Market report

Interest rates ‘likely to be held’ on back of US jobs data

London Stock Exchange

Signs that the US labour market remains strong helped boost global shares, with analysts believing central banks will still hold interest rates when they meet next week.

The US added 199,000 new jobs in November, up from 150,000 the month before and better than expected and and unemployment unexpectedly fell to 3.7%.

Nathaniel Casey, investment strategist at wealth manager Evelyn Partners, said: “If the labour market can continue to soften and inflation decelerates further, this could prompt the start of rates cuts, which money markets are currently anticipating could begin occurring as early as March.”

The FTSE 100 rose 40.75 points, or 0.54%, to end the day at 7,554.47, leaving the index around 25 points up on the week.

European shares also rose. Frankfurt’s Dax index rose 0.78%, up for the sixth week in a row, while the Cac 40 in Paris closed up 1.32%. The FTSE 100 is back at its highest level since 19 October.

In New York shortly after markets had closed in London the S&P 500 was trading down 0.03% while the Dow Jones was 0.01% higher.

In London, the biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Antofagasta, up 61.5p to 1514p and Intercontinental Hotels Group, up 240p to 6830p. Shares in J Sainsbury rallied 3% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the supermarket chain to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’. The US bank also increased its price target to 350p from 305p.

Troubled Anglo American was down nearly 21% after the miner said that its production will drop 4% next year. Housebuilder Berkeley slipped 4.1% despite a 4.6% half-year profit rise.

Scotland-based Artisanal Spirits Company, owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, fell 15.7% on AIM after flagging a slowdown in sales in China.

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