UK shares and pound hold steady

Shortly after trading began, the FTSE 100 was 13.20 points higher at 6,546.99, while the FTSE 250 rose 134.34 points to 16,033.15.

The BBC also reports that rising copper prices helped mining companies, with Rio Tinto up 2%.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.3% against the dollar to $1.2944 and climbed 0.15% against the euro to €1.1686.

The pound has spent the week hovering near 31-year lows against the dollar after sterling plunged following the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

Investors will be looking to the US later when the latest set of jobs data for the world’s largest economy is released. The previous figures showed only 38,000 new jobs were added in May – much lower than expected.

‘Woeful’ jobs data

“It looks like the pound has found its level for now but could pitch lower on more weak data or fresh worries about the UK economy. All the bad news is priced in – for now,” said Andrew Edwards of ETX Capital.

“Last month’s [US jobs] numbers were pretty woeful and markets are eyeing a big improvement this time. Analysts anticipate hiring to hit 175,000 – 180,000 in June. ”

However, Mr Edwards added that the chances of a US rate rise this year appeared slim.

“Markets see no chance of a rate rise until December at the very earliest and a strong jobs report is not going to change this much – although it will be important to confirm whether the US labour market simply hit a speed bump in May, or is slowing down longer term.”

Property focus

In London, property-related shares enjoyed a slight respite, with Barratt Developments up 4% and Taylor Wimpey 4.4% higher.

Shares in the property sector have been some of the worst affected by the UK’s vote to leave the EU. And the sector took another battering this week as a succession of fund managers suspended trading in their property funds.

Oil shares were lower after crude prices fell 5% on Thursday when figures showed US oil stockpiles were larger than expected.

Despite a slight rebound in oil prices on Friday, shares in Royal Dutch Shell fell 1.5% while BP was 1% lower.