Stock higher before US jobs report

Equity markets are slightly higher as traders are feeling optimistic about the non-farm payrolls at 1.30pm (London time).

The recent string of positive economic data from the US has set the tone for the non-farm payrolls and unemployment data being released at 1.30pm (London time). Economists are expecting an increase of 200,000 on the July payrolls and the unemployment rate to drop to 7.5%.

On Wednesday, the ADP employment report showed an increase of 200,000 and the jobless claims dropped to a five-and-half-year low yesterday. If today’s report is positive we could see the FTSE 100 break the 6700 mark.

The UK revealed a large jump in the construction purchasing managers index (PMI) in July; the reading came in at 57, a three-year high. This pushed up construction stocks like Barratt Developments and Persimmon.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) announced a first-half pre-tax profit of £1.4 billion, compared with a loss of £1.7 billion for the same period last year. Ross McEwan has been appointed as the new CEO. The share price is down 4%.

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