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London midday: Stocks turn lower as investors mull jobs data



London stocks had fallen into the red by midday on Tuesday as data showed that UK wages grew faster than expected in the three months to April.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.8% at 8,166.29.

According to the Office for National Statistics, total pay including bonuses rose 5.9% in the three months to April, coming in above expectations of 5.7% growth. Meanwhile, growth for the previous three-month period was revised up to 5.9% from 5.7%.

Average regular earnings which exclude bonuses grew by 6% during the three months to April, unchanged from the previous three months and versus expectations of 6.1% growth.

Adjusted for consumer price inflation, total pay including bonuses grew 2.7% in February to April. This marked the fastest rate of growth since July to September 2021.

The data showed that the unemployment rate increased to 4.4% in the three months to April from 4.3% in the previous three months.

The ONS said: “This month’s figures continue to show signs that the labour market may be cooling, with the number of vacancies still falling and unemployment rising, though earnings growth remains relatively strong.”

Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “Overall, the stickiness of wage growth may not stop the Bank from cutting interest rates for the first time in August, as we are forecasting, as long as other indicators such as pay settlements data and next week’s CPI inflation release show decent progress.”

In equity markets, Hikma Pharmaceuticals jumped to the top of the FTSE 100 as Citi lifted its price target on the stock to 2,845p from 2,770p.

Housebuilders were on the rise amid news the Conservatives will introduce a new £1bn scheme to help first-time buyers and allow them to buy a home with just a 5% deposit. It was understood that this will be available for properties under £400,000. Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley all gained.

GSK was in focus after saying it had initiated an appeal against the Delaware Superior Court’s recent decision to allow plaintiff expert testimony in the Zantac litigation case, claiming the ruling was inconsistent with previous applications of the Daubert standard.

It said an application had been filed to seek interlocutory review by the Delaware Supreme Court, with Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim also involved.

Oxford Instruments surged after the industrial and scientific research tech group announced plans to simplify its corporate structure alongside full-year profits that came in ahead of expectations.

Bus and train operator FirstGroup reversed earlier heavy losses to trade a touch higher as it hiked its dividend by 45% after a substantial jump in annual profits, but said there were challenges ahead.

On the downside, heavily-weighted miners were the worst performers, with Antofagasta, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Anglo American all down.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 8,166.29 -0.76%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,387.70 -0.29%
techMARK (TASX) 4,823.75 -0.03%

FTSE 100 – Risers

Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,982.00p 2.69%
Rightmove (RMV) 564.40p 1.91%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 250.00p 1.87%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,469.50p 1.63%
Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) 2,274.00p 1.25%
Auto Trader Group (AUTO) 830.60p 0.85%
RS Group (RS1) 707.00p 0.78%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 412.10p 0.68%
easyJet (EZJ) 462.20p 0.54%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 150.40p 0.53%

FTSE 100 – Fallers

Antofagasta (ANTO) 2,089.00p -3.24%
Glencore (GLEN) 461.40p -3.03%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 732.20p -2.79%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,223.00p -2.50%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 678.90p -2.12%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 303.20p -2.07%
NATWEST GROUP (NWG) 304.80p -1.96%
St James’s Place (STJ) 505.50p -1.56%
SSE (SSE) 1,763.00p -1.48%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,620.00p -1.39%

FTSE 250 – Risers

Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 2,620.00p 6.50%
ICG Enterprise Trust (ICGT) 1,232.00p 3.70%
AJ Bell (AJB) 382.00p 2.83%
Patria Private Equity Trust (PPET) 561.00p 2.75%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 156.00p 2.50%
North Atlantic Smaller Companies Inv Trust (NAS) 4,030.00p 2.03%
HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited A Shs (HVPE) 2,410.00p 1.47%
Mobico Group (MCG) 51.75p 1.47%
Senior (SNR) 160.40p 1.39%
Computacenter (CCC) 2,798.00p 1.38%

FTSE 250 – Fallers

Hochschild Mining (HOC) 171.00p -5.73%
Future (FUTR) 1,071.00p -3.34%
Hays (HAS) 101.60p -2.96%
Close Brothers Group (CBG) 444.40p -2.03%
Direct Line Insurance Group (DLG) 203.00p -1.93%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,228.00p -1.92%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 538.00p -1.91%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 124.00p -1.90%
C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 155.00p -1.90%
Tritax Eurobox (GBP) (EBOX) 57.10p -1.89%

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