London midday: Stocks steady ahead of US June jobs numbers
Stocks are holding slightly higher ahead of the release of the US non-farm payrolls report for June.
"Today's data will shed some light on the health of the labour market recovery and a possible timeline for the Fed's plans to tighten monetary policy," said Sophie Griffiths, market analyst at Oanda.
"Today's NFP report comes following two weaker-than-forecast prints. A third weak print could indicate a new trend of declining jobs growth, which could unnerve the Fed. Surging inflation and declining jobs growth is not a good place to be whichever way you look at it."
As of 1233 BST, London's top-flight index was up by 0.19% or 13.69 points to 7,138.97, alongside a 0.56% gain on the FTSE 250 to 22,748.63.
Consensus is for the jobs report, which is due out at 1330 BST, to show an increase in hiring from May's 559,000 to 700,000 people last month.
Economists at Unicredit however are calling for a slightly larger jump in job creation of 750,000, arguing that the "likely temporary" factors dragging on labour supply probably eased somewhat last month.
Some of those factors included fear of infection if workers returned to work, childcare constraints and enhanced unemployment benefits.
Unicredit believed that a jobs report in line with its forecasts would support risk appetite.
For their part, analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics are anticipating an even stronger reading of 1.0m jobs.
In other news, on Thursday the UK reported 27,989 new Covid-19 cases between 25 June and 1 July, for a 72% jump versus the prior week.
Nevertheless, in a research note sent to clients, Kallum Pickering at Berenberg, noted that the nine-fold rise in recorded infections in the UK since early May had been mostly recorded among people who had not yet been inoculated - namely the young.
"As long as the vaccines continue to work, we see no serious risk of further lockdowns. This reduces the risk of a major economic set-back," Pickering added.
Data on US durable goods orders in May and foreign trade figures for that same month were also due out, at 1330 BST and 1500 BST, respectively.
On the broker front, analysts at Berenberg have upgraded their recommendation for shares of Informa from 'hold' to 'buy'. Over at Jefferies meanwhile, analysts initiated coverage of defence group Chemring at 'buy' with a target price of 370.0p.
Grafton completes purchase of Finland's IKH
Building materials distributor and retailer Grafton Group has completed the acquisition of Isojoen Konehalli Oy and Jokapaikka Oy, or ‘IKH’, it announced on Friday. It said IKH is one of the largest workwear, personal protective equipment (PPE), tools, spare parts and accessories technical wholesalers and distributors in Finland.
A shareholder revolt at JD Sports Fashion has resulted in the head of the company’s remuneration committee being voted off the board over anger at the retailer’s pay policies. JD Sports said almost 55% of voting shareholders rejected the re-election of Andrew Leslie, who had sat on the fashion group’s board for 11 years, forcing him to step down with immediate effect. The company said it would elect a temporary chair of its remuneration committee and begin the search for Leslie’s long-term replacement.
QinetiQ Group on Friday said David Smith will be retiring as chief financial officer and stepping down from the board on November 30 to be replaced by Lightsource CFO Carol Borg. Smith joined Qinetiq in January 2017. Borg will start work on October 11 “to enable a smooth transition period”, the company said in a statement.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Informa (INF) 528.80p 3.16%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,951.00p 2.13%
Entain (ENT) 1,813.50p 1.85%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 102.72p 1.84%
Evraz (EVR) 609.00p 1.77%
Aveva Group (AVV) 3,876.00p 1.76%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,583.00p 1.69%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 432.00p 1.60%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 165.50p 1.56%
British Land Company (BLND) 513.20p 1.46%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Standard Chartered (STAN) 461.90p -1.22%
Rightmove (RMV) 651.00p -0.97%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 2,040.00p -0.83%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 420.20p -0.74%
BP (BP.) 322.45p -0.63%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,479.20p -0.63%
BT Group (BT.A) 194.90p -0.56%
NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 205.80p -0.53%
Kingfisher (KGF) 365.80p -0.49%
CRH (CDI) (CRH) 3,683.00p -0.49%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Cineworld Group (CINE) 84.86p 3.09%
Herald Investment Trust (HRI) 2,335.00p 2.86%
IWG (IWG) 324.10p 2.82%
888 Holdings (888) 402.00p 2.76%
Trainline (TRN) 316.00p 2.66%
Elementis (ELM) 155.00p 2.65%
Morgan Advanced Materials (MGAM) 369.50p 2.64%
Renishaw (RSW) 5,065.00p 2.49%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 845.00p 2.42%
Bellway (BWY) 3,378.00p 2.36%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 448.80p -2.52%
AO World (AO.) 236.80p -2.47%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 457.90p -1.76%
Mediclinic International (MDC) 296.20p -1.53%
Tyman (TYMN) 450.00p -1.32%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 415.50p -1.19%
NCC Group (NCC) 306.50p -1.13%
Mitie Group (MTO) 66.70p -1.04%
Energean (ENOG) 734.00p -0.81%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 158.60p -0.75%