(Sharecast News) – London stocks were set to edge higher on Friday following losses in the previous session, as investors eyed the latest US non-farm payrolls report.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 16 points higher at 7,455.
CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: “This week we’ve seen the number of job openings for July slow to their weakest levels since March 2021, a sharp slowdown in August consumer confidence, a weaker than expected ADP payrolls report, and a downgrade to US Q2 GDP.
“US continuing claims also rose sharply to a 6-week high, suggesting that recent rate hikes were starting to exert pressure on the US economy and a tight labour market.
“If today’s non-farm payrolls report shows a similarly modest slowdown in the rate of jobs growth, then there is a very real sense that we could see further gains in stock markets, as bets increase that the Federal Reserve may well be done when it comes to further rate hikes. At the very least it could go some way to signalling a pause as the US central bank looks to assess the effects recent rate hikes are having on the US economy.”
Hewson said the NFP are expected to show that 170,000 jobs were added in August, while the unemployment rate is expected to be steady at 3.5%.
The figures are due at 1330 BST, along with average earnings.
On home shores, data from the British Retail Consortium showed that poor weather and strong comparisons with last year meant that footfall across the UK retailing sector was down in August.
The BRC said that footfall across the UK fell by 1.6% last month when compared with August 2022, reversing the annual 1.8% increase experienced in July.
High street footfall fell by 0.9%, retail parks footfall was unchanged but shopping centre footfall plummeted 3.8%.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Footfall took a turn for the worse in August as the summer sun failed to materialise.
“The impact was made worse when compared to last year’s heatwave, where many shoppers rushed to the shops to buy clothing, BBQs and other outdoor essentials.”
In corporate news, Diversified Energy reported increased half-year profits as its hedging policy and higher production offset weaker oil and gas prices.
The company said adjusted core earnings rose 26% to $283m, despite a 48% revenue decline to $487m for the six months to June 30 as the average realised sales price fell 52%.
Elsewhere, Japanese regulators are reviewing a new drug application for GSK’s Nucala treatment to be used for the treatment of adult sinusitis, the biopharma giant announced.
The drug, otherwise known as mepolizumab, is already used in Japan to treat bronchial asthma and a rare form of vasculitis (known as eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis), but GSK’s new application is hoped to see it approved as a treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps.