Japanese markets started higher on Friday with Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index crossing new record heights
Japanese markets started higher on Friday with Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index crossing new record heights AFP News

The London stock market advanced Friday after Britain's centre-left Labour Party clinched an expected landslide election victory to end 14 years of right-wing Conservative rule.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed following news that Keir Starmer will become Britain's new prime minister after Labour trounced Rishi Sunak's Conservatives.

The widely-forecast triumph has sparked investor hope of economic stability amid easing inflation, although Starmer faces tough challenges in the form of strained public finances, a stretched state health service and flagging economic growth.

Frankfurt and Paris stocks also climbed Friday with eurozone investors on tenterhooks before France's crucial legislative vote this weekend.

The British pound gained versus the dollar and euro.

"UK stocks say yes to Starmer," summarised Kathleen Brooks, research director at trading firm XTB.

"While we wait for the official handover of power, focus will quickly shift to political issues elsewhere."

"The second round of French elections take place on Sunday. Financial markets in France are calm ahead of the vote," she added.

In France, tactical voting efforts to block the far-right from taking over the government have partly bolstered eurozone markets.

But analysts remain wary that the second-biggest economy in the European Union could be headed for a period of political deadlock if there is no overall winner on Sunday.

"After some of the left and centrist candidates pulled out from the elections, the most likely scenario is a hung parliament," noted research consultancy Oxford Economics.

"France will likely enter a period of uncertainty. This would result in policy paralysis, delaying fiscal consolidation and preventing any meaningful reforms until the next presidential election."

Investor sentiment had been given a boost Thursday as softer US labour market data gave the Federal Reserve room to cut interest rates, with another key jobs report due Friday.

"We expect US labour market data will show more signs of cooling in June," Alvin Tan of RBC Capital Markets said.

Gains were capped in New York on Thursday with Wall Street shut for the July 4 Independence Day holiday in the United States.

Asian stock markets closed mostly lower Friday, a day after Tokyo's indexes hit record highs as traders also braced for a key US jobs report.

Japan's Nikkei 225 ended flat while the broader Topix index, which a day earlier surpassed its previous peak set in 1989, also shed some of its gains.

The yen recovered further against the dollar after this week striking the lowest level in nearly four decades.

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 8,260.53 points

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 7,728.89

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.9 percent at 18,619.21

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 percent at 5,013.77

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT percent at 40,912.37 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.0 percent at 17,799.61 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 2,949.93 (close)

New York - Dow: Closed Thursday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2788 from $1.2765 on Thursday

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.66 pence from 84.69 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0825 from $1.0813

West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $83.88 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.1 percent at $87.38 per barrel