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London rises after muted US jobs data; BA owner posts loss

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5.30pm: Green list issued

The UK Transport secretary Grant Shapps unveiled a 12-strong green list of nations where visits will not lead to automatic quarantine requirements.

But Scotland is yet to confirm the list and there is alarm over the Champions League final after Turkey was added to the red list.

Full story here


5pm: Muted US jobs calm markets

Disappointing US job creation numbers for April helped calm worries over sooner-than-expected monetary policy tightening.

The US economy added 266,000 jobs, sharply lower than expectations and causing the US dollar to fall.

Bid talk around property developer St Modwen, up 20%, gave the markets a boost as did anticipation of the release of England’s travel green list. InterContinental Hotels Group edged up 1.4%. 

Barclays shares closed 2.5% higher after Sherborne Investors Management, the investment vehicle of activist Edward Bramson, sold its entire 6% stake.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 53.54 points, or 0.8%, at 7,129.71. The FTSE 250 rose 1.3%.


8am: Stocks rise

The FTSE 100 rose at the open just below forecast, trading at 7,099.99, up 23.82 points (0.34%).


7.05am: Tories win Hartlepool by-election

Sir Keir Starmer suffered a severe setback as the Tories scored a historic victory in the Hartlepool by-election.

Full story here


7am: IHG sees improvement

InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns the Holiday Inn chain and the George in Edinburgh, said demand has improved in the first quarter, led by the Americas and Greater China.

The FTSE 100 group said it outperformed its sector in key markets and there was a “notable” pick-up in demand in March, which continued into April.

Group revenue per available room (RevPAR) was down 51% compared to 2019 and down 34% compared to last year. Occupancy tumbled around 20% compared to two years ago.

It also repaid a COVID-19 loan of £600m to the UK government.


7am: BA owner loss

British Airways owner IAG posted a first quarter operating loss of €1,068 million and an operating loss before exceptional items €1,135 million.

Passenger capacity was 19.6% of 2019 and continues to be adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with government restrictions and quarantine requirementsThe company expects Q2 passenger capacity to be about 25% of 2019, but remain uncertain and subject to review.

Given the uncertainty over the timing of the lifting of government travel restrictions and the continued impact and duration of Covid-19, IAG said it would not provide profit guidance for 2021.


Overnight markets

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London’s blue chips were set for a firm start ahead of the release this afternoon of US jobs figures for April.

Spread betters pointed to the FTSE 100 opening 40 points higher at 7,107, more or less doubling yesterday’s rise.

London’s blue chips spent all but a brief period trading above 7,000 yesterday as investors responded to an upgrade on the economy from the Bank of England. The FTSE 100 closed 36.87 points higher at 7,076.17, a 14-month high.

The Bank of England said the UK economy will enjoy its fastest growth in more than 70 years in 2021 as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The economy is expected to expand by 7.25% this year, with extra government spending helping to limit job losses.

Global stocks headed for their first weekly gain in three amid a surge in commodity prices, while traders braced for a key US jobs report later today that may five some guidance on when the Federal Reserve will ease back on monetary stimulus.

Wall Street investors piled into cyclicals, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record high close on Thursday. The Dow was up 318 points (0.9)%, the S&P 500 gained 34 points (0.8%) and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.4%.

Estimates around the non-farm payrolls report, range between 700,000 and more than 2 million jobs having been created in April.

China extended its growth in April, with exports unexpectedly accelerating and imports hitting a decade high.

Imports were also impressive, rising 43.1% from a year earlier, the fastest gain since January 2011 and picking up from the 38.1% growth in March.

The Hang Seng responded to the Chinese data by climbing 107 points to 28,745. Japan’s Nikkei 225 is 45 points to the good at 39,376.



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