1630: UK stocks ended the day just slightly off ahead of tomorrow´s non-farm payrolls Stateside and following steady-as-you-go policy decisions by the Bank and the ECB. The Chancellor´s Autumn statement was described in much the same manner by observers. In parallel, the OBR raised its projections for economic growth, for both this year and next, sharply higher. The British economy is now expected to expand at a 2.4 per cent pace next year, up from the 1.8 per cent foreseen as recently as March. Shares in Meggitt and Shire led gains on the Footsie, while Tesco was a drag following a downgrade out of Panmure Gordon. FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,498.
1625: "Sterling has been the best performing major currency in recent months, rising from 1.50 US dollars in the summer to 1.63 US dollars now. Nonetheless, we expect it to come under pressure again before too long and ultimately to reverse its recent gains," Capital Economics writes.
1600: Barclays Research has lowered its estimate for fourth quarter gross domestic product in the United States to an annualised rate of 1.5 per cent from 2.0 per cent before today´s data due to inventory accumulation. Still expects an expansion of 2.4 per cent in 2014.
1510: Stock of Phoenix Group are down by 4 per cent after TDR Capital
sold 22m shares
1434: Episode of market stress in May as a result of shift in expectations for Fed tapering had only limited effects on Eurozone capital markets, but impact was quite significant in the case of emerging markets, Draghi says.
1427: As if investors did not already have enough on their plate, a Labour Department spokesman said the claims data are difficult to adjust for seasonal variations around holidays, so it's not unusual to see increased volatility at this time of year, Bloomberg reports.
1345: Draghi sees medium-term inflation risks as balanced.
1330: Initial weekly unemployment claims fell by 23,000 to 298,000 (consensus: 320,000). The previous week´s estimate was revised higher, to show 321,000 unemployment claims, versus the preliminary print of 316,000. It remains to be seen if the figures were impacted by the Thanksgiving Day holiday. GDP grew by 3.6 per cent in quarter three, ahead of the 3.1 which had been forecast. FTSE 100 flat at 6,510.
1327: The President of the Federal Reserve bank of Atlanta, Dennis Lockhart, has expressed his confidence in the sustainability of the recovery. Thus, he believes examining the possibility of starting tapering in December is justified.
1245: The European Central Bank (ECB) has just announced its decision to maintain its key policy rate unchanged at 0.25 per cent. That was as expected.
1239: The BoE is trying to convince the European Banking Authority (EBA) that its own planned tests on UK banks are "sufficiently rigorous" to avoid having to carry out separate checks using the EBA´s methodology, the BoE's Jo Paisley, director of risk analysis at the Prudential Regulation Authority, said at a banking regulation conference in London, Bloomberg reports.
1200: The Bank of England today announced that it had maintained the Bank Rate of 0.5 per cent and its asset purchase programme at 375bn pounds.
1146: Some observers suspect Osborne could still announce some stimulus measures ahead of the next elections.
1145: Osborne has announced his intention to abolish stamp duty for shares purchased in exchange traded funds to encourage those funds to locate in the UK.
1129: In his Autumn statement OBR has raised its forecasts for GDP growth in 2013 to 1.4 per cent (from the 0.6 per cent expected in March), Osborne says. The pace of economic expansion is expected to expand by 2.4 per cent, instead of 1.8 per cent as was previously foreseen. Unemployment expected to hit 7 per cent in 2015.
1100: The FTSE 100 is continuing to trade within a narrow range this morning, as investors await central bank decisions in the UK and Europe, as well as a host of data out Stateside. Miners are putting in a decent performance today despite a slump in metal prices. After a 1.7 per cent surge on Wednesday, gold prices
are down 1.3 per cent today ahead of US jobs data tomorrow which could provide the Fed more of a reason to reduce its asset purchases later this month. Nevertheless, precious metal miners Fresnillo, Randgold and Centamin are up this morning with the latter gaining over 12 per cent. Even Polymetal is higher despite saying that it would not pay a special dividend this year. The FTSE 100 is down 3.33 at 6,506.64.
1045: Shares of Centamin are bouncing back after becoming deeply oversold and are now coming up against technical resistance in the form of its 200-day moving average.
1044: Strengthening capital, sound liquidity and stable funding underpin the stable sector outlook for UK banks, although they are likely to boost capital further in 2014 to satisfy higher regulatory and market expectations, ratings agency Fitch says. Overall profitability is likely to stay low, albeit varying by bank, with the risk of further conduct costs, it added.
0945: AZ Electronics is rocketing after Merck KGaA agreed to pay 2.5bn dollars for the outfit in a bid to expand its footprint in materials and specialty chemicals.
0841: The MPC will announce its latest policy decisions at noon, the consensus is for unchanged policy, with the Bank Rate held at 0.5 per cent and the stock of asset purchases fixed at 375bn pounds. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will present the Autumn Statement at 11:15. FTSE 100 down 3 to 6,507.
0840: The Footsie has started the day moving down by a tad. On the downside, shares of Tesco are under pressure after Panmure Gordon downgraded the company to 'hold'. Some miners are now at the top of the leaderboard, alongside Shire. Vedanta has been upgraded to 'sector perform' at RBC. Traders are watching to see how the top flight index behaves as it nears its 200-day [exponential] moving average - a closely watched threshold for technical analysts. From a more fundamental point of view, it may be worth noting some equity strategists´ not-so-ambitious targets for the FTSE 100 when looking out towards the end of 2014, that is likely also a factor behind the downward pressure on stocks, regardless of what the US Federal Reserve finally does or does not, analysts at Sharecast muse.