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

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were set for a broadly flat open on Tuesday as investors mulled the latest UK jobs data. The FTSE 100 was called to open unchanged at 7,574.

Data released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed the UK unemployment rate eased at the end of last year, while average earnings continued to rise.

The unemployment rate was 3.8% for those aged 16 and over in the three months to December. That compares to November's rate of 4.2% and was below consensus for 4.0%.

Wage growth, however, beat forecasts. Annual growth in employees' average regular earnings, excluding bonuses, was 6.2%, in contrast to consensus for 6.0%. Including bonuses, wages grew by 5.8%.

Annual growth in real terms, which is adjusted for inflation, for total pay rose by 1.4% and by 1.8% for regular pay.

Still to come on the macro front, the US consumer price index for January is due at 1330 GMT.

In corporate news, travel firm TUI has registered a positive quarterly underlying profit for the first time after a record performance in the first quarter, as it reiterated its guidance for the full year.

The company booked underlying earnings before interest and tax of €6m for the three months to 31 December, moving into the black for the first time since the merger of TUI AG and TUI Travel PLC in 2014.

Group revenues were up 15% year-on-year at €4.3bn, driven by higher demand at improved rates and prices, the company said.

The Renewables Infrastructure Group has bought Fig Power, an energy projects developer based in Bristol, for an outlay of £20m over the next two years.

Fig Power has a 1.7GW development pipeline in the UK, including nine more advanced projects of around 400MW with grid offers ranging from 2025 to 2033 and a further 1.3GW of exclusive sites, TRIG said.

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