Markets steady as US payrolls loom

AP News
Posted: Jul 02, 2014 9:43 AM
Markets steady as US payrolls loom

LONDON (AP) — Markets were fairly leaden-footed Wednesday after a strong U.S. private payrolls report, a day ahead of the early publication of official government data.

ADP, a payroll processer, said U.S. businesses added 281,000 jobs last month. That was up on the 179,000 recorded in the previous month and the 200,000 median forecast in the markets.

The ADP survey suggests that Thursday's could also show a significant gain from May's tally of 217,000 jobs. The government figures are being released a day earlier than usual because of U.S. Independence Day.

However, analysts were cautious as the ADP figures don't always tally with the government data.

"This means upside risk to tomorrow's payroll report but please remember how the ADP is known for throwing the market off ahead of the official jobs report," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent at 6,812 while the CAC-40 in France fell 0.4 percent to 4,442. Germany's DAX was 0.1 percent higher at 9,906.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.1 percent at 16,981 while the broader S&P 500 index rose the same rate to 1,975.

Earlier in Asia, investors were encouraged by surveys showing China's manufacturing activity improved in June for the first time in six months. That came on top of the government's decision to expand credit by allowing banks to lend more relative to the size of their deposits.

Asia's heavyweight, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo, gained 0.3 percent to 15,369.97 while China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4 percent to 2,059.42.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.5 percent at 23,549.62 while Seoul's Kospi added 0.8 percent to 2,015.28 and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.5 percent to 5,455.40.

Elsewhere, the euro was down 0.3 percent, a day ahead of the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank. Though no change in policy is expected, traders, particularly in the currency markets will be interested to hear what ECB President Mario Draghi says in his ensuing press conference about the state of the 18-country eurozone economy.