Wall Street’s main benchmarks scaled to new record highs once again today, as investors brace for an expected bumper jobs report tomorrow.
The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq both hit new peaks today, but pulled back slightly heading into the early afternoon session.
The former was up 0.38 per cent to 4,541.45 points and the latter 0.40 per cent to 15,370.80 points. The Dow Jones gained 0.41 per cent to reach 35,458.87 points.
The US is scheduled to release the latest instalment of its monthly labour market report, with analysts expecting a robust figure for new jobs created.
Yields on 10-year Treasuries dipped 0.005 per cent to 1.297 per cent
Soaring Melrose boosts FTSE 100
London’s FTSE 100 edged slightly higher during afternoon trading today, anchored by aerospace engineer Melrose’s share price popping.
The capital’s premier index added 0.15 per cent to hit 7,160.58 points heading into the final session of the day.
Aerospace engineer, Melrose, led the FTSE higher today as its share price shot up 7.20 per cent to 184.26p after it posted a strong set of results this morning showing it swung back into the black following a torrid year last year.
Without Melrose’s gains, the blue-chip index would have dipped into the red during morning trading.
The gains come as the index’s watchdog announced a raft of changes to the list of companies included on blue-chip index. Supermarket chain Morrisons and aerospace manufacturer Meggitt have been added, while takeaway delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com has been booted.
Investment director at AJ Bell, Russ Mould, reckons markets are holding their breath until the next installment of the US jobs report is released tomorrow.
“Employment levels are a key determinant for the central bank to consider easing its support measures and that was emphasised by chair Jerome Powell at last week’s Jackson Hole summit.”
“US unemployment claims will be published later today, and tomorrow will see the latest unemployment rate and non-farm employment change,” Mould added.
The index of mid-caps was more subdued than its senior partner – the FTSE 250 was down 0.15 per cent to 24,213.62 points during late afternoon exchanges.
AIM shares were up 0.18 per cent to 1,306.61 points, while the pound gained ground on the greenback, strengthening 0.41 per cent to $1.3827.
Winners and losers
Melrose was by far the biggest winner during opening trading, trailed by insurer Prudential, up 4.02 per cent to 1,540.50p, and engineer Weir Group, rising 3.38 per cent to 1,790p.
Miner BHP continued its recent slide, having 5.47 per cent shaved off its share price heading toward the market close. Mould attributes the losses to the fact the firm is trading without a right to its next dividend.
Housebuilder Barratt Developments plunged 4.47 per cent to 709.60p despite posted an over 60 per cent rise in profits over the last year. Insurer Admiral made up the top section of the fallers column, down 4.30 per cent.