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London pre-open: Stocks seen flat as investors mull jobs data

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London stocks were set for a flat open on Tuesday as investors mulled the latest UK jobs data.

Figures released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed that wages grew faster than expected in the three months to April, dashing hopes of a rate cut this summer.

Total pay including bonuses grew rose 5.9% in the three months to April, coming in above expectations of 5.7% growth. Meanwhile, growth for the previous three-month period was revised up to 5.9% from 5.7%.

Adjusted for consumer price inflation, total pay including bonuses grew 2.7% in February to April. This marked the fastest rate of growth since July to September 2021.

The data showed that the unemployment rate increased to 4.4% in the three months to April from 4.3% in the previous three months.

The ONS said: “This month’s figures continue to show signs that the labour market may be cooling, with the number of vacancies still falling and unemployment rising, though earnings growth remains relatively strong.”

In corporate news, aircraft and defence engineering specialist Senior said it had won 10-year production contracts worth $80m from Collins Aerospace to supply thrust reverser structural components for Boeing 787, Airbus A320neo and Airbus A220 aircraft.

Deliveries started in January for Boeing and will commence January 2025 for Airbus, with the parts made at Senior’s factory near San Diego in the US.

Bus and train operator FirstGroup hiked its dividend by 45% after a substantial jump in annual profits, and pointed to further growth in margins in the current financial year.

However, the company said that while a number of risks facing the business had reduced during the year, helped by an improved inflationary outlook, challenges to do with industrial relations “still persist”, while it was mindful of a potential renationalisation of National Rail contracts as a result of Labour winning the upcoming election.

GSK said it has initiated an appeal against the Delaware Superior Court’s recent decision permitting plaintiff expert testimony in the Zantac, or ranitidine, litigation, claiming the ruling was inconsistent with previous applications of the Daubert standard.

It said an application had been filed to seek interlocutory review by the Delaware Supreme Court, with Pfizer, Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim also involved. GSK maintained that scientific consensus showed no reliable evidence linking ranitidine to cancer and is committed to defending itself in this litigation.

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