FTSE loses lustre in wake of US data

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Thursday’s spectacular rally failed to carry into a second session yesterday as positive jobs data from across the Atlantic suggested the US Federal Reserve may begin to rein in its quantitative easing programme.

London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index began strongly enough after a surge in the previous session pushed the top-flight up more than 3 per cent. But by last night’s close it was down 46.15 points or 0.7 per cent at 6,375.52, after the employment figures from the US produced mixed sentiment. IG analyst Alastair McCaig said: “It’s a funny world when the sight of an improving US economy causes markets to fall into the red, but that’s the one we’re stuck with.

“This can be put down to [Thursday’s] massive lurch higher in Europe and the UK, and also to fears that a strong employment reading brings the start of the much-feared tapering process forward a few months. Such are the enlightened times in which we live.”

The risers’ board was led by Wickes owner Travis Perkins as the company continued to benefit from signs of improved consumer confidence and the recovery in the housing market. Shares were 2 per cent or 31p higher at 1,556p.

Glencore Xstrata led mining stocks falling back as a result of the dollar’s strength hitting metals prices. It was off 17.9p, or more than 6 per cent, to 256.8p.

Antofagasta was down 50.5p at 784.5p, Fresnillo fell 55p to 886.5p and Randgold Resources slipped 251p to 4,050p.

The US jobs data pushed the pound down by two cents as it slipped to $1.49, amid expectations that dovish interest rate policy would continue to depress sterling in the UK while the pound was also down against the euro, at €1.16.

NEW YORK: Wall Street ended higher in choppy trading last night after robust US jobs data pointed to a strengthening economy andovercame concerns that the Fed may begin to cut its stimulus measures as early as September. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 147.29 points, or 0.98 per cent, to close at 15,135.84 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed up 16.48 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 1,631.89. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended up 35.71 points, or 1.04 per cent, at 3,479.38