After hitting highs not seen since January 2008 yesterday, the FTSE 100 pulled back on Thursday morning as minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting showed that some policy-makers have begun to question current quantitative easing (QE) measures in the States.
Stocks were boosted on Wednesday after minutes from this month's Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting showed that, while still outvoted, more members - including Bank Governor Sir Mervyn King - called for additional stimulus for the UK economy.
In contrast, the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting released late last night indicated a more hawkish tone among members at the Fed.
Senior market analyst Michael Hewson from CMC Markets said: "anyone thinking that the Fed is about to pull the plug had better think again, though the change of dynamic could prove to be interesting, and will give markets something else to chew over in the coming months."
Speeches from the presidents of the New York and San Francisco Federal Reserves this evening are likely to be closely watched, as they could seek to moderate or add detail to last night's minutes.
Nevertheless, as markets continue to digest the minutes from the MPC and FOMC meetings, they will also have a barrage of economic data to sieve through, including Eurozone PMIs, UK public-sector finances, US jobless claims and the Philly Fed index.
FTSE 100: BAE jumps after initiating buyback
UK defence giant BAE Systems may have posted a fall in sales and earnings in 2012, but shares
gained strongly this morning after the company initiated a share buy-back worth £1.0bn over the next three years.
Miners were under the weather this morning as metals prices weakened in the face of a stronger dollar
after the FOMC minutes. Gold prices are now trading at a seven-month low. ENRC, BHP Billiton, EVRAZ, Rio Tinto and Xstrata were among the worst performers early on.
Oil producer Tullow fell after saying that it was forced to plug and abandon a well in Uganda after it couldn't find hydrocarbons.
TV and broadband giant BSkyB was lower despite saying that it is launching a new Sky Movies Disney channel next month. The company also announced that Sky Movies has received first subscription pay-TV movie rights from Disney.
B&Q owner Kingfisher was subdued after reporting a decline in like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter as it battled against weak consumer confidence, unfavourable foreign exchange
and poor weather in the UK.
FTSE 250: CSR surges early on
Shares of wireless technology firm CSR stormed ahead after it posted record full-year revenue and underlying gross margin, boosted its dividend payment and said it expects good growth in core revenues for 2013.
Paper and packaging group Mondi gained after pre-tax profits rose 19% in 2012 to €371m.
High Street betting shop Ladbrokes was lower despite registering record revenues in UK retail in 2012 and saying that 2013 has had a "promising" start.
Filtrona, the plastics and fibre group, was higher after constant-currency revenues and pre-tax profits jumped 26% last year.
Transport group Go-Ahead was subdued after saying that while full-year profits will be in line with forecasts, second-half trading at its Rail division would remain "challenging".
FTSE 100 - Risers
BAE Systems (BA.) 343.50p +3.40%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 117.20p +0.17%
Rexam (REX) 502.00p 0.00%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,512.00p 0.00%
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,618.00p -0.25%
British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSY) 824.00p -0.30%
Compass Group (CPG) 807.00p -0.31%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,597.00p -0.31%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 734.00p -0.34%
Weir Group (WEIR) 2,180.00p -0.37%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 355.80p -5.72%
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 673.00p -3.58%
CRH (CRH) 1,358.00p -3.28%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 2,119.50p -2.93%
Xstrata (XTA) 1,117.50p -2.70%
Evraz (EVR) 273.20p -2.67%
Glencore International (GLEN) 372.55p -2.56%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 1,035.00p -2.54%
ARM Holdings (ARM) 928.50p -2.42%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,559.50p -2.39%
FTSE 250 - Risers
CSR (CSR) 440.00p +14.17%
Sports Direct International (SPD) 438.10p +5.31%
Filtrona PLC (FLTR) 601.00p +0.84%
United Drug (UDG) 283.00p +0.71%
Kier Group (KIE) 1,365.00p +0.59%
BH Macro Ltd. USD Shares (BHMU) 19.44 +0.47%
Mondi (MNDI) 848.50p +0.41%
Lancashire Holdings (LRE) 872.50p +0.23%
ITE Group (ITE) 266.80p +0.19%
Caledonia Investments (CLDN) 1,798.20p +0.18%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 277.20p -6.35%
Afren (AFR) 145.80p -5.02%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 263.90p -4.73%
Henderson Group (HGG) 161.00p -4.73%
Moneysupermarket.com Group (MONY) 200.40p -4.34%
Soco International (SIA) 358.30p -3.92%
Synthomer (SYNT) 206.80p -3.77%
Home Retail Group (HOME) 128.50p -3.17%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 53.90p -3.14%
Bwin.party Digital Entertainment (BPTY) 136.00p -3.00%