London midday: FTSE ticks a little higher ahead of payrolls
London stocks had pushed a little further into the black by midday on Friday following heavy losses in the previous session, as investors awaited the latest US non-farm payrolls report.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.5% at 7,185.12, having closed down 1.9% on Thursday as recession fears rattled markets.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said: "Eyes are on today’s US nonfarm payrolls report, which is expected to show employers added around 300k jobs last month, a bit below the average of the last few months but in no way a problem for the Fed as it looks to turn the screws on monetary policy.
"Remember, a bad jobs report is probably better for the market than a good one - the stronger the labour market the more cover the Fed has to keep on raising rates. Whatever the short-term moves are, it ain’t over until the Fed says so."
The non-farm payrolls report for August is due at 1330 BST, along with the unemployment rate and average earnings.
In equity markets, asset manager Ashmore reversed earlier losses to trade sharply higher even it said that assets under management and earnings slipped in the 12 months ended 30 June as Russia's invasion of Ukraine and inflationary concerns led to widespread risk aversion.
Avast was little changed after the Competition and Markets Authority cleared NortonLifeLock’s $8.6bn takeover of the London-listed cybersecurity software developer.
Housebuilders were under the cosh after a raft of downgrades in the sector. HSBC cut Barratt Developments, Bellway, Persimmon, Crest Nicholson, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey to ‘hold’, while Berkeley was downgraded to ‘reduce’.
Shell was in focus following a report it has shortlisted four candidates to succeed chief executive Ben van Beurden, who is preparing to step down next year after nearly a decade at the helm of the energy firm. Reuters cited two company sources as saying that Shell's board succession committee - headed by Chairman Andrew Mackenzie - has met several times in recent months to draw up plans for van Beurden's departure and interview potential successors.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Abrdn (ABDN) 147.90p 4.49%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,055.50p 3.84%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 73.67p 3.31%
Prudential (PRU) 907.80p 2.97%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,902.00p 2.44%
SEGRO (SGRO) 912.60p 2.36%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 480.00p 2.30%
St James's Place (STJ) 1,067.50p 2.25%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 106.88p 2.22%
BP (BP.) 450.60p 2.13%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 3,383.00p -5.74%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 396.20p -4.58%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,408.50p -4.18%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 102.60p -2.29%
Howden Joinery Group (HWDN) 540.80p -2.10%
GSK (GSK) 1,335.80p -1.58%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 674.60p -1.40%
National Grid (NG.) 1,064.00p -1.02%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 3,417.50p -0.81%
BT Group (BT.A) 144.95p -0.75%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Bridgepoint Group (Reg S) (BPT) 262.00p 10.55%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 476.00p 5.97%
Ashmore Group (ASHM) 204.40p 5.25%
Polymetal International (POLY) 210.00p 5.00%
Carnival (CCL) 711.20p 4.28%
Chrysalis Investments Limited NPV (CHRY) 76.00p 3.68%
Genus (GNS) 2,454.00p 3.37%
Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 82.10p 3.01%
FirstGroup (FGP) 121.90p 2.87%
Mitie Group (MTO) 73.50p 2.80%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Redrow (RDW) 454.80p -7.30%
Crest Nicholson Holdings (CRST) 209.80p -5.75%
Moonpig Group (MOON) 171.40p -4.83%
XP Power Ltd. (DI) (XPP) 1,846.00p -4.75%
Bellway (BWY) 1,893.00p -4.51%
Vistry Group (VTY) 720.00p -2.83%
Countryside Partnerships (CSP) 224.80p -1.83%
IWG (IWG) 151.90p -1.68%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 376.80p -1.67%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 727.00p -1.49%