FRIDAY MARKET CLOSE: US jobs figure unleashes dollar bulls

British Airways owner IAG was up 5 per cent at 365.2p. Picture: Getty
British Airways owner IAG was up 5 per cent at 365.2p. Picture: Getty
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A barnstorming figure from the US non-farm payrolls helped markets bounce strongly.

News that almost a quarter of a million jobs were created in the world’s largest economy last month contrasted with weaker-than-expected data from the UK service sector and pushed the pound to its lowest level against the dollar for almost a year.

Angus Campbell, senior analyst at FX Pro, said that following other strong signals from the US jobs market this week it was hardly surprising that the greenback was on the charge.

He added: “This non-farm payroll is encouraging for both the dollar bulls and those bullish equity investors, who have seen the indices bounce strongly, even though the figure means monetary policy tightening maybe closer than expected.”

The FTSE 100 Index climbed 81.52 points to 6,527.91, although it was not enough to salvage the week after four straight days of decline.

Low-cost airline EasyJet topped the blue chip risers’ board after it raised its full-year profit expectations. Shares added 88p to 1,459p, a rise of almost 6.5 per cent, with British Airways owner IAG up 5 per cent on its tails at 365.2p.

In the FTSE 250, engineering firm Renishaw picked up by 6 per cent, or 92p, to 1,682p, after posting a 28 per cent rise in first quarter revenues compared to last year.

Meanwhile homewares retailer Dunelm lifted more than 4 per cent after posting like-for-like sales growth of 8.9 per cent in the latest quarter. Shares warmed 35p to 829p,

And department store Debenhams received a boost after Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct empire increased its stake in the group to 11.2 per cent. The stock rose 1.75p to 61.75p, while Sports Direct climbed 15p to 610p.