Daily Business Live
Shops see lower footfall | Petrofac deal in Libya
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5pm: London down on US jobs data
The FTSE 100 slid into the red at the opening of Wall Street, with indices on both sides of the Atlantic pushed down by US jobs data widely missing expectations.
US non-farm payrolls grew by just 235,000 in August, well below forecasts for 720,000 jobs to be added, while the jobless rate fell to 5.2% as expected.
London’s leading index of shares closed 25.55 points lower at 7,138.35. Over the week week, the large-cap index lost 0.1%.
9am: London awaits US payroll data
The FTSE 100 edged a shade higher, up about 9 points at 7,172.87, though traders were keeping their powder dry ahead of US non-farm payrolls to be published later today.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investors, said: “In the UK, traders are non-committal ahead of the numbers, with the main indices little changed in early trade.”
Berkeley Group edged higher despite saying it was experiencing construction cost inflation. AstraZeneca also rose after it said its Ultomiris blood disorder treatment has been approved in the European Union for expanded use to include children and adolescents.
7am: Petrofac contract
Oil services company Petrofac has signed an engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contract in Libya worth more than $100 million.
The Aberdeen-based company’s deal in the south west of the country is with Zallaf Libya Oil & Gas Exploration and Production.
The work covers surface equipment, including well pads and flowlines on the Erawin field. Petrofac will provide a 100 km pipeline to carry oil to the El Sharara field. It also includes a control room, substation and telecom system.
7am: New chairman at Weir Group
Weir Group has announced that Charles Berry will retire as chairman following the 2022 Annual General Meeting and will be succeeded by Barbara Jeremiah, the first female chairman in the Glasgow company’s 150-year history.
Lower retail footfall
Visits to UK stores rose in August as workers began to return to offices but activity remained well below pre-pandemic levels, a British Retail Consortium survey showed.
Total footfall rose by 10 percentage points in August from July but was 18% lower than two years earlier, the survey showed. Retail parks had the biggest gain, showing a 13.4-point rise from July and a 25% drop from two years earlier.
At high street stores footfall rose 9.8 points month on month and was 25% lower than two years before. Visits to shopping centres rose 5.5 points from July and were down 33% from August 2019. On top of a partial return to offices, shopping was boosted by tourism and families preparing for the new school year.
- Scottish footfall decreased by 21.2% in August (Yo2Y), a 5.9 percentage point increase from July. This is below the UK average decline of 18.0% (Yo2Y).
- Shopping Centre footfall declined by 29.0% in August (Yo2Y) in Scotland, up from -31.7% in July.
- In August, footfall in Glasgow decreased by 20.3% (Yo2Y), a 5.8 percentage point increase from July.
Stock prices in London are seen opening marginally higher on Friday as investors look cautiously ahead to US nonfarm payrolls data, which could have a bearing on the Federal Reserve’s plans for tapering its monetary policy.
Wall Street ended higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.4%, S&P 500 up 0.3% and Nasdaq Composite up 0.1%. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at all-time high closing records.
The Nikkei 225 index in Japan was up 2.0%. In China, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.4%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 0.7%.