US jobs data dents rate hopes | no festive footfall rise
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5pm: London finishes flat on US job figures
Turbo-charged US non-farm payroll figures strengthened the case for further monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve, dashing hopes of a slowing in the pace of interest rate rises.
The US created 263,000 jobs last month, beating market consensus for 200,000 net new jobs.
Wall Street stocks fell back on the data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.5% at the time of the London equities close. The S&P 500 shed 0.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 1.0%.
The FTSE 100 clawed back earlier losses to close just 2.26 points lower at 7,556.23 on the back of the US job creation and news offsetting better news that China may relax strict Covid-19 measures.
Retail footfall falls
Rail strikes, the cost of living squeeze and stay-at-home World Cup fans all contributed to a drop in footfall in the UK’s shops last month.
Footfall in Scotland, which is not in the World Cup, was 15% lower than in 2019, and worse than the UK-wide average of a 13.3% drop on the same comparison.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said there was “scant sign” of a pick-up in Christmas trading.
“These are dreich and worrying figures for Scotland’s retailers, many of whom are hoping for a good Christmas to help weather ever increasing costs and tide them over the traditionally leaner months early in the new year,” he said.
“It reinforces the need for government to prioritise supporting the industry in the upcoming Scottish Budget by committing to at least freeze business rates for next year, whilst thinking twice about regulatory policies which would add cost or curtail investment in the industry including the recently announced changes to the planning system.”
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Footfall took another stumble as the cost of living crisis put off some consumers from visiting the shops in November.
“Others opted to stay home due to the scattering of rail strikes, or chose the World Cup over shopping visits,” she said. “Rising inflation and low consumer confidence continue to dampen spending expectations in the run-up to Christmas”
7am: Airline passengers take off
Wizz Air said on Friday that it saw a 70% jump in passenger numbers in November over the same month last year. A total of 3.68m passengers were booked onto Wizz Air flights.
Capacity was ahead nearly 47%, at 4.18m, while the load factor – a key industry metric – increased to 88.1% from 76.1%.
Ryanair said it flew 11.2 million passengers in November, up 10% on the same month last year.
The airline operated 64,100 flights in November and its load factor rose to 92% – 5% more than October.
The airline has carried more than 158 million passengers in the last 12 months.
7am: Abrdn and John Lewis homes deal
Asset manager Abrdn and retailer John Lewis Partnership are to deliver 1,000 homes in three build-to-rent schemes in London and the south east with a gross development value of circa £500m. Full story here
Stocks in London were expected to open lower ahead of US non-farm payrolls which may have an influence on the US Federal Reserve at its December meeting.
The payroll figures follow data showing US manufacturing suffered a downturn in November. This pushed Wall Street lower on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.6%, the S&P 500 down 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite down 0.1%.
Oil prices inched higher in Asian trade on hopes for further relaxation of Covid curbs in China, which could help demand recover in world’s second biggest economy.
Brent crude futures were up 20 cents or 0.23% at $87.08 per barrel by 0349 GMT, after earlier falling to $86.59.
Some communities in Chinese cities where Covid-19 is still spreading are easing off on testing requirements and quarantine rules ahead of an expected shift in virus policies nationwide after widespread social unrest.
Anger over the world’s toughest curbs fuelled dozens of protests in more than 20 cities in recent days in a show of civil disobedience unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012.
Some communities now require less frequent testing and are allowing close contacts of infected people to quarantine at home, according to state media.
China is set to announce nationwide easing of quarantine and testing requirements, sources told Reuters, in what many hope would make the implementation more uniform.
Analysts have upgraded forecasts for Chinese corporate earnings in 2023, on expectations that its economy will benefit from stimulus measures and the easing of Covid restrictions.