FTSE treads water as traders eye US jobs data

<p>The FTSE 100 treaded water for much of the morning session as traders eyed the all-important US jobs data with caution after severely disappointing US […]</p>

The FTSE 100 treaded water for much of the morning session as traders eyed the all-important US jobs data with caution after severely disappointing US economic data earlier in the week. A natural consequence of the poor US data from Wednesday has been to restrict much buy side activity going into the non-farm payroll figures due out at 1.30pm GMT as traders are unwilling to add too much risk to their potfolios.

Expectations for US non-farm payrolls have been downwardly revised over the last few days to a new consensus of 150k, from an original estimate of 180k. Private payrolls are expected to come in at 175k whilst the unemployment rate is expected to nudge lower to 8.9%. Considering how much stocks have come off in the run up to today’s jobs report in beaten down expectations, in line or stronger figures could induce a rally into the close. However, given the severity of Wednesday’s ADP employment change report, there is every chance that today’s non-farm payrolls could disappoint further despite the downward revision of estimates.

All key European indices are therefore trading flat, within particularly tight trading ranges as investors lack the will to make too many moves before the figures are released just after lunch.

Sector-wise, we have seen continued weakness in the mining sector, which is off by 0.5% in London trading despite the higher copper prices. This insinuates a story of risk aversion before the jobs data as we would normally see the miners track gains in metal prices, particularly after a sharp slump. Copper prices have gained over 1% so far today.

Topping the FTSE 100 gainers list in terms of individual stock movers is Autonomy, with the firm’s shares rallying nearly 3%. The firm announced today the completion of its acquisition of key iron mountain digital assets.

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