(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London closed higher on Friday, as investors digested the most recent jobs data from the US, ahead of a busy week of interest rate decisions.

The FTSE 100 index closed up 40.75 points, 0.5%, at 7,554.47. The FTSE 250 ended up 83.25 points, 0.5%, at 18,701.99, and the AIM All-Share closed up 2.59 points, or 0.4%, at 723.45. Over the course of the week, the stocks were up 0.3%, up 1.6%, and up 1.1%.

The Cboe UK 100 ended up 0.5% at 754.03, the Cboe UK 250 closed up 0.3% at 16212.63, and the Cboe Small Companies ended up 0.6% at 14,003.69.

In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris ended up 1.4%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt ended up 0.8%.

The Bureau of Labour Statistics said nonfarm payrolls rose by 199,000, beating FXStreet-cited market consensus of 180,000. The figure was also above October's reading of 150,000.

The job gains were seen in the sectors of health care and government, BLS noted.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, wrong-footing analysts who had predicted it would remain unchanged from the prior month at 3.9%.

"Payroll gains were inflated by returning strikers in November, but the underlying pace of job growth has slowed in recent months. That's encouraging for the Fed, which has likely ruled out further rate increases. However, the details in the rest of the report were robust enough in our view to keep rate cuts off the table for several more months," said Oxford Economics economist Nancy Houten.

Friday's nonfarms data follows a reading from payroll services provider ADP on Wednesday.

ADP said private sector employment increased by 103,000 jobs in November, easing from a 113,000 rise in October. The reading fell short of the FXStreet cited consensus of 130,000.

Following the reading, the stocks in New York were higher at the London equities close, with the DJIA down and the S&P 500 index both up 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.3%.

The dollar was also supported after the reading.

The pound was quoted at USD1.2535 at the London equities close Friday, down compared to USD1.2580 at the close on Thursday. The euro stood at USD1.0758 at the European equities close Friday, lower against USD1.0791 at the same time on Thursday.

On Wednesday next week, investors will be eyeing an interest rate decision from the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England will make their own decisions on Thursday.

Elsewhere on the economic front, the focus was on the Japanese yen.

Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY144.51, higher compared to JPY144.07 late Thursday.

The Japanese currency mostly held on to recent gains after Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said handling monetary policy "will become even more challenging from the year-end and heading into next year", Bloomberg News reported. The dollar had fetched over JPY147 earlier this week.

"Yesterday was finally the day that most FX traders have been waiting for since at least a year: the day where the Bank of Japan gave a hint that it will finally exit its negative interest rate policy," commented Swissquote Bank's Ipek Ozkardeskaya.

In the FTSE 100, Anglo American plummeted 19%.

The London-based mining company indicated that it has already reduced its business support costs by USD500 million by mid-2024. It expects an additional USD500 million in annual cost savings identified across its global businesses in 2024.

Anglo American's cost-reduction efforts come as the miner faced ongoing economic and geopolitical volatility, and the cyclical weakness in platinum group metals and diamonds.

AJ Bell's Russ Mould noted that the scale of Anglo American's cuts may have come as "a bit of a shock to the market."

"The company also faces the challenge of a mounting debt pile and its somewhat patchy operational performance means it may not be awarded a huge amount of patience by the market," he added.

Berkeley lost 4.1%.

The Cobham, Surrey-based housebuilder said in the six months to October 31, pretax profit climbed 4.6% year-on-year to GBP298.0 million from GBP284.8 million, as net operating expenses fell 11% to GBP79.7 million from GBP89.9 million the year before.

Revenue slipped 0.8% to GBP1.19 billion from GBP1.20 billion.

Berkeley more than doubled its interim dividend to 59 pence per share from 21p per share a year ago.

Ocado rose 2.0% JPMorgan raised the stock to 'neutral' from 'underweight.'

Meanwhile, in the FTSE 250, Watches of Switzerland gained 2.8% as Societe Generale upped its price target.

On London's AIM, Landore Resources fell 38%.

The exploration and development company said "turbulent market conditions" worldwide have led to "significant" fundraising challenges, and it has therefore decided to terminate its CAD5 million, or GBP2.9 million, private placement which was set to fund its dual listing on the TSX Venture Exchange.

It has now postponed its proposed dual listing until further notice, and begins a cost-cutting plan to preserve its existing cash.

Brent oil was quoted at USD76.00 a barrel at the London equities close Friday, up from USD74.52 late Thursday. Gold was quoted at USD2,006.01 an ounce at the London equities close Friday, down against USD2,028.77 at the close on Thursday.

In Monday's UK corporate calendar, there are half year results from Begbies Traynor.

The economic calendar for Monday has the UK Rightmove house price index overnight. The week will then quickly move onto interest rate decisions.

By Sophie Rose, Alliance News senior reporter

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