FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: US jobs cheer helps European shares

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Reassuring figures showing that US employers added 217,000 jobs last month ensured London shares finished the week on the front foot.

The figure, which was in line with Wall Street expectations, fuelled hopes that the US economy will accelerate after a difficult start to the year.

The FTSE 100 Index closed 44.72 points or 0.7 per cent higher at 6,858.21, after its muted reaction to Thursday’s radical measures from the European Central Bank (ECB).

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC, said: “With UK stocks not being direct beneficiaries of the newly announced ECB programs, the FTSE 100 underperformed Thursday but cruised higher throughout Friday alongside its continental peers.”

Wealth managers were some of the biggest risers as traders reasoned they were potential beneficiaries of the ECB stimulus, especially if it goes further and resorts to quantitative easing in the coming months. St James’ Place added 4 per cent at 827p and Aberdeen Asset Management was 3.6 per cent higher at 462p.

Temporary power supply firm Aggreko surged up the FTSE 100 risers’ board as sentiment continued to improve following the recent appointment of former Centrica director Chris Weston as its new chief executive. Shares, which fell sharply in the wake of predecessor Rupert Soames’ departure, lifted 31p to 1,687p.

One of the biggest gains of the session came from British Airways-owner International Airlines Group as investors continued to cheer strong passenger traffic figures from earlier in the week. The stock rose 15.2p to 418.9p.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Asos received support in the City after its 30 per cent tumble on Thursday in the wake of a second profits warning in three months. Shares recovered some lost ground to rise 7 per cent or 230p to 3,350p.