FTSE hovers as UK unemployment unexpectedly falls

General view of the Jobcentre Plus logo at its building, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Northwich, Britain, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

A general view of the Jobcentre Plus logo in Northwich, Britain, November 10, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

European markets made a subdued start to Tuesday morning, with major indexes trading either flat or slightly lower.

In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) opened flat, just below the 7,000 point mark, while the German DAX (^GDAXI) was also hovering on a flatline.

The French CAC (^FCHI) bucked the trend, retreating by 0.3% as the country works towards reopening to foreign travellers who have been vaccinated or who can show evidence of a negative COVID test.

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Traders had a muted reaction to news that UK unemployment had unexpectedly fallen to 4.9%. 

While the headline rate declined, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the number of payrolled workers dropped by 56,000 between February and March as the pandemic continued to take its toll on the jobs market. It marked the first decline in four months.

Overall, there were 813,000 fewer workers on payrolls than in March 2020.

Meanwhile, US stock futures ticked higher. The S&P 500 (ES=F) and the Dow (YM=F) looked set to open around 0.2% higher in morning trade in London, while the Nasdaq (NQ=F) looked set to enjoy a more muted rise of 0.1%.

Asian shares were mostly lower overnight following a small rally and cautious optimism about an economic rebound. The Hang Seng (^HSI) was flat while the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) was 0.1% lower at the close.

The Nikkei (^N225), Japan’s benchmark index, bucked the trend, falling 1.5% as investors reacted to a summit by prime minister Yoshihide Suga with president Joe Biden over the weekend.