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FTSE 100 Live: Jobs market recovery continues, Brent crude hits $84

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strong month for the UK labour market after the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5% helped to offset some of the inflation and interest rate worries facing investors today.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics come amid expectations that Bank of England may hike interest ratres as soon as December in response to growing price pressures.

Global markets dipped overnight, with the FTSE 100 index set to open 50 points lower, after Brent crude topped $84 a barrel for the first time in three years.

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Easyjet bookings bounce back, not worried about BA plan for Gatwick

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Easyjet today insisted that recovery “is underway” even as it predicted losses for the year to September of more than £1.1 billion.

It insisted it is not worried about rival BA’s plans to launch a short-haul hub at Gatwick.

CEO Johan Lundgren said: “We have proven that we can compete against any airline. We will have to wait and see what they do. It is not something we will lose any sleep over.”

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Marley postpones IPO

It’s been a stunning year for stock market flotations, with Oxford Nanopore the latest high-profile new entrant in London.

However, there are signs today that the listing boom is under threat after roofing tiles company Marley postponed its initial public offering (IPO) due to the current market conditions.

It said it had received considerable institutional investor interest, but that proceeding with an IPO “in this period of market volatility is not in the best interests of the group and its stakeholders”.

Marley, which was founded in the 1920s in Kent and makes products from five factories, announced its intention to float last month, when market sources estimated the move could value the business at around £600 million.

It has been working with Jefferies, Peel Hunt and Panmure Gordon on the plan.

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Earnings jitters

The FTSE 100 index is set to follow US and Asia markets lower after sentiment was shaken by oil prices rising to fresh multi-year highs.

The fear of investors is that rising energy costs mean that the third quarter earnings season, which starts this week, will see profits forecasts being tempered for the year ahead.

Oanda’s market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: “With equity valuations so pimped up, thanks to the world’s central banks, any changes to the assumed post-pandemic boom growth story could have an outsized negative effect.”

Interest rates close to zero are still supportive of equities, but Halley said the herd-like nature of markets meant a wobbly earnings season could see investors heading for the exit.

The results season begins tomorrow with figures from JP Morgan Chase, followed by Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup the next day.

Overnight, the S&P 500 retreated by 0.7% and the Nasdaq by 0.6%, while in Asia trading was down by similar levels.

Halley added: “European markets are unlikely to take solace from the performance of Asia today, especially as Europe and the UK have a particularly soft underbelly when it comes to energy prices.”

Brent crude traded above $84 a barrel for the first time in three years yesterday and was just below this level today. West Texas crude oil futures are up slightly at $80.72 a barrel.

The FTSE 100 is forecast to open 50 points lower, having risen yesterday by a similar level yesterday thanks to a strong performance by mining and financial stocks. The FTSE 250 index, which is more exposed to the fortunes of the UK economy, lost 0.2%.

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