US jobs blow dents markets

The FTSE 100 tracked losses in Asia this morning as bleak US jobs data took its toll on investor sentiment with miners and banks hit.

On Friday the US Labour Department reported that the number of unemployed workers was almost 13m and hiring slowed, raising the alarm over the state of the country's economic recovery.

Those figures hit the FTSE 100 Volatility index which jumped nearly nine per cent.

However, more upbeat data out of China today showed the country had achieved a trade surplus while Germany also reported a rise in exports.

On London's blue chip index mining stocks were out of favour, with India-focused Vedanta Resources down 2.8 per cent after it posted a drop in full-year iron ore output.

BHP Billiton nudged down by two per cent and Rio Tinto 2.7 per cent.

Oil services company Petrofac was the biggest faller, down 3.4 per cent after a downgrade by broker Liberum Capital.

Also in the sector Amec dropped off by more than three per cent.

Interdealer broker Icap dipped by 3.1 per cent and was the worst performer among financial services companies.

In banking Barclays was down 2.7 per cent, Lloyds 1.8 per cent and RBS 1.7 per cent.

On the upside gold miner Randgold Resources was up nine per cent, recovering ground lost when a coup in Mali put its operations in the country under pressure.

A political agreement in the country boosted confidence in the company.

Meanwhile BskyB lifted by 2.6 per cent.

On the FTSE All-share tour operator Thomas Cook jumped 15 per cent after it confirmed it was in "advanced" talks about extending its financing arrangements.

The discussions are part of the strategic review that the firm began after new financing was put in place last November.

Thomas Cook also said it was exploring the possible sale and leaseback of certain aircraft.

In UK economic news Japanese carmaker Nissan said it will spend $200m to build a new hatchback at its UK plant as British Prime Minister David Cameron began a tour of Japan and Southeast Asia aimed at boosting trade and investment ties.

Meanwhile in Asian markets the Nikkei closed marginally down while the Hang Seng was off by 1.1 per cent.