.45%

Polymetal International (POLY) 863.50p -1.26%

Drax Group (DRX) 299.50p -0.83%

Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 374.40p -0.82%

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