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London pre-open: Stocks to gain ahead of payrolls

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Friday 08 Dec 2023

London pre-open: Stocks to gain ahead of payrolls

(Sharecast News) - London stocks looked set for a firmer open on Friday as investors eyed the release of the latest US non-farm payrolls report.
The FTSE 100 was called to open 20 points higher at 7,533.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said: "Expectations are for 183k jobs to be added in November; however, it should also be remembered that a lot of additional hiring takes place in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and the Christmas period which might see the numbers come in higher.

"Whatever number we get it would be a big surprise to see any evidence of cracking in the US labour market this side of 2024, with labour force participation set to remain unchanged at 62.7%, and the unemployment rate at 3.9%."

The payrolls report for November is due at 1330 GMT, along with the unemployment rate and average earnings.

In corporate news, housebuilder Berkeley Group has decided to not invest in any new developments due to the adverse planning and regulatory environment, and instead focus on "financial strength" following a rise in profits in the first half.

Pre-tax profit in the six months to 31 October increased by 4.6% to £298m, as operating margins held steady at 19.5%.

However, the value of reservations during the period dropped by a third due to the impact of elevated interest rates and ongoing "elevated political and macro volatility", the company said.

Building materials distributor Grafton Group said it has extended its share buyback programme to end of May 2024, having initially set it to expire at the end of January.

The FTSE 250 company announced an increase in the maximum total consideration for the programme of £50m, resulting in a total maximum consideration of £100m. It said the programme's purpose was to reduce share capital, under terms first set out at the end of August.

Paddy Power owner Flutter confirmed it was working towards a listing on the New York Stock Exchange of January 29, 2024.

The company said it wanted to keep listings in the US and London "to minimise regulatory complexities". It will shut down its secondary listing on Euronext Dublin on January 29.

"The last day of trading of Flutter's ordinary shares on Euronext Dublin will be Tuesday, January 23 2024, with trading suspended from close of business on that day to allow for the settlement of pending trades and repositioning instructions, in advance of effectiveness of the US listing," Flutter said in a statement.

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