1700: An interesting - even if more brief than usual - day in markets it has been, given that both the corporate and economic calendars were rather empty on Thursday.
Perhaps most interesting of all was the downbeat 'market chatter' regarding the outlook for stocks around the world, including from some prominent pundits. Certainly, if markets do flop, it won't be on account of an excess of optimism.
As an example, Blackstone's Byron Wien told CNBC: "My feeling is that there's something lurking out there, Carl [Quintanilla], that is going to upset the market and it's probably a geopolitical event. Maybe the upcoming North Korea summit."
Nonetheless, central banks do warrant monitoring, with some observers on Thursday pointing out the importance of the upcoming (next week) Fed and ECB policy meetings.
On a related note, late in the session the BoE's David Ramsden (who in November had voted against a rate hike) said the MPC's view that weak first quarter growth in Britain was transitory had been vindicated by the data published thus far.
Also weighing on shares, it seeemed, traders were beginning to look towards this weekend's G7 summit in Quebec (starting from tomorrow), with the verbal sparring between US and European (Macron in this instance) leaders picking-up noticeably throughout the session.
"Be aware - the G7 summit starts tomorrow in Canada [...] light the blue touch paper and retreat [...]," said traders at Sucden Financial.
In terms of positives perhaps, and much like investors, Westminster opted to 'fudge' its proposal to Brussels on the Brexit backstop plan, while China's ZTE appeared to reach a settlement with Washington, despite having breached sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
Regarding the rise in crude oil
prices, on Wednesday three sources told Reuters that PDVSA might declare 'force majeure' on some of its exports.
FTSE 100 down 7.97 points to 7,704.40.
1608: The White House's isolationist policies could undermine the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, Lazard's CEO says.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the asset management giant's Ken Jacobs said: "To the extent that we have unilateral foreign policy and unilateral trade policy, we're sort of tempting the world to find an alternative. Probably the greatest demonstration of soft power is the fact that the US has the reserve currency of the world."
While the threats to the greenback's global primacy are still far off, "there's enough technology out in the world today with cryptocurrency and changes going on that you can imagine, if you let your mind wander a little bit, that something becomes an alternative in the future," he said.
higher after BoE deputy governor for Markets and Banking, David Ramsden, tells Barclays Inflation conference that, "It is still early days. We are still only two thirds of the way through Q2, less far through the Q2 data cycle, and only a month has passed since our last MPC meeting. Even so, the data we have had so far suggests our interpretation of the slowdown in Q1 as temporary looks to be being borne out."
1558: "Absent a far greater change in [OPEC] quotas than currently priced oil equities have, in our opinion, only paused for breath. Preferred names BP and ENI." - Deutsche Bank
1557: McDonald's shares
are being gobbled up as the fast food giant plans to slash jobs, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The number of layoffs was not disclosed, but further details will be provided on 12 June, with management's plan to make the company more "nimble and competitive".
1538: Capita shares are up after Citi upgraded the stock to 'buy' for the first time in more than five years.
"With earnings rebasement, a rebuilt balance sheet and another £105m costs savings targeted post 2018, Capita should have reached its nadir.
"While industry momentum remains soft, Capita has a reasonably solid revenue base into which new management can reconfigure the business."
Analysts reckon the early stages of the turnaround narrative should encourage investors and draw attention to the 32% discount to the business services sector's 2020 EV/EBITA valuation multiple.
1455: Chemring, one stock WebFG technical analysts have been following for a while now seems to be finding a bid of late, may be interesting to see where it finishes the week.
1440: So Brexit sec David Davis says UK backstop proposal "should" end in December 2021?
According to his opposite number, EU's lead negotiator Michel Barnier, the proposal must meet three requirements: "Does it avoid a hard Irish border? Does it respect the integrity of the EU's single market and customs union? Is it "all-weather," meaning will it last until a more permanent arrangement takes effect?"
Pound not overly-impressed at the moment it would seem, down by 0.19% at 1.3384 versus the US dollar.
1359: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says deal has been reached with China on telecommunications giant ZTE.
1330: Over the seven days ending on 2 June, initial US unemployment claims slipped by 1,000 to reach 222,000 (consensus: 220,000), according to the Department of Labor.
1223: Turkey's central bank has hiked rates, sending the lira higher. The CBRT upped all its four key rates by 125bps unexpectedly.
1218: Barclays has initated coverage on Kier with an 'underweight' rating even after the share price has fallen 25% in the past 12 months and consensus remaining 100% overweight.
Analysts view is that significant acquisitions, first-half outflows, heavy historical use of accounting exceptionals, meaningful on- and off-balance-sheet leverage, increasing utilisation of JVs and a forthcoming divisional restructure "inevitably raise some concerns, particularly in light of recent issues in the sector".
"While we appreciate a number of Kier's attractions - with a strong position within the Highways market, which should see increased spend in the forecast period on assumption of control of the Smart Motorways JV and the expected returns that should be generated from the investments made into residential and commercial property development over the past three years - we believe the shares are not as 'cheap' or cash-generative as at first glance, with significant adjustments required to appreciate the full leverage position."
There are not many potential catalysts perceived to drive a substantial re-rating given the "greater level of risk now in the model", leading to a 995p price target.
1150: Amazon has elbowed its way into the UK football market, spelling bad news for Sky and even for BT, which won a further 20 matches per season in a final round of the Premier League rights auction.
Amazon was among bidders for two packages of games and will show 20 Premier League matches for three years from 2019, after securing one of the two final broadcast packages. The tech giant will stream the games online for Prime members in the UK in the 2019/20 season.
BT Sport will show 52 EPL football matches per season for three years, with the 20 additional matches costing £90m, bringing the total cost for 52 games to £975m over three years.
1110: Mitie shares are among those in focus after results came out showing how the the facilities management group is getting on with its turnaround.
1100: Brexit secretary David Davis returns to his department in Downing Street after meeting with Theresa May at Number 10 but journalists report that he so far has ignored questions over whether he has or will quit.
The Brexit secretary had a showdown with the PM over the 'backstop' plan to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, while the cabinet 'Brexit war committee' is thrashing out final details ahead of a key European Council meeting later this month.
A temporary plan was expected to be published on Thursday but faced resistance from Davis, with the issue suggested as potentially leading to Davis' resignation.
After being asked if he would present his resignation if the "backstop" plan was approved without his consent, Davis said: "That's a question I think for the Prime Minister to be honest."
0955: Sterling is pushing 0.4% higher against the dollar
to cross $1.345 and top a two and a half week peak, as market perhaps like the sound of Theresa May's "backstop" plan being opposed by hard Brexiters.
The Times reports that Eurosceptic cabinet members Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove accused the PM of "deception" last night after they were kept in the dark over the key negotiation document until hours before it was due to be published. The backstop plan commits the whole of the UK to elements of the customs union if London and Brussels cannot agree a deal on border controls for goods.
0948: China's FX reserves fell to $3.11trn in May from $3.125trn in April, basically in line with the consensus $3.107trn.
Currency valuation effects fully account for the decline, with euro and sterling weakening dragging down the value of reserves in dollar terms.
"These data suggest that capital flowed out of China on a net basis in May, after modest net inflows in the previous two months, and a unadjusted current account deficit in Q1 overall," says Pantheon Macroeconomics. "We wait for the trade surplus data before firming up these estimate."
In the current month, economists are watching the People's Bank of China as it faces the challenge of a further Fed hike, with Chinese interbank rates having breached the ceiling of the rate corridor recently, and the pressure on the PBoC to adjust the corridor higher is clear.
Says Pantheon: "At the same time, the Bank likely will continue make interbank liquidity available through open market injections and further RRR cuts. Over this year, however, it will become clear that China cannot keep up with the pace of Fed tightening in the next 18 months. As a result, we expect capital outflows to gather pace again."
Emerging markets have been warning the US Fed about the pace of its balance sheet reduction. Yesterday India hiked interest rates and earlier this week the governor of the Reserve Bank of India urged the Fed to hold back on plans to shrink its balance sheet: "If it does not, Treasuries will absorb such a large share of dollar liquidity that a crisis in the rest of the dollar bond markets is inevitable."
0939: Thursday's London open market report, which was delayed by the LSE technical hitch earlier, has plenty of action on the broker note front, with Capita the best performer on the FTSE 250 after Citi lifted the outsourcer to 'buy'.
Elsewhere, On The Beach is upgraded to 'buy' at Numis, GVC Holdings bumped up to 'outperform' at Credit Suisse and Paddy Power Betfair was cut to 'underperform' by the same bunch.
Lots more detail in the market report.
0910: On the macroeconomic front, there's data from Halifax showing house prices were up 1.9% in the three months to May compared to a year ago, down from 2.2% growth in April but in line with expectations. On a monthly basis, prices were up 1.5% last month following a 3.1% drop in April, beating expectations for a 1% gain.
0901: We are go! One hour late, but the FTSE is up 37.41 point or 0.49% so far to 7,749.78.
0848: When we the LSE does open, investors will be looking at Auto Trader, Kier and Intertek.
Auto Trader pulled up slightly short of the bumper with full year growth that missed City analyst estimates as new and used car deals declined. However its dividend was better than expected and profit margins are expected to grow this year.
Intertek has made another acquisition, this one of UK and Malaysia-based cybersecurity and assurance services provider for an undisclosed sum.
Kier has announced a new joint venture with Homes England and Cross Keys Homes, to develop around 5,400 homes across the country over the next 10 years, which would enable it to accelerate the development of its residential land bank "through a capital efficient model".
0835: An LSE spokesperson has confirmed that the opening auction has been delayed until 0900 BST the exchange said on its website.
0834: On the LSE issue, Goldman Sachs told clients at around 0830 BST that while it had not heard anything official the exchange "is now excepting orders" and could see prices for Vodafone, for example, in an auction. "Heard on the grapevine a 8:45 open but we have just spoken to the exchange and no nothing confirmed yet. Will post when get confirmation of timing."
0825: London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was not showing any prices after the usual open at 0800, with trading in mid-cap and small cap shares also delayed.
0810: "There are no prices.........it has not opened!" moans one trader.
0808: The London Stock Exchange is having some technical glitches this morning, traders are reporting. The FTSE 100 index is not showing any prices yet.
Looking at the general market mood, analyst Neil Wilson at Markets.com says: "Risk is very much back on again as markets put trade war fears well and truly to one side and focus on the fundamentals again."
Rising global bond yields off the back of the ECB's hawkish signals yesterday pushed up bank stocks and combined with the buoyancy of the tech sector to lift US markets firmly overnight. The positive mood carried on through Asia where share are hitting two-and-a-half year highs.
"A little less stimulus in the system is positive for yields and the US 10-yr is now close to the magic 3% marker again," Wilson adds, with "scope for further gains" on a technical view, he sees momentum possibly taking the Dow to 25,505 and around 2,800 for the S&P 500.
The pound is also showing some strength as slightly better economic mood music helps sentiment. "And whilst the cabinet looks in turmoil over the negotiations for Britain's departure from the EU, the balance seems to be tilting in favour of a softer exit than feared by markets. Remainer voices appear in the ascendancy, and combined with ok eco data, suggests the Bank of England may be heading towards a summer rate rise. GBPUSD is heading up to 1.3450 with the May 22nd high of 1.349 that was rejected offering resistance."