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FTSE 100 turns positive | jobless tally falls
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4.30pm: London picks up
Investors stepped back into the London market, pushing the FTSE 100 back into positive territory despite Wall Street opening lower on weak US retail data.
The blue chip index closed 27.13 points higher at 7,181.11.
11.40am: Eurofins Digital Testing posts strong first half
Eurofins Digital Testing, the independent provider of quality assurance, testing and cyber security for software systems and devices, has completed a strong first half year.
Its security division, Commissum, based in Edinburgh, added 20 clients and £1.45 million worth of new orders, while its software testing business, Edge Testing in Bellshill, has secured a number of new deals, including Electricity North West.
9am: London regains parity
The FTSE 100 was trading just below yesterday’s close at 7,148.53, down 5.45 points.
“After extending yesterday’s losses early on the FTSE 100 had recovered to regain parity in the first hour of trading on Tuesday,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“Some well-received corporate results helped balance out wider downbeat sentiment linked to the signs of a Chinese slowdown which emerged at the beginning of the week and the turmoil in Afghanistan.
“UK jobs figures were a smidge better than expected and certainly didn’t contain anything to alarm the market, US retail sales are likely to draw focus later on.
“Investors will be looking for any signs of cracks in the American recovery in the retail numbers but will also alive to evidence of mounting inflationary pressures.”
7.10am: Unemployment falls
UK unemployment fell to 4.7% in the three months to June while average pay jumped 7.4%, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. UK job vacancies hit a record 953,000.
The unemployment rate in Scotland decreased slightly over the quarter to 4.3%.
The fall is faster than expected over the last quarter as employers hired workers to cope with soaring demand following the lifting of Covid restrictions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s figures show that our Plan for Jobs is working – saving people’s jobs and getting people back into work.
“I know there could still be bumps in the road but the data is promising – there are now more employees on payrolls than at any point since March 2020 and the number of people on furlough is the lowest since the scheme launched.”
Despite the move back into work, Scotland’s Employment Minister Richard Lochhead continued to appeal for an extension of the furlough scheme.
“The Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to support employees and employers, but the UK Government must extend furlough for those that still need it.,” he said.
British Chambers of Commerce head of economics, Suren Thiru, called for rapid retraining opportunities. “Government should extend the Kickstart scheme into 2022 and expand it to enable older workers to gain new skills and experience. A more flexible immigration system is also needed to ensure that firms get access to the workers they need,” he said.
Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at AJ Bell, noted that average earnings have rocketed over the last year.
“When earnings are rising at almost 9% a year, we can safely say either the economy is overheating, or there’s a glitch in the ONS matrix.
“In today’s case, it’s the latter. The sheer magnitude of the spike in earnings suggests it’s a transitory statistical quirk, rather than a sustainable feature of the UK economy that will be with us for the long term.”
7am: Crozier confirmed at BT
BT Group has confirmed that Scottish businessman Adam Crozier will succeed Jan du Plessis as chairman as speculated earlier this month.
He will join the board as an independent non-executive director and chairman designate on 1 November and will become chairman on 1 December.
China’s slowdown is expected to prompt further falls in London today despite a rebound on Wall Street.
Spread betters expect the FTSE 100 to fall 10 points after closing down 64 points at 7,153 yesterday.
US stocks battled to reduce losses. The Dow Jones climbed back into the green while the S&P 500 marked another record high, while the tech-powered Nasdaq retreated 0.2%.