London midday: Stocks nudge up ahead of payrolls; Wetherspoons surges
London stocks had edged higher by midday on Friday after a muted start, as investors eyed the release of the latest US non-farm payrolls report.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.2% at 7,008.43.
The payrolls report is due at 1330 BST, along with the unemployment rate and average earnings.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "The key event of the day for markets is the release of new US jobs numbers as these will be analysed closely by the Federal Reserve at its November interest rate decision.
"The consensus is non-farm payrolls to have increased by 250,000 in September versus 315,000 in August. The unemployment rate is seen unchanged at 3.7%.
"While the non-farm payroll estimate implies a slowdown in jobs growth, hitting those forecasts may still send a signal to investors that the jobs market remains buoyant enough and that the Fed will stick to its path of raising rates."
On home shores, a survey out earlier revealed that the housing market showed early signs of slowing in September as house prices nudged lower.
According the Halifax House Price Index, house prices eased 0.1% in September, compared to a marginal rise of 0.3% in August and the second decrease in three months. The annual growth rate also eased, to 9.9% from 11.4%.
The average UK property now costs £293,835, a slight reduction on the previous figure of £293,992, though it remains near record highs.
Kim Kinnaird, director at Halifax Mortgages, said: "The events of the last few weeks have led to greater uncertainty. However, in reality, house prices have been largely flat since June, up by around £250. This compares to a rise of more than £10,000 during previous quarter, suggesting that the housing market may have already entered a more sustained period of slower growth."
Looking ahead, Kinnaird said there were "many variables at play", noting: "While stamp duty cuts, the short supply of homes for sales and a strong labour market all support house prices, the prospect of interest rates continuing to rise sharply amid the cost-of-living squeeze, plus the impact in recent weeks of higher mortgage borrowing costs on affordability, are likely to exert more significant downward pressure on house prices in the months ahead."
In equity markets, pub group Wetherspoons shot higher after saying it narrowed annual losses and that like-for-like sales in the first nine weeks of the current financial year were up 10%. The company posted a loss of £30.4m before tax and exceptional items compared with a £167m loss in 2021 when Covid lockdowns were in place.
PureTech Health slid after it confirmed a possible tie-up with US biopharmaceutical group Nektar Therapeutics. The shares had risen sharply on Thursday on speculation of a deal.
Paving specialist Marshalls tumbled after saying it now expects the outturn for the full year to be below the bottom end of the current range of market expectations for profit of between £95.1m and £101m.
Outside the FTSE 350, fashion brand Superdry rallied after it said it swung to a full-year profit as revenues rose, thanks in part to an increase in full price sales, but warned that profit for FY23 was set to fall amid cost inflation.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Centrica (CNA) 70.28p 2.69%
BAE Systems (BA.) 838.60p 2.44%
SEGRO (SGRO) 761.20p 2.42%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 101.80p 2.15%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,381.00p 2.01%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 881.40p 1.97%
GSK (GSK) 1,341.00p 1.39%
Tesco (TSCO) 202.10p 1.25%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 43.04p 1.20%
National Grid (NG.) 920.20p 1.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Admiral Group (ADM) 1,926.50p -2.38%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 650.50p -2.18%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 479.30p -2.14%
Smurfit Kappa Group (CDI) (SKG) 2,489.00p -2.12%
Next (NXT) 4,535.00p -2.07%
Ashtead Group (AHT) 4,309.00p -2.07%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 244.30p -2.04%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 773.60p -1.95%
RS Group (RS1) 996.50p -1.92%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 2,929.50p -1.78%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 500.50p 14.37%
Drax Group (DRX) 568.00p 4.70%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 113.00p 3.29%
BH Macro Ltd. GBP Shares (BHMG) 4,760.00p 3.14%
Twentyfour Income Fund Limited Ord Red (TFIF) 99.20p 2.90%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 115.05p 2.77%
Supermarket Income Reit (SUPR) 108.50p 2.36%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 187.00p 1.96%
SSP Group (SSPG) 201.70p 1.95%
CLS Holdings (CLI) 147.00p 1.94%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Marshalls (MSLH) 245.80p -18.61%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 219.50p -14.26%
Genuit Group (GEN) 281.00p -5.70%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 422.80p -4.52%
Lancashire Holdings Limited (LRE) 487.80p -4.07%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 778.00p -3.95%
Beazley (BEZ) 566.00p -3.66%
Grafton Group Ut (CDI) (GFTU) 670.20p -3.57%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 768.00p -3.52%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,303.00p -3.34%