LONDON MARKETS: U.K. Stocks Rise For 3rd Day As Manufacturing Data Hits 4-month High

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Benchmark on course for weekly win; miners extend gains

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U.K. stocks climbed for a third straight session on Friday, on track to cement their winning run for the week, after better-than-expected manufacturing data and ahead of the closely watched U.S. jobs report.

The FTSE 100 index traded 0.3% higher at 7,453.27, building on a 0.9% rally from Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-bounces-back-from-1-week-low-as-north-korea-fears-ease-2017-08-30).

The London blue-chip benchmark is now set for a 0.7% weekly advance, as initial worries about a North Korean missile test at the beginning of the week eased and attention turned to upbeat data from China and the U.S.

On Friday, Markit delivered encouraging data for the U.K., with the August manufacturing purchasing managers index jumping to a four-month high of 56.9, compared with an upwardly revised 55.3 in July. Economists had expected a reading of 55.

"A significant beat for the manufacturing PMI clearly shows that the sector remains in rude health, with a weak pound continuing to keep it competitive despite hard-Brexit clouds overhead," said Joshua Mahony, market analyst at IG, in a note.

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The pound erased its intraday loss after the PMI figures, buying $1.2933, in line with its trading level late Thursday in New York, and up from $1.2920 ahead of the data.

At 1:30 p.m. London time, or 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, the top-tier nonfarm payrolls report for the U.S. is on the docket, with investors eager to get a snapshot of the health of the American labor market to gauge the next move from the Federal Reserve. A strong jobs report is seen as strengthening the case for the U.S. central bank to raise interest rates again in December.

"Focus remains on the unemployment rate and wage growth as these remain crucial for the Fed's decisions on quantitative tightening. In line with the continued growth in employment, we expect further declines in the unemployment rate over time," analysts at Danske Bank said in a Friday note.

Read:August employment report likely to show U.S. kept pumping out jobs in late summer (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/august-employment-report-likely-to-show-us-kept-pumping-out-jobs-in-late-summer-2017-08-31)

Also read:August jobs data marks crucial test for U.S. dollar (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/august-jobs-data-marks-crucial-test-for-us-dollar-2017-08-30)

Stock movers: Miners posted some of the biggest gains in London as metals rose across the board. Shares of Antofagasta PLC (ANTO.LN) gained 1.5%, Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) put on 1.2% and Anglo American PLC (AAL.LN) added 1%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 01, 2017 07:24 ET (11:24 GMT)