FTSE 100 gains ground after solid U.S. jobs report, scores 2.2% weekly win

FTSE 100 gains ground after solid U.S. jobs report, scores 2.2% weekly win

U.K. blue-chip stocks ended modestly higher Friday, gathering strength alongside U.S. stocks after monthly hiring figures stateside showed the labor market in the world’s largest economy expanded at a stronger pace than anticipated.

How markets are moving

The FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.71% rose 0.3% to close 7,224.51 after darting between small gains and losses earlier in the session. For the week, the London benchmark added 2.2%, marking its first weekly win in three weeks.

The pound GBPUSD, +0.1132%  bought $1.3861, up from $1.3812 late Thursday in New York.

What’s driving markets

London-listed shares climbed with U.S. SPX, -0.18% DJIA, -0.18%  and European stocks SXXP, -0.88%  after data showed the U.S. economy added 313,000 new jobs in February. That outstripped expectations of 222,000 in a MarketWatch poll of economists. February’s figure signaled that the U.S. economy has room to keep expanding. The U.S. is a key business and consumer market for many London-listed companies.

However, wage growth moderated, and that could tamp down worries among investors that rising pay will lead to higher inflation and prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more than the market has anticipated.

U.K. stocks had been choppy after largely lackluster U.K. economic data for January, and after U.S. President Donald Trump late Thursday signed a decree to impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum. But Canada and Mexico were exempted from the levies as the U.S. attempts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

• “February’s fall in average wage rise data takes some of the pressure off [the Fed]. But the creation of more than 300,000 jobs in February suggests it will return in the months to come,” said James Ingram, investment manager at MB Capital, in an note.

“Throw in a potential trade war between the U.S. and the EU and the U.S. economy could be headed for a perfect inflationary storm later this year,” he added.

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