FTSE Close: Lacklustre trade as investors cautiously eye US jobs data

London shares closed mostly lower on Thursday as investors traded cautiously ahead of key US jobs figures tomorrow, despite upbeat earnings from some firms. The FTSE 100 dipped 0.2% to 7,513.72, the FTSE 250 lost 0.3% to 18,618.74, while the AIM All-Share rose 0.4% to 720.86.

DS Smith shares climbed 1.5% after the packaging manufacturer reported a 17% drop in half-year pre-tax profit to £268m and reaffirmed full-year expectations. Vodafone fell 3.3% as Exane BNP cut its rating, while BT and IAG also declined after brokerage downgrades.

Among mid-caps, AJ Bell surged 16% to a record high after the investment platform posted a 50% jump in annual pre-tax profit to £87.7m. Coats Group gained 12% as it reached a deal to halt pension deficit payments from 2023. However, Future dropped 16% as annual profit declined 19% to £138.1m.

In small caps, Games Workshop plunged 14% despite predicting higher interim profit and revenue. Meanwhile, Kin & Carta rose 8.4% after Apax Partners increased its takeover offer to 120p per share, valuing the consultancy at £220.3m.