StockMarketWire.com - UK markets were weighed down as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people on UK payrolls fell by 469,000 between March and June this year.

June's fall of 74,000 jobs was smaller than the figures for April and May but and the unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%, but this discounts half a million people who are away from work and receive no pay but believe they still have a job.

By midday the FTSE 100 index was 0.5% lower or 35 points, at 6,258, while the FTSE 250 also shed 0.5%, or 91 points, to sit at 17,329.

Sports betting company GVC was the worst performer on the FTSE 100, losing 4.8% to 870p despite a strong performance in the first half of the year and forecast-beating earnings.

Investors were focused instead on the news that veteran chief executive Kenneth Alexander was set to retire with immediate effect.

Hays tumbled 3.6% to 122p as the recruitment company reported that fee income was down by more than a third, and warned that it expected to generate a loss over the summer months.

Germany, its biggest market, reported a 33% decline in fees in the second quarter, while fees in the UK & Ireland fell 42%.

Shares in Anglo American eased 0.7% to £19.39 after the mining company announced a steeper decline in diamond and precious metals output amid lockdowns in southern Africa and lowered its coal output guidance amid Covid-19 related disruption.

Insurer Aviva declined 0.4% to 293p after confirming it had completed the sale of Friends Provident International to RL360, a subsidiary of International Financial Group, for £259m.

Energy utility SSE gained 1.6% to £13.86 on the news that while output of electricity from renewable sources in the quarter to end of June was below its planned output, it had successfully issued over £1bn in hybrid bonds.

The company also reported that it continued to target delivery of its five-year dividend plan to 2022-23.

Marshalls climbed 1.7% to 631p as the landscape products group reported a 25% year on year drop in revenue during the six months to 30 June, but said that recent trading has been better than expected.

Royal Bank of Scotland is flat at 121.5p on the announcement that its name change to NatWest Group would take effect on 22 July 2020.

Shares in information services company Experian were also flat at £28.45 after it reported a slight fall in first-quarter revenue as growth in North America kept losses from elsewhere in check.


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