LONDON (ShareCast) – – US non-farm payrolls up 192,000 in March
– UK car registrations rise to best level in a decade
– Insurers recover after recent falls

techMARK 2,770.41 -0.01%
FTSE 100 6,695.55 +0.70%
FTSE 250 16,433.67 +0.52%

UK stocks ended the week on a buoyant note, although below the 6,700 level surpassed earlier in the afternoon.

The FTSE closed up 46.41 points at 6,695.55, up 79.97 or 1.21% on the week.

Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst at IG (LSE: IGG.L – news) , said: “The FTSE 100 has said hello once again to 6,700, after dropping below this level almost a month ago. This morning’s gains have firmed up across the board and we’re seeing banks and miners lead the charge.”

US non-farm payrolls up 192,000 in March

US non-farm payrolls rose by 192,000 during March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), against the consensus estimate for an increase of 200,000.

The previous two months’ tallies were revised higher by a combined 37,000.

“Now that the weather-related weakness is behind us, we anticipate that the monthly gains in payroll employment will remain close to the 200,000 mark, driving the unemployment rate gradually lower and allowing the Fed to continue winding down its monthly asset purchases,” said Paul Ashworth, Chief US Economist at Capital Economics.

The only disappointment in today’s report was the fact that average hourly earnings remained unchanged, Ashworth added.

UK car registrations rise to best level in a decade

Meanwhile, new car registrations in the UK surged by 17.7% in March to reach 464,824 units, their best level since March 2004, according to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

That was a surprisingly strong reading and reflected intensifying consumer confidence, as well as the availability of new products, said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

In other UK economic news, UK house prices dropped by 1.1% in March according to the latest survey data from Halifax, to reach £178,249, that was the third fall over the past 15 months.

Nonetheless, in terms of quarterly rates of change they were 2.3% higher than in the previous three months, at the top end of the 1.8% to 2.3% range for the average pace of gains seen since June 2013.

Insurers recover after recent falls

Insurance groups RSA, Resolution and Aviva (Other OTC: AIVAF – news) all made decent gains, bucking the trend of recent times, hit by both the Budget statement and the Financial Conduct Authority’s plans to review old insurance policies.

Mining (LSE: MIR.L – news) stocks including Anglo American (LSE: AAL.L – news) , Rio Tinto (Xetra: 855018 – news) and Fresnillo (Other OTC: FNLPF – news) were also making decent gains, recovering from yesterday’s declines as they tracked metal prices higher.

Airline easyJet flew higher after saying the number of passengers in March rose by 4.8% to 5,107,676 compared to a year earlier.

Meanwhile, department store Marks & Spencer (Other OTC: MAKSF – news) was in the red after Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB – news) warned of margin pressures, saying that the business is not immune to the increasing competition in the UK grocery market. In a report last night, the bank added M&S to its ‘Conviction Sell List’ and slashed its target price from 420p to 340p.

The wider sector was also down, including Kingfisher (LSE: KGF.L – news) and Dixons.

Tesco (Xetra: TCO.DE – news) fell after it confirmed speculation that Laurie McIlwee, its Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director, has decided to step down from the board and resign from the company.

FTSE 100 – Risers
CRH (CRH (Irish: CRG.IR – news) ) 1,775.00p +4.04%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 94.15p +3.46%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,565.00p +3.20%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 217.70p +3.13%
Mondi (Frankfurt: KYC.F – news) (MNDI) 1,083.00p +2.75%
G4S (Copenhagen: G4S.CO – news) (GFS) 250.30p +2.50%
Pearson (Dusseldorf: PES.DU – news) (PSON) 1,033.00p +2.48%
Whitbread (Frankfurt: WHF4.F – news) (WTB) 4,301.00p +2.40%
Fresnillo (Berlin: FNL.BE – news) (FRES) 891.00p +2.35%
Weir Group (Frankfurt: 42W.F – news) (WEIR) 2,549.00p +2.21%

FTSE 100 – Fallers
ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L – news) (ARM) 996.00p -2.92%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 461.90p -2.06%
Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV.L – news) (BDEV) 409.90p -1.58%
Tesco (Frankfurt: TS3.F – news) (TSCO) 287.40p -1.47%
Kingfisher (Frankfurt: KFI1.F – news) (KGF) 438.60p -1.26%
Smiths Group (Other OTC: SMGKF – news) (SMIN) 1,252.00p -1.11%
Persimmon (PSN) 1,346.00p -1.10%
Intertek Group (Other OTC: IKTSF – news) (ITRK) 2,968.00p -1.07%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 204.80p -1.06%
Travis Perkins (LSE: TPK.L – news) (TPK) 1,874.00p -1.00%

FTSE 250 – Risers
Oxford Instruments (LSE: OXIG.L – news) (OXIG) 1,436.00p +6.61%
Perform Group (Frankfurt: 8PG.F – news) (PER) 260.90p +5.63%
Evraz (LSE: EVR.L – news) (EVR) 79.90p +5.13%
Man Group (Other OTC: MNGPF – news) (EMG) 106.70p +4.71%
Wood Group (Frankfurt: JWG1.F – news) (John) (WG.) 794.50p +4.40%
Laird (LRD) 316.70p +3.90%
ICAP (Berlin: GBNA.BE – news) (IAP) 404.80p +3.79%
Premier Oil (LSE: PMO.L – news) (PMO) 308.70p +3.69%
Polymetal International (POLY) 626.00p +3.47%
Heritage Oil (Other OTC: HGOCF – news) (HOIL) 250.00p +3.31%

FTSE 250 – Fallers
Imagination Technologies Group (IMG) 214.70p -3.11%
Supergroup (Frankfurt: 49S.F – news) (SGP) 1,600.00p -3.09%
Booker Group (LSE: BOK.L – news) (BOK) 156.80p -2.85%
CSR (Frankfurt: GQY.F – news) (CSR (LSE: CSR.L – news) ) 690.00p -2.82%
Big Yellow Group (BYG) 539.50p -2.53%
Savills (Other OTC: SVLPF – news) (SVS) 655.50p -2.38%
Dixons Retail (Other OTC: DSITF – news) (DXNS) 49.20p -2.28%
Carphone Warehouse Group (CPW) 321.40p -2.28%
Computacenter (CCC) 635.00p -2.16%
Rightmove (Frankfurt: 3JD.F – news) (RMV) 2,555.00p -2.11%