All eyes on US non-farm payrolls announcement at 1.30pm today

<p>Britain’s FTSE 100 Index is seen opening relatively flat this morning and European stocks remained unchanged near a five-year high as investors prepare for the […]</p>

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Britain’s FTSE 100 Index is seen opening relatively flat this morning and European stocks remained unchanged near a five-year high as investors prepare for the US employment data to gauge the timing of a cut in bond purchases.

In the US at 8.30 am (Washington time) (1.30pm UK time) a report may highlight that payrolls rose by 180,000 last month, the most since April, after a 169,000 gain in August, according to the median forecast of 93 economists in a Bloomberg News survey.

The report – originally due on Oct 4th – was delayed by the 16-day government shutdown that ended last week.

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans also said the tapering of the economic stimulus programme may be delayed.

In economic data, MPC member Richard Bean’s speech at 9am (UK time) was followed by public sector net borrowing data at 9.30am (UK time). In the US, the non-farm payroll data and unemployment rate will be released at 1.30pm (UK time), followed by TIC long-term purchases at 2pm.

Elsewhere, Reckitt Benckiser has reported a 5% increase in like-for-like quarterly revenue, fuelled by the sale of its health and hygiene brands.

Chipmaker ARM Holdings announced this morning that it beat expectations for the third quarter after it was helped by licensing more powerful mobile technology like the 64-bit architecture in the new iPhone.

BHP Billiton upgraded its iron ore production target for fiscal 2014 while petroleum output hit a quarterly record, as it ramps up output to capture more of a slower-growing market for raw materials.

GKN posted a 34% rise in third quarter profits, boosted by a strong performance from its commercial aerospace and automotive units.

In indices, the FTSE is currently trading at 6654, the DAX at 8853 and DOW at 15399.

Keep an eye out for GlaxoSmithKline, which will be reporting results tomorrow.

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