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FTSE Toda: Stocks slide as strong US jobs data casts doubts on rate cut timing

London equity markets closed lower on Friday, as hotter than expected US jobs numbers fuelled apprehensions that the Federal Reserve might delay anticipated interest rate cuts this year. The sentiment was further exacerbated by the …

London equity markets closed lower on Friday, as hotter than expected US jobs numbers fuelled apprehensions that the Federal Reserve might delay anticipated interest rate cuts this year. The sentiment was further exacerbated by the US nonfarm payroll employment surging by 303,000 in March, significantly exceeding the consensus estimate of 200,000.

The FTSE 100 index retreated 0.8% to 7,911.16, with investor concerns mounting over the potential for continued monetary tightening by the Fed. However, Shell bucked the trend, rising 0.6%, despite cautioning that results from its Integrated Gas division in the first quarter are expected to be “significantly lower” than in the previous quarter, and anticipating write-offs worth $600 million in its Upstream arm.

The oil giant forecast Integrated Gas adjusted earnings before tax and depreciation to range between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion, noting that “trading & optimisation results are expected to be strong, but significantly lower than an exceptional Q4.” In the Upstream segment, Shell warned of $600 million in exploration well write-offs, primarily in Albania, projecting adjusted earnings before tax and depreciation between $2.7 billion and $3.1 billion.

The FTSE 250 index closed 0.7% lower at 19,725.94, while the FTSE AIM All-Share index dipped 0.3% to 740.05.

Steppe Cement plunged 17% after reporting a 23% year-over-year decline in cement sales to KZT3.78 billion (approximately $8.4 million) in the first quarter. The company attributed the drop to higher transportation costs, lower margins in southern Kazakhstan, and a strategic decision to build up clinker inventory in preparation for the summer season.

Steppe Cement also announced a proposed capital return of 1.5 pence per share through a capital reduction, subject to shareholder approval at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for April 26.

Daily Risers and Fallers

FTSE All-Share risers:
McBride 11.8%, Luceco 3.8%, Life Science 3.8%, Kenmare Resources 3.7%, S & U 3.0%.
FTSE All-Share fallers:
Ocado -9.0%, Record -5.8%, Ceres Power -5.7%, Norcros -5.3%, Chrysalis Inves -4.8%.

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