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Fri City brief: Positive jobs report; record R-R order

Britain created the largest number of jobs in nearly a year and unemployment is at its lowest rate since mid-2008, official labour market data showed.

The number of people in employment rose by nearly a quarter of a million – the biggest increase since April last year – to a record 31.05 million. The employment rate also jumped to hit an all-time high of 73.4%.

Today’s figures helped sterling hit its highest level in nearly four weeks against the dollar.

The figures were seen as a boost to David Cameron’s election hopes and he received further backing from Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund who said his government’s plan was working.

In corporate news engine maker Rolls-Royce was among the best performers after winning its largest-ever order, worth $9.2 billion to provide Trent 900 engines and TotalCare service support to Emirates.

But the good news was tempered by overseas data and technical glitches which sent the FTSE100 back below 7,000, while Wall Street opened sharply lower.

Uncertainty in Greece was also prompting investors to tread lightly as the debt crisis dominates talks at the International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

The FTSE100 closed down 64.33pts at 6996.12 after a terminal blackout and changes in Chinese trading regulations.

Wall St was down on investor concerns over a clampdown on margin trading in China and a number of disappointing earnings reports from US corporations.

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