(Alliance News) -Â After a strong session for stock markets in Asia, the FTSE 100 raced out the blocks on Tuesday morning, even as the pound continued to climb following a better-than-expected UK jobs print.
The FTSE 100 index was up 56.73 points, or 0.8%, at 7,089.58 early Tuesday. The mid-cap FTSE 250 index was up 178.23 points, or 0.8%, at 22,392.37. The AIM All-Share index was up 0.3% at 1,237.98.
The Cboe UK 100 index was up 0.7% at 707.04. The Cboe 250 was up 0.7% at 20,131.69, and the Cboe Small Companies down 0.1% at 14,910.04.
In mainland Europe, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.5%, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt rose 0.7% early Tuesday.
In Asia on Tuesday, the Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended up 2.1%. In China, the Shanghai Composite closed up 0.3%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was up 1.3% in late trade. The S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney ended up 0.6%.
"Nothing has materially changed overnight, but with the Covid-19 nerves steadied from yesterday, regional fast-money investors look bored with selling and have reversed course today," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda.
With shares up 2.6% in opening dealings, Fresnillo was the top performer in London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index on Tuesday.
The precious metals miner was tracking the price of gold higher, quoted at USD1,870.36 early Tuesday, up from USD1,865.60 on Monday.
Brent oil also rose, trading at USD70.12 a barrel, up from USD69.24 late Monday. BP shares were 1.4% higher in early trade, while Royal Dutch Shell 'A' and 'B' shares rose 1.2% and 1.3% respectively.
At the bottom of the FTSE 100 was Vodafone, down 7.4% as it posted a slip in full-year earnings.
Revenue for the financial year to March 31 was EUR43.81 billion, down 2.6% from EUR44.97 billion the year before. Pretax profit jumped to EUR4.40 billion, however, from just EUR795 million the year before, after financing costs fell to EUR1.03 billion from EUR3.55 billion.
However, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 3.3% - or declining 1.2% on an organic basis - to EUR14.39 billion from EUR14.88 billion.
Vodafone kept its dividend for the year steady at 9.0 cents.
"Vodafone's results are slightly behind the market's expectations, with lockdown in Europe still partly to blame. Although not a company to set the heart racing with excitement, Vodafone can continue to grow slowly and has a very attractive and well covered dividend, which is currently yielding 5.7%," said Richard Flood, investment manager at Brewin Dolphin.
At the top of the FTSE 250 was Micro Focus International, jumping 10% as it guided to interim revenue ahead of market forecasts.
The enterprise software firm expects to report revenue of around USD1.4 billion for the six months to the end of April, ahead of market expectations and marking a decline of around 5% on a constant currency basis year-on-year. An adjusted Ebitda margin of around 36% for the period is also ahead of market expectations.
"Whilst there is a great deal to do, we are encouraged by our progress and remain committed to delivering revenue stabilisation and sustainable cash flow generation for our shareholders," said Micro Focus Chief Executive Stephen Murdoch.
Oxford Biomedica rose 7.4%. It raised its guidance after pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca committed to an increase in the number of Covid-19 vaccines needed from the gene and cell therapy company in the second half of 2021.
The two signed an 18-month supply agreement in September under a three-year master supply and development agreement for the large-scale commercial manufacture of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
As a result of Astra's commitment, Oxford Biomedica raised its revenue guidance for expected cumulative revenue from Astra by the end of 2021 to in excess of GBP100 million, from in excess of GBP50 million previously, and as such expects "significant growth" in operating Ebitda this year.
As equities in London started Tuesday on the front foot, the pound was also higher after some upbeat UK jobs news.
The unemployment rate was 4.8% for the three months to March, easing from 4.9% in the three months to February. Consensus, according to FXStreet, had seen the March reading holding steady at 4.9%.
"The latest figures suggest that the jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months, with some early signs of recovery," the ONS said.
This coincides with the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK. In March, schools in England reopened, followed by the lifting of shutters in April for outdoor hospitality, such as beer gardens, alongside non-essential retail and hairdressers.
The number of payroll employees increased for a fifth consecutive month in April, though does still remain 772,000 below pre-pandemic levels. The largest falls in jobs since February 2020 have been in the hospitality sector, among those aged under 25 years, and those living in London.
Sterling eyed the USD1.42 mark after the data, quoted at USD1.4196 early Tuesday compared to USD1.4119 at the London equities close on Monday.
The US dollar was lower against other major currency pairings.
Against the yen, the dollar slipped to JPY108.99 early Tuesday versus JPY109.20 late Monday. The euro changed hands at USD1.2197, higher than USD1.2146.
In the economic calendar on Tuesday, besides UK jobs, there are eurozone employment and GDP at 1000 BST and US housing starts at 1330 BST.
By Lucy Heming;Â firstname.lastname@example.org
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