1630: Close The FTSE closed higher after a day of ups and downs, led by financial service company Hargreaves Lansdown, which posted record revenue and profits for the second half of 2012. Heading the other way was Unilever after going ex-dividend. In economic news, overall shop price inflation fell to an 0.6 per cent year-on-year rate in January from 1.5 per cent in December, the lowest shop price inflation since November 2009, when it was 0.2 per cent, according to the latest data from the BRC. Food inflation fell to a 4.0 per cent year-on-year pace in January from 4.1 per cent in December. Non-food prices fell by 1.4 per cent in January after being broadly flat in December. The FTSE 100 closed up 13 points to 6,295.
1615: In its latest survey of the UK economy the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) argues that the time-path followed by the country in reducing its fiscal imbalances should make allowance for a temporarily slower pace of economic growth if necessary. As regards the role of monetary policy, the OECD goes on to say that "overall, in the current economic situation, further expansion of the asset purchase programme would be warranted if the economy stays weak." At the current juncture the multilateral organisation does not see a need to employ other monetary policy options, such as cutting the policy rate to close to zero and buying private securities as a part of QE. FTSE 100 down 2 to 6,281.
1517: Weighing in on this afternoon's settlement between RBS and US/UK authorities, analyst Ian Gordon at Investec points out that "any resolution of actual and/or potential civil litigation is likely to be sufficiently distant to be seen as a potential future one-off income statement issue rather than part of any nearer-term capital challenge. "We see the financial impact of LIBOR as relatively modest," he adds. Unfortunately Investec also continues to see a very slow pace of recovery with, after five years of heavy losses, a return on equity (RoE) of 2% in 2013, 4% in 2014 and 6% in 2015. For that reason it retains a sell recommendation and an unchanged price target of 290p.
1454: Calculations by Vickers Weekly Insider Report show that for the week that ended last Friday the ratio of all shares
that insiders have recently sold in the open market to the number that they have purchased stood at 9.20-to-1, according to Marketwatch.com. On average over the month following each prior occasion when the sell-to-buy ratio got this high, the broad market fell by 2.1% as measured by the Wilshire 5000 total-return index. The last time it got this high was in July 2011. FTSE 100 down 11 to 6,271 and continues to outperform its Continental peers.
1335: RBS has agreed to pay LIBOR-related penalties of 87.5m pounds, 325m dollars and 150m dollars to the FSA, CFTC and DOJ, respectively. The company said it has entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement in relation to one count of wire fraud relating to Swiss Franc LIBOR and one count for an antitrust violation relating to Yen
LIBOR. RBS Securities Japan has also agreed to enter a plea of guilty to one count of wire fraud relating to Yen LIBOR. The report found "serious failures in the controls and risk management systems RBS had in place", but said none of the regulators concluded that RBS, as a firm, had engaged in any "deliberate misconduct". The FTSE is down two points at 6,280.
1235: Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has announced a core fourth quarter earnings per share number of 32.6p, versus the 30.9p expected by the analyst consensus. FTSE 100 up 15 to 6,297.
1219: Shares of Daily Mail are rising sharply following the company's first quarter results earlier today. In response analysts at Credit Suisse have raised their price target on the shares of the firm to 700p (from 500p) due to 'methodology changes.' In their own words: "We believe DMGT's business mix is continuing its progression to sounder structural ground which will result in further multiple expansion."
1206: Credit Suisse is out with a research note this afternoon which may help to clarify things with respect to movements today in ENRC's share price. In their own words: "Overall a good set of numbers. Kazakh operations especially iron ore were weak during the first 9 months of 2012 but the fourth quarter saw a strong rebound in iron ore volumes. Both iron ore and ferrochrome beat Credit Suisse by 8 per cent and were up 7-8 per cent year-on-year. Coal was another area of strength (...) Copper was 3 per cent below Credit Suisse due to power issues in the DRC. We think downside risks are limited with potential re-rating catalysts in 2013. Importantly, the company's acquisition run has finally ended and could kick into reverse with small divestments in '13/14 in our view." FTSE 10 up 18 to 6,301.
1037: There is apparently some 'market chatter' doing the rounds this morning as regards a possible take-over bid for ENRC, at about 6 pounds per share, out of shareholder Alijan Ibragimov.
1005: In a research note put out this morning analysts at Nomura highlight the earnings risk inherent in BP shares due to the lack of clarity on longer-term cash flow, which leaves them 'cautious.' In that same vein, they call attention to the fact that a 'one-off' return to shareholders may not be rewarded and runs the risk of leaving BP with less flexibility to invest in medium term growth opportunities either organically or through M&A. In their opinion that would be particularly so should oil prices
fall below the 100 dollar
per barrel mark. FTSE 100 up 32 to 6,314.
0831:Financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown is leading gains today on the Footsie, as equities track Wall Street and Asian indices' moves higher overnight, particularly in the Tokyo benchmark, the Nikkei 225. ENRC is in second place on the leader board; while the production of copper and aluminium declined, the majority of Eurasian Natural Resources' business areas saw growth in production and operating performance. Shares of Schroders are also getting a lift from an upgrade out of Morgan Stanley to outperform. Unilever is the worst performer at the moment, after going ex-dividend. Overall shop price inflation fell to 0.6 per cent year-on-year in January from 1.5 per cent in December. That is the the lowest shop price inflation since November 2009, when it was 0.2%, according to the latest data out today from the British Retail Consortium. Business Secretary Vince Cable will today urge the Bank of England to overhaul its Funding for Lending Scheme, suggesting it is failing to help small businesses, according to The Times. FTSE 100 up 19 to 6,301.