1630:Close The FTSE closed up 61 points, led by Barclays after it revealed a 26 per cent rise in pre-tax profit. Heading the other way was BAE Systems after JP Morgan Cazenove said the company faces "major structural problems" and is likely to under-perform peers over the next 12-24 months. In economic news, the RICS seasonally adjusted house price balance dropped to -4 in January, partly as a result of inclement weather, although home sales in the UK actually rose. UK CPI rose at a 2.7 per cent year-on-year pace in January 2013, unchanged for the fourth month in a row, but fell by 0.5 per cent versus the previous month. This was Barclays reaction "overall, the news has been marginally to the downside, stemming predominantly from today's release, in which the 2.7 per cent out-turn for January CPI inflation was below our forecast of 2.9 per cent. We now forecast CPI inflation of 2.7 per cent in 2013, compared with 2.8 per cent previously, while our forecast for 2014 is 0.2pp lower at 2.4 per cent." However, the bank sees a mini-surge taking place, up to 3.3% for June, before subsiding. The FTSE closed at 6,338.
1529: Technical analysts at Charles Stanley are calling attention today to the rise seen in shares
of Morrison yesterday and the so-called bullish divergences to be seen in its relative strength indicator (RSI). Furthermore, the shares have pierced their primary down-trend line, but not on rising trading volumes. Due to the latter they prefer to wait for a close above 259p lest we simply be witnessing an instance of short-covering. The same analysts have also identified bearish divergences in the shares of ARM Holdings. FTSE 100 up 46 to 6,323.
1459: JPMorgan has initiated coverage of UK group BAE Systems and Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica with 'neutral' ratings, saying that both companies face major structural problems and are likely to underperform peers over the next 12-24 months.
1315: Shares of GKN are amongst today's worst performers on the Footsie after French peer Michelin warned investors this morning that sales and earnings will likely not grow this year due to the recession on the Continent. BAE Systems may also be getting dragged down by a European peer. Italian defence outfit Finmeccanica's stock is plummeting on reports that the country's police are looking into alleged bribes paid supposedly paid to Indian officials on a military helicopter contract. For now shares of Barclays seem to be oblivious to any of the above and are now advancing by 6.5 per cent. FTSE 100 up 28 to 6,305.
1211: Shares of Ocado are making a run at technical resistance and leading gains on the FTSE 350. Nevertheless, the company's shares are showing large overbought readings. FTSE 100 up 19 to 6,296.
1158: The euro/Sterling cross is now 0.62% higher at 0.8612 following today's in-line CPI figures. Also pushing the cross higher are the remarks from German Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann to the effect that the single currency is not 'undervalued.' As well, the G7 group of nations - of which Japan is a part - has put out a statement "reaffirming its long-standing commitment to market determined exchange rates
and to consult closely in regard to actions in foreign exchange
0958: Lloyds has taken over at the top of the leader board. Last night, S&P raised its outlook on Ireland's sovereign debt to stable from negative. FTSE up 13 to 6,290.
0943: Analysts at Nomura seem unimpressed with Barclays, writing to clients that by establishing a target for return on equity at the cost of equity implicitly caps the upside potential to 1 times price-to-book (P/B), or 438p. "Investors need to judge what they would pay for a bank that promises an implied valuation of 1 times P/B, three years out." Once discounted the above equates to 350p they go on to explain.
0930: Consumer prices rose at a 2.7 per cent rate in January, the same as last month and as expected, according to ONS.
0908: Shares of Barclays have moved into the lead on the Footsie following the result of its strategic review. Investec is out with a note reiterating their buy recommendation on the shares, while placing its target price under review. This is part of what their analysts had to say: "As such, looking through management jargon, it is surely little wonder that Bob's successor, Antony Jenkins, rightly plans to secure, and build upon the improving shareholder economics of Barcap. Shredding? Don't make me laugh! Barclaycard 1.5bn pounds (+25 per cent year-on-year) was strong.
0830: UK stocks have begun the day slightly down, tracking Wall Street lower. That follows news of a North Korean nuclear test overnight and comes despite dovish remarks from Fed Vice-Chairman Janet Yellen. ARM Holdings and Barclays are leading gains, with the latter having unveiled the results of its strategic review. Burberry is also on the rise on the back of positive results out this morning from Hermes. Consumer price data for January are published at 9:30 and economists seem to be somewhat split between those who expect upwards surprises or downward surprises. The consensus expects a 2.7 per cent year-on-year gain (Previous: 2.7 per cent). No major data releases are expected this afternoon Stateside. Nevertheless, several Fed speakers are slated to give speeches throughout the day, as is the European Central bank's Mario Draghi, who is in Madrid today. FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,265.