All eyes on NFP this afternoon

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is up 15 points, as traders await the raft of important economic data this afternoon.

The first Friday of the month of course sees all eyes on this afternoon's non-farm payroll figures coming from the US this afternoon. As is always the case, markets appear to be treading water while they wait.

Yesterday’s lack of commitment from the European Central Bank has left many feeling that the chances of change next time round have been greatly increased, which has gone some way to giving European markets a boost. 

This morning’s figures from the UK have seen a tidy drop in the trade balance, however this has been somewhat outweighed by poor manufacturing and industrial production figures.

Tullow Oil is still trying to handle a difficult situation in Uganda as the current government signs a memorandum with oil firms. 

British Land has acquired £66.8 million of Hercules Unit Trust at a 3.8% discount to the net asset value. 

Shell has formalised an agreement to supply Bashneft with oil for $1.4 billion. 

Supported by the London housing market, Shaftesbury has posted a very solid looking trading statement. The growing strength of the west end of London and the constant flow of cash into the market have both substantially helped.  

After the surprise of last month’s non-farm payroll figures, we are expecting something a little closer to the mark this time round. That being said, weather conditions in the US have been far from ideal and may well end up playing a part. Close scrutiny will also be paid to US unemployment figures which have made a steady decline from their 2010 highs, especially now that the first two cuts to quantitative easing have been made.  

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 20 points higher at 15,648.

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