1630: Close UK stocks ended today's session with a decent finish as improvements amongst stocks were seen across the globe. The day's big news included a slump in shop prices and reports UK trade is still struggling to rebalance. Company wise, Barratt Developments rose strongly after Deutsche Bank named the house builder as a top pick. ARM was also a notable riser, with investors feeling a renewed sense of confidence after the tech-heavy Nasdaq snapped its recent slump. Mining stocks, particularly Randgold Resources, Antofagasta and Fresnillo, were in the red as the price of metals declined. Attention is now turning to the US Fed, which will this evening release minutes of its meeting in March when it announced another round of stimulus tapering. The FTSE 100 finished up 44.92 points at 6,635.61.
1615: The FTSE looks to end the day around 40 points above the opening bell, led by housing stock Barratt Developments and ARM Holdings which have helped offset declines amongst mining stocks, were in the red as the price of metals declined. M&S is slightly higher ahead of tomorrow's annual results.
1521: Tullow Oil was higher as hopes for the Jubilee field, in which Tullow holds a 35.5 per cent stake, were lifted after operator Ghana National Petroleum Corporation said the field could produce between 105,000 and 110,000 this year, ahead of previous expectations of 100,000.
1358: "We think intensifying competition in last-mile delivery could cap Royal Mail's margins at the lower end of its targeted range (5-10%)," analysts at Credit Suisse said today, adding that the above is not reflected in consensus numbers. In particular, the Swiss broker references the earnings risk arising from the ramp-up of Post NL in last-mile delivery in the UK.
1330: Three-month copper futures are edging lower by 0.4 per cent to the 6,625.75 point level on the LME.
1259: Anthony Thomson, the founder and former Chairman of Metro Bank, has unveiled plans to launch Atom, the first 'truly digital' retail and business bank. The new online bank, which is due to open in 2015, will offer both consumer and business banking.
1256: UBS has slashed its recommendation on Antofagasta to 'sell' from 'neutral' because no special dividend is now expected for at least two years and the miner's cash flow generation is expected to turn negative in 2014. Hence, the stock can no longer command a 'premium' recommendation. FTSE 100 up 51 to 6,642.
1255: Kingfisher was one of this morning's best performers. UBS lifted its target price on the shares
to 475p from 440p on expectations that the company will manage to successfully complete and executive purchase of Mr Bricloage, France's number three DIY retailer in France.
1048: Direct Line and Admiral are being weighed on by data from Towers Watson which revealed a 7.5 per cent fall in motor insurance prices during the first quarter of 2014. FTSE 100 up 46 to 6,637.
0930: The UK's visible trade deficit narrowed slightly during the month of February, to reach 9.1bn pounds, after a reading of 9.5bn pounds in the month before (consensus: 9.2bn pounds).
0805: UK stocks have started the day modestly in the blue despite the sharp falls seen overnight on Wall Street and in Tokyo. The Shanghai Stock Exchange's main index, on the other hand, is moving higher. Significantly, analysts at Bernstein have downgraded their view on shares of BT Group to 'market-perform'. Kingfisher has been upped over at UBS to 'buy' from 'hold'. Early movers out on the FTSE 250 include gold miner Centamin after its posted a 14 per cent drop in output and Bwin Party after unveiling what traders are calling 'light' revenue figures. FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,613.