FTSE 100 noses up after US non-farm payroll figures beat expectations and Brent crude rebounds

Oliver Gill
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U.S. Farm Earnings Drop 14.6 Percent In Third Quarter AFter A Decline In Output
Non-farm (rather than farm-based) job data from the US today steadied the FTSE 100 (Source: Getty)

UK stocks ended the day slightly up as Britain's blue-chip index was given a boost by Pearson publishing some surprising news.

A cornerstone investor of the British Satellite Broadcasting consortium in the 1980s, Pearson revealed plans to cut its cost base by £300m by the end of 2019. Shares leapt 15 per cent as markets opened and ended the day 11 per cent up.

On any other day British Airways owner IAG would have stolen the headlines as shares rose 5.6 per cent as it posted better than expected first quarter profits.

Read more: Pearson's shares jump as it reveals new cost-cutting measures

At the end other end of FTSE 100, Barclays and ITV dragged their heels, both over two per cent down on the day.

US jobs data steadied UK markets as non-farm payroll figures revealed 211,000 new jobs in April, well ahead of the 190,000 additional positions expected.

Read more: Brent oil prices rebound after plunging below $47 a barrel

IG Group analyst Chris Beauchamp said: "London is ending the week on a strong note, with the FTSE 100 pushing higher in the wake of a stronger non-farm payroll report.

"Non-farm payrolls this month were comfortably ahead of forecasts, and indeed have gone a long way to reversing the concerns displayed after last month’s poor number."

Mid-cap shares were on the whole quieter. The stand out stock was Inmarsat, which fell over seven per cent after admitting it had got its earnings per share figures wrong.

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.7 per cent at 7,297.43 (0.8 per cent up on the week) with the FTSE 250 up a more modest 0.1 per cent at 19,699 (0.32 per cent up since Monday).

Read more: How much would you pay for a satanic new five pound note?

Oil prices languished at their lowest levels of nearly six months. Brent Crude dipped below $47 per barrel overnight as concerns mounted about global oversupply persist.

During the day though, prices of the black stuff edged back up after Saudi Arabia's OPEC chief said there was a growing consensus among oil pumping countries that they needed to continue to "rebalance" the market.

Brent futures were up $1.20, or 2.5 per cent, at $49.58 a barrel by 4pm UK time while US West Texas Intermediate crude was up $1.09, or 2.4 per cent, at $46.61 per barrel.

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