FTSE underperforms as UK job ads hit record high

·3-min read
European stock markets mixed as UK job ads hit record high
According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, another 221,000 adverts were added during the week, the fourth highest weekly figure since the start of 2020. Photo: PA Images via Getty

European markets got off to a mixed start on Friday as UK job adverts reached a new record as the labour shortage continues in the run up to Christmas.

In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) ended 0.5% loweron the day, retreating from its 20-month high the previous session, while the CAC (^FCHI) rose 0.4% in Paris, and the Frankfurt DAX (^GDAXI) was almost 0.1% higher.

The number of active job postings at UK firms hit 2.68 million in the first week of November, a record high.

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), another 221,000 adverts were added during the week, the fourth highest weekly figure since the start of 2020.

Growth in job adverts showed “no signs of slowing down in the build up to Christmas”, the REC said, despite concerns about increases in the cost of living and COVID-19.

“The general positive trend varies by region and sector, however. London has been affected more than other areas by the rise of hybrid working, and its jobs market continues to grow at a slower pace than the rest of the UK,” Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said.

“And while roles in logistics and care are in high demand, the construction sector saw a drop-off last week as supply issues constrained the industry’s ability to work to capacity.”

Read more: 'Overwhelming majority' of UK businesses raise prices amid supply chain squeeze

"The FTSE has also not been helped by AstreZenca currently losing almost 6% of their share price, as the pharma stock announced it is going to start taking profits from their COVID vaccine," Oliver Males of SpreadEx said. "This comes after posting higher than expected quarterly sales of more than $1 billion.

"Many will be hoping this is a blip in the overall trend of UK markets recently, as next week could be crucial with news on CPI and Unemployment being released mid-week."

Across the pond, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) climbed 0.6% at the time of the European close, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose 0.8%. The Dow Jones (^DJI) edged more than 0.5% higher.

Wall Street received a boost from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which climbed as much as 2% after it announced its split, spinning off its consumer business to focus on pharma and medical devices instead. The break up is expected to happen in 18-24 months via a stock offering.

Meanwhile, US workers quit their jobs at a record pace in September, according to the American Labour Department, spurred on by wage growth and other attractive incentives offered by businesses.

Around 4.4 million people voluntarily left their jobs during the month, rising to a rate of 3.0% which marked a record since the survey began.

US consumer sentiment also plunged to the lowest level in a decade this month. The closely-watched University of Michigan sentiment index fell to 66.8 this month from 71.7 in October – well short of expectations.

The world's stock prices posted their biggest fall in over a month on Wednesday following a surprisingly strong reading on US inflation. 

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?

The US consumer price index rose 6.2% year-on-year in October, the strongest advance since November 1990.

The US dollar is on track for its best week in almost five months, after the inflation reading added pressure for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates.

Meanwhile, Asian share prices advanced on Friday investors were now hopeful that the worst price hikes could be soon over.

In Japan, the Nikkei (^N225) climbed 1.1%, helped by strong earnings, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) was 0.3% up and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) rose 0.2%.

Watch: What are SPACs?

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