Markets look set for another choppy session ahead of the release of US non-farm payrolls data scheduled for 13.30 UK time.

Interest rates hikes remain on the agenda in the US and a print significantly above consensus forecasts of 225,000 new jobs would increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to act.

London's FTSE 100 blue chip index trades flat in early trade, opening 0.1% lower at 6,742. Healthcare stocks drag with Hikma (HIK), Shire (SHP)and Astrazeneca (AZN) down 2.4%, 1.5%,  and 1.1% respectively following a biotech sell-off in the US overnight.

Sterling is one cent weaker than a day earlier at $1.55 after the Bank of England indicated interest rates are unlikely to rise in 2015. The yield on the government's benchmark 10 year bond is five basis points lower at 1.92%.

Another drag is bookmaker William Hill (WMH), which tumbles 4.7% to 391.5p on a 35% drop in pre-tax profit to £78.7 million in the first half. This is driven by an additional £44 million gambling duty hit from the Point of Consumption tax and increase in machines games duty. The company has also acquired 29.4% of online lottery software provider NeoGames for £16 million.

Geophysical data specialist Getech (GTC:AIM) is up 3.2% to 49p despite warning on profits for the year to 31 July. The market is apparently relieved the results aren't worse given the heavy spending cuts in the oil industry. We've got more on the story here.

Manufacturer of mineral wool for thermal and acoustic insulation Superglass (SPGH) tumbles 11.1% to 3p after the markets failed to show any enthusiasm for the group's faltering turnaround plan. Superglass shares have declined by almost 90% over the past 12 months.

Defence and engineering contractor Cobham (COB) advances 2% after broker Liberum upgraded the £3.2 billion cap to a buy following interims on 6 August which showed 26% rise in revenue to £1.05 billion in the six months to the end of June.

Aircraft leasing and procurement specialist Avation (AVAP) nudges 1.1% higher to 138.5p after the group announces it has signed an agreement with Dublin-based aircraft lessor Avolon to purchase an A320-200 aircraft, which is operated by and is on lease to Air France.

Design-led carpets manufacturer and distributor Victoria (VCP:AIM) weaves a 17.5p gain to £11.35 on the £16.4 million acquisition of Australian carpets maker Quest. Increasing the scale of its operations down under, Victoria's fourth acquisition in the past year will be 'immediately earnings enhancing' and prompts earnings upgrades.

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWP:AIM), which makes treatments from cannabis, plummets 9.9% to 544.5p on losses widening 53.8% to £32.3 million in the nine months to the end of June. Rising R&D costs are to blame.

Issue Date: 07 Aug 2015