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* FTSE 100 index up 1.5 pct
* Commodities shares gain on weaker dollar
* Housebuilders dragged down by mid-cap McCarthy & Stone
By Atul Prakash and Kit Rees
LONDON, Sept 2 Britain’s top share index rose further in afternoon trading on Friday after data showing a greater than expected slowdown in U.S. employment growth last month lowered the chances of an interest rate hike in the United States this month.
Non-farm payrolls rose by 151,000 jobs in August after an upwardly revised 275,000 increase in July, with hiring in manufacturing and construction declining. Economists had forecast payrolls rising 180,000 last month.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index was up 1.5 percent by 1331 GMT, bouncing from a four-week low on Thursday and gaining after three straight days of losses.
“Today’s jobs data has raised expectations that a U.S. rate hike could be delayed,” said Jawaid Afsar, senior trader at Securequity. “A weakness in the dollar following the payroll numbers has helped commodities, which have a heavy weight on the benchmark FTSE 100 index.”
Commodities shares were in demand after prices of gold , oil, copper and nickel advanced following a drop in the dollar after the U.S. jobs data. A weaker U.S. currency generally makes dollar-priced commodities cheaper for other currency holders and in turn raises demand.
The UK mining index rose 2.5 percent, boosted by rallies of between 2 to 3.8 percent in Fresnillo, Anglo American, Randgold Resources and Glencore .
The UK oil and gas index was up 1.9 percent as share prices of Royal Dutch Shell and BP both rose around 1.6 percent.
Cruise operator Carnival dropped 3.6 percent, trading at the bottom of the FTSE 100, after a downgrade from Morgan Stanley to “underweight”.
Carnival was joined by UK housebuilders Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey and Barratt Developments which all fell between 0.8 percent to 1.3 percent, weighed down by a drop in mid-cap sector peer McCarthy & Stone.
Retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone slumped nearly 12 percent after saying it had seen fewer new house reservations and an increased level of cancellations after Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union.
“Against a sector that has been rebounding strongly on the belief that the housing sector will be fully ‘shrugging off Brexit’, this more cautious statement could have a more negative impact on this stock’s valuation,” Robin Hardy, analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said in a note. (Editing by Dominic Evans)