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US targets pre-pandemic jobs level | Gym Group raises funds

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4.45pm: US heading for pre-pandemic jobs level

Joe Biden

A strong monthly jobs report suggests the United States may return to pre-pandemic employment levels earlier than once expected, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein has told the Reuters agency.

The Labor Department said the US added 850,000 more jobs in June, ahead of analyst expectations and a sign the economic recovery may be accelerating.

The positive employment report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was cheered by economists.

More than 22 million jobs were lost when schools and businesses were shut down in March of 2020 to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The US is now about 6.7 million jobs below pre-pandemic levels.

Joe Biden, pictured, has focused on getting Americans vaccinated and pumping stimulus money into the economy to keep businesses and households afloat.

Danni Hewson AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “The US jobs figures couldn’t have delivered better news for Wall Street. The term “Goldilocks” has been well used today but it’s on the money – not too hot, not too cold.

“Enough new jobs to confirm the economy is on a roll, enough jobless to give the Fed’s current strategy a warm hug. If investors in the US were after a pre-holiday weekend treat, they were definitely not disappointed.”

In London the FTSE 100 closed marginally lower at 7,123.27, down 1.89 points.


4.35pm: Former school for sale

The historic former Royal High School in Edinburgh has been put on the open market by the city council.

Full story here

8.30am: London opens higher

The FTSE 100 was trading 33.5 points higher at 7,158.65.

Buyers came in for building stocks with Barratt Developments leading the blue-chip risers with a 2.7% advance. Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey also saw early gains.

Barratt was helped by a recommendation upgrade by Jefferies, which now rates the stock ‘buy’.


7am: Gym Group placing

Gym group

The Gym Group, the nationwide operator of 187 all-day no-contract gyms, has raised £31.2 million in gross proceeds from a placing priced at 275 pence per share.

The fund raising allows the company to accelerate its rollout to 40 new sites over the next 18 months.

The placing price represents a discount of 3.5% to the share price of 285p at last night’s close. The new shares being issued represent approximately 6.8% of the existing issued ordinary share capital of the company prior to the placing.


Global markets

Maersk oil field

Oil prices slipped early today after OPEC+ ministers delayed a meeting on output policy. The United Arab Emirates balked at a plan to restore 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in the second half of the year.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 10 cents at $75.13 a barrel, having jumped 2.4% on Thursday to close at their highest since October 2018.

Brent crude futures inched down 7 cents to $75.77 a barrel, after rising 1.6% on Thursday – Reuters.

The US Labor Department’s employment report today is likely to show that the economy closed the second quarter with strong growth momentum.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 700,000 jobs last month after rising 559,000 in May. That would be more than the 540,000 monthly average over the past three months. Still, employment would be about 6.9 million jobs below its peak in February 2020.

US markets put in a strong showing yesterday with the Dow Jones advancing 131 points and the S&P 500 climbing 22 points.

Activist investor Elliott Management stepped up its war on Glaxosmithkline boss Emma Walmsley yesterday – with a demand that she reapply for her own job.

The Wall Street raider published a 17-page document claiming the pharmaceutical giant lacked ‘credibility’ and scientific expertise in the boardroom.

The FTSE 100 expected to open 15 points higher at 7,140.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo is 61 points higher but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is off 468 points.



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