Thursday 18 February 2021 4:02 pm

Wall Street joins FTSE in the red following gloomy jobs data

Wall Street faced a sea of red this morning as shares slid across the board after an unexpected rise in weekly jobless claims highlighted the fragile labour market recovery.

A report from the US Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits were 861,000 last week, compared with 848,000 in the prior week.

The S&P 500 dipped 0.83 per cent at market open, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.37 per cent as investors resumed a shift out of big technology firms.

Apple and Netflix both fell around 1.7 per cent, as concerns about higher inflation on the horizon nudged investors to book profit on stocks with high valuation. Amazon opened 0.3 per cent down.

Facebook shares dropped 2.4 per cent as Wall Street assessed the wider ramifications of its move to block all news content in Australia.

It comes after the FTSE 100 opened in the red this morning despite London-listed energy and mining stocks making share price gains.

It continued to fall throughout the day, with the blue chip index down 1.6 per cent this afternoon.

Read more: Barclays to resume dividend as Covid loan provision hits £4.8bn

Kingfisher led the risers with a 1.34 per cent share price jump.

Ashtead and Autotrader were also winners this afternoon, with their stocks rising 1.3w per cent and 1.27 per cent respectively. 

Meanwhile, British motoring giant Rolls-Royce led the fallers with shares down 6.3 per cent this afternoon.

British banks Barclays and Lloyds both saw shares slip around the five per cent mark, while tobacco giant Imperial Brands suffered a 5.3 per cent share price decline.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said the FTSE 100 has “hit the snooze button” after making bumper gains at the beginning of the week.

“The latest day of destiny for investor sentiment feels like it is coming on Monday when Boris Johnson is set to reveal the pace at which coronavirus restrictions will be eased in England,” he said.

“Other asset classes continue to surge, with the extreme cold in the US disrupting oil production and driving up prices of the black stuff beyond pre-Covid levels, while bitcoin continues to surge having taken out the $50,000 level.”

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