London’s leading shares are set to open on the back foot ahead of the release today of US jobs figures for March.
Spread betting quotes indicate the FTSE 100 will open at around 5,433, down 47 points from last night’s close.
US markets managed to finish in credit yesterday despite a shocking weekly jobless number.
“Claims doubled last week from the previous week’s record; we can’t be sure they have now peaked,” said Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, who added that today’s March payroll number “is irrelevant” as “almost all the recent surge in jobless claims will hit April”.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished 470 points higher at 21,413 and the S&P 500 climbed 56 points at 2,527.
This morning, Asian markets have mostly been soft. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 118 points lower at 17,701 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 139 points lower at 23,141.
“Overnight the Caixin survey of Chinese services was posted, and the reading was 43, while economists were expecting 39.6. The February reading was 26.5,” noted CMC’s David Madden.
The non-farm payrolls announcement in the US due out at 1.30pm may be “irrelevant” but traders will still trade on the back of whether it meets expectations or not.
“The consensus estimate is for 100,000 jobs to have been lost. The February report showed that 273,000 jobs were added. The unemployment rate is expected to tick up to 3.8% from 3.5%, while the average earnings rate is tipped to hold steady at 3%,” Madden noted.
On the corporate front in the UK, there will be the usual rush of coronavirus updates in which many companies will withdraw full-year guidance and suspend dividend payments.
One company that might have done well out of the market volatility is CMC Markets, which is due to release a trading update.
Economic data: US non-farm payrolls, US unemployment, US services PMI, UK services PMI
Around the markets
- Sterling: US$1.2373, down 0.12 cents
- 10-year gilt: yielding 0.331%, up 1.72 basis points
- Gold: US$1,632.30 an ounce, down US$5.40
- Brent crude: US$28.60 a barrel, down US$1.34
- Bitcoin: US$6,798, down US$36