1630:Close Today´s session seems to have been a tale of extremes. Tullow Oil bounced back again. From a technical perspective, for now it is just that, a 'bounce' - but trading volumes did pick up. That came alongside, once again, 'market talk' regarding a possible bid from Statoil. On the other side of the ledger, so to speak, stock in Hargreaves Lansdown led fallers. At least two brokers pointed out how the shares
were trading at a price-to-earnings multiple towards 40. In more general terms, the Footsie continues to oscillate near its 200-day moving average ahead of Friday´s US non farm payrolls report. FTSE 100 up 9 to 6,458.
1615: Some well placed traders are again reporting hearing 'market talk' regarding a possible bid for Tullow Oil. The culprit? Indeed, once again Statoil is being named as the potential suitor. FTSE 100 up 8 to 6,457.
1547: Cannacord and Numis have pointed out that shares of Hargreaves Lansdown are trading at a price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple of towards 40, which the former describes as 'high'. Analysts at Cannacord have also declared themselves "skeptical" as regards management´s guidance on the impact of RDR2 rules - which would suggest "that headwinds created by the change in revenue model will be minimal even after allowing for changing consumer behaviour". Nevertheless, both delivered what appear to be largely positive verdicts on the firm´s operating performance.
1505: Citi has reportedly placed 5m shares of Aggreko.
1500: The ISM services gauge rose to a level of 54 in January, ahead of the 53.7 expected in the markets.
1440: A little bit more of colour on Glaxo´s latest results. Speaking this afternoon its Chief has stressed that it will remain the leader in the market for respiratory treatments. Investors have been wary of what some believe is an excessive reliance on sales of its treatment Advair, which where strong in the latest quarter according to Jefferies.
1411: AB Foods is extending gains for a second session after analysts at Morgan Stanley said yesterday that the market was "fundamentally mispricing" its Primark retail chain.
1331: GSK´s full year 2014 guidance for sales growth, at +2 per cent in constant currency terms, was lower than that which the market had been expecting, of approximately 6 per cent. Likewise, the company´s expectations for Core CER EPS of between 4-8 per cent was weaker than expected (consensus: 11 per cent), Jefferies pointed out. The size of next year´s stock repurchase programme was in line with the broker´s forecasts.
1315: US private sector payrolls grew by 175,000 in January (consensus: 190,000).
1308: Athens´ stock benchmark has popped higher on reports that the European Union might loosen the terms of its loans to that troubled economy.
1200: Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline has reported core earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 30.1p (consensus: 30.8p). Sales clocked in at 6.91bn pounds (consensus: 6.84bn).
1145: Shares of emerging markets (EM)-focused fund manager Ashmore have gotten trounced this year, with its stock down by almost 20 per cent due to souring sentiment and flows towards EMs, especially debt. However, the company has a bias towards institutional investors, hence it is expected to display a better retention of assets under management than the scenarios implied by observed flows in the market, broker Canaccord Genuity believes. Hence its analysts´ decision this morning to upgrade the stock to 'buy' versus 'hold'.
1140: Shares of Unilever are slipping lower after going ex-dividend.
1050: Analysts at Numis have today upped their view on shares of ARM Holdings to 'hold' from 'reduce'.
1049: Credit Suisse has added Thomas Cook Group to its 'Focus' list and revised its target on the shares higher, to 253p from 195p beforehand.
1033: Commenting on the figures Dr.Howard Archer, Chief Economist at IHS Global Insight, said the numbers reinforce his view that economic growth will slow towards the 0.6 per cent to 0.7 per cent range through 2014 compared to the 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter pace seen in the second and third quarters of 2013. That will result in an overall rate of expansion in Gross Domestic Product of 2.7 per cent this year.
0928: The UK service sector PMI slipped to 58.3 from a reading of 58.8 in the month before (consensus: 59). New orders gauge fell to an eight-month low, Markit says.
0858: Eurozone services sector PMI has come in at 51.6, versus 51.9 for the month before (consensus: 51.9), after German figures missed estimates.
0848: UBS analysts are out today with what seems like a relatively positive view on BG Group, if it can execute its game plan. However, they remind clients that: "By the same token, risks still exist around delivery and the performance of the base (especially Egypt) which has been the investment case's primary Achilles heel." Analysts at RBC, on the other hand, are somewhat skeptical, having cut their estimate of 'fair value' for the shares to 1,210p from 1,400p. Hence they see any buying oportunity in the wake of [last week´s] profit warning as "limited". "Any material upside will await firmer indications that high growth on offer is this time for real," they say.
0847: The latest service sector PMIs for Spain, Italy and France are coming in and they are all ahead of forecasts to different degrees.
0825: Stocks started the session slightly weaker but have since recovered in what is expected to be a realtively heavy day in terms of economic data and on the heels of an overnight bounce Stateside and in Asia. RSA is at the top of the leaderboard after naming its new Chief Executive. Raymond James has upped its view on the insurer. Out on the FTSE 250, JD Wetherspoon is benefitting from a recommendations upgrade out of Barclays, but it is Hiscox which is in the lead early on, following an upgrade out of Nomura.
UK shop prices fell at a 1 per cent clip in January according to BRC. Service sector Purchasing Managers Indices (PMIs) are due out this morning in the UK, Eurozone and later on in the day in the US. Nevertheless, the focus of the session - barring surprises - will probably be on the release of the latest ADP employment report in America. The question on everyone´s mind is whether or not the data will reveal a steep impact from the recent snowstorms. If it does, then expectations for Friday´s monthly non-farm payrolls figures could conceivably take a bit of a hit. FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,471.