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London pre-open: Stocks seen muted as investors mull UK jobs data

Tue, 15th Sep 2020 07:43

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a muted open on Tuesday as investors digest the latest UK jobs data.
The FTSE 100 was called to open just three points higher at 6,029.

Figures out earlier from the Office for National Statistics showed the biggest rise in redundancies since 2009 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The data showed that 156,000 people were made redundant in the May to July quarter, up 58,000 from the same period a year ago and 48,000 higher than between February and April.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate increased to 4.1% in July from 3.9% the month before.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: "Some effects of the pandemic on the labour market were beginning to unwind in July as parts of the economy reopened. Fewer workers were away on furlough and average hours rose. The number of job vacancies continued to recover into August, too.

"Nonetheless, with the number of employees on the payroll down again in August and both unemployment and redundancies sharply up in July, it is clear that coronavirus is still having a big impact on the world of work."

In corporate news, online grocer and technology firm Ocado recorded a sharp rise in third quarter revenue driven by continued higher average spends as it forecast annual core earnings of £40m.

The company, which has started its new partnership with Marks & Spencer, said revenue in the 13 weeks to August 30 grew 52% to £587.3m with average weekly orders up 9.6% to 345,000.

Next has acquired a majority stake in the UK and Irish arm of L Brands' Victoria's Secret unit for an undisclosed sum as part of a joint-venture agreement. The unit went into administration in June after being forced to shut its 25 stores due to the pandemic.

Its owner was unable to clinch a sale to Sycamore Partners earlier in 2020. Next would own 51% of the new JV, which in turn would acquire most of Victoria's Secret's UK assets and operate its stores in the country and in Ireland. L Brands would own the remaining 49%.

Chemring said that, despite a challenging environment, trading in the year so far had progressed as planned, with order intake to 31 August up 4% on the same time last year and its order book standing at £452m. The company said its expected outturn for the year ending 31 October was towards the upper end of current analyst expectations.

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