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The expectations for the non-farm payroll figures were for 184,000, and in the days running up to the announcement expectations grew even higher. The actual figure of 164,000 therefore left the markets disappointed. However, the FTSE 100 was still able to finish the week off in better shape than it started.
There has been a notable drop in trading volume, but as we are now in the holiday season this is hardly surprising. What was surprising was the drop in the EU’s unemployment levels earlier in the week; although the fact that youth unemployment levels are now up to almost 40% should be cause for concern for those who regularly meet in Brussels.
It has also been an interesting week for UK corporate news, with Barclays, Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland all reporting figures. Undoubtedly the chancellor will have been kept up to date with how both of the UK taxpayers’ banks are running; the markets were certainly pleased that both have been able to post profits for the first six months of this year. This in itself is not yet enough to prove that they are ready to disentangle themselves from the government, but they are certainly a step closer.