1630: Close The FTSE ended the final session of the week on a high, although up by just nine points. Today's gains were driven by Tullow Oil, amid bid speculation, and retailers, which rose on the back of strong results from High Street bellwether John Lewis and data showing a surge in online retail sales during December. Meanwhile, ONS reported a slowdown in UK construction output in November, while industrial production was flat. Also making headlines today was the news that Britain's economy expanded at an 0.7 per cent pace in the three months ending in December after growth of 0.8 per cent in the previous three months. The FTSE 100 closed up 48.60 points at 6,739.94.
1606: Betting firm William Hill is climbing after Credit Suisse reiterated its outperform rating on the stock. HSBC today lowered its view on shares
of IAG albeit while at the same time revising their price target up to 450p from 430p beforehand.
1602: Commenting on recent events at StanChart analysts at Numis indicate to clients that: "[...] Whilst the restructuring has been positioned as the implementation of the revised strategy, the timing of this announcement does seem odd. Management stated on the call that it does not need to raise capital, however we forecast some capital erosion post the dividend pay-out and believe Standard Chartered should raise equity."
1528: The Baltic Dry Index is falling by 6.57 per cent to the 1,706 point level, according to Bloomberg data.
1421: It's damage control time. The President of the Richmond Fed has hit the wires saying that the US labour market has shown substantial improvement. Ergo, he continues to expect further reductions in quantitative easing. Interestingly, however, he thinks economic growth will subside to close to 2 per cent, less than some of his peers are now expecting.
1412: "[The] 41,000 negative swing in education / health [looks] like a bad piece of seasonal adjustment rather than a genuine outcome," Bill Hubard, Chief Economist at Markets.com is explaining to clients. FTSE 100 up 60 to 6,752.
1404: Commenting on the US data just out economists at Capital Economics said they suspect much of the above miss in the non-farm payrolls numbers may have been weather induced. "From the household survey we know that 273,000 people reported not being able to work because of the weather in December, well above the 166,000 long-term average for the final month of each year. That doesn't mean we can mechanically translate that into a 110,000 hit to payrolls [...] Nevertheless, it is normally a pretty good indication," they said.
1330: US non-farm payrolls increased by 74,000 in December. The consensus estimate had been for a print of 193,000. The unemployment rate meanwhile slipped to 6.7 per cent from the 7.0 per cent seen last month (consensus: 7.0 per cent).
1324: Shares of Alcoa are dropping sharply in pre-market trading Stateside and are now off by no less than 6 per cent. In parallel retailer Target has just lowered its financial guidance. FTSE 100 up 77 to 6,786.
1228: New 52-week and record highs in equipment rental firm Ashtead at 811p.
1205: "A healthier US Employment Report is also likely to dampen cable's pullback towards 1.65 and also favor a new retreat to just below 1.64. In contrast, EUR-GBP is likely to struggle further at around 0.8250," technical analysts at Commerzbank warned early on Friday.
1141: Mining giant Glencore Xstrata is getting a lift from comments out from Barclays. Despite the bank keeping its negative stance on the wider sector after predicting another difficult year in 2014, it upgraded its rating for Glencore Xstrata to 'overweight', saying that it was among its top picks in the industry.
1131: Shares of Carnival are grinding higher and nearing technical resistance towards 2,539p, although the shares are now at overbought levels.
1048: "The [industrial production and construction] data reinforce our view that the Bank of England will sit tight on interest rates through 2014 - even if the unemployment rate gets down to 7.0 per cent in the first half of the year - and is unlikely to start raising interest rates before the second quarter of 2015," Dr. Howard Archer from IHS Global Insight says.
0930: UK industrial production was flat in November, according to the Office for National Statistics. The consensus estimate was for a rise of 0.3 per cent month-on-month. Construction output contracted at a 4.0 per cent month-on-month clip in November (consensus: 0.8 per cent).
0915: Shares of IMI are sprinting higher on the back of an upgrade out of Bank of America to 'buy' versus 'neutral'. Capita has likewise been upgraded by analysts at UBS to 'buy' from 'neutral.'
0858: Shares of ARM Holdings are holding lower after having been removed from Goldman Sach's 'Conviction Buy' list. Tullow Oil, on the other hand, is seeing some follow-through buying. Some market commentary is attributing those gains to bid hopes for the company, although it must best be taken into account that the stock is now near five-year lows.
0830: Stocks have bolted out of the gate this morning despite the mixed close to trading seen overnight on Wall Street. That comes ahead of this afternoon's US non-farm payrolls report and UK industrial production figures due out at 09:30. Morrison and Tullow Oil are in the lead early on. BP has been downgraded to 'neutral' versus 'outperform' over at Exane. FTSE 100 up 33 to 6,724.