FTSE Close: Stocks mixed as hot US jobs data hits investor sentiment

London stocks end mixed after robust US jobs data. Superdry shares double on mounting takeover speculation.

Mark Rogers

Mark Rogers

Stock prices in London closed mixed on Friday, after stronger-than-expected US jobs data dampened already fragile investor sentiment and made a near-term Federal Reserve rate cut unlikely. The FTSE 100 index closed down 0.1% at 7,615.54, the FTSE 250 ended up 0.2% at 19,172.64 and the AIM All-Share index closed 0.2% higher at 754.17.

The US economy added a markedly higher 353,000 jobs in January, defying forecasts of 180,000. The unemployment rate held at 3.7%. BP and Shell dropped 1.6% and 1.4% respectively on lower oil prices.

Budget airlines flew higher as geopolitical worries eased, with Wizz Air soaring 8.8%, easyJet up 2.9% and Ryanair 1.3% higher in Dublin. Ryanair carried 12.2 million passengers in January, up 3.4% year-on-year, while its load factor fell 2 points to 89%. Wizz Air’s January passenger numbers rose 14% to 4.7 million.

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The big story was a more than doubling of Superdry’s stock price to 46.15p, amid mounting speculation of a potential takeover bid. Norway’s First Seagull recently took a 5.3% stake in the retailer, with reports suggesting it sees Superdry as “ripe for a bid.” Both Sycamore Partners and Authentic Brands are also said to be interested. Superdry CEO Dunkerton confirmed he is in talks over financing options, including possible takeover approaches.

On AIM, MC Mining rose 7.9% after a A$65.3 million takeover bid from Goldway Capital Investments. MC advised shareholders to take no action until its response.

Other notable movers saw Saga drop 8.1%, Cab Payments lose 5.5%, while Synthomer and Trustpilot both rose over 4%.

FTSE All-Share Gainers

Superdry 118%, Wizz Air 8.8%, 888 Holdings 8.7%, Tt Electronics 7.4%, Luceco 5.4%, HarbourVest Private Equity 5.3%, Seraphim Sp 5%, Dfs Furn 4.2%, Synthomer 4.1%, Trustpilot 4%.

FTSE All-Share Faillers

Saga -8.1%, Cab Payments -5.5%, Norcros -5.1%, Close Bros -5.0%, Regional Reit -4.8%, Watches Switz -4.5%, Endeavour Mining -4.1%, Pendragon -3.9%, IntegraFin Holdings -3.8%, Pensionbee -3.6%.

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