1630: Close It was announced today that UK Construction sector output contracted at a 0.9 per cent month-on-month pace in August, following a 2.1 per cent rise in the month before. Meanwhile, mortgage applications for house purchases rose by 12 per cent in August, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Banks were strong performers on what was otherwise a somewhat weak day, boosted by rumours that the implementation of the strict new Basel III capital rules may be delayed. Adding to this, both banks and insurers have been buoyed by Deutsche Bank upgrading the sectors to "overweight". Vodafone dropped on news that it lost 700.000 Indian subscribers during the month of September. US stocks have got off to a solid start, boosted by an unexpected rise in consumer confidence. The FTSE 100 closed down 36 points to 5,793.
1455: The University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer confidence for the month of October has come in at 83.1 (Consensus: 78). The expectations component climbed to 79,5 from 73.5 in the month before. Inflation expectations both one and five years out fell.
1440: Stocks have moved towards their lows of the day ahead of the preliminary University of Michigan consumer confidence survey data for October, due out at 14:55 Stateside. Leading on the downside are shares
of Kazakhmys, which analysts at Credit Suisse have today labelled as one of their least preferred stocks. Barclays has also lowered Kazhakmys to equalweight from overweight. Morgan Crucible, which makes carbon materials for medical and transportation equipment, continues to be the worst performer and to weigh on sector peer Spectris. Furthermore, there is market chatter -citing analysts- to the effect that Bodycote and IMI could be amongst some of the next companies to warn on their results. The latter has also gone ex-dividend today. FTSE 100 down 20 to 5,810.
1221: Analysts at Credit Suisse have slapped a "trading sell" recommendation on shares of Antofagasta this morning. This is what they are saying: "Trading Sell: We see three short-term drivers of underperformance: 1) consensus production estimates look too high by up to 10 per cent 2013-16; 2) shares have outperformed peers and the copper price and valuation is at the top end of its 10 year range; 3) copper price may underperform other commodities in the near term (resilient performance YTD, improving mine supply in H212). Nevertheless, the broker has in fact raised its price target to 1,250p from 1,150p before. 2013 earnings per share estimates for most "majors" in the metals and mining space were cut by the broker, drastically so in several instances.
1206: Hold on to RBS? That is what technical analysts at Charles Stanley were telling their clients this morning. In their own words: "This move higher for RBS is technically significant since it has spent most of the last few sessions hovering near its recent lows and the impression now is that it is more likely to move back towards the highs than break lower (and one suspects that the situation might have been quite different had Direct Line close in the 160s). Last month's closing high, at 279p, is the next area of possible resistance and, for that reason, the shares look to be worth holding on to in the near term." FTSE 100 down 8 to 5,821.
1204: JP Morgan has released third quarter earnings per share of 1.40 dollars. Its shares are now being called to rise by 1%.
1131: The economy probably bounced back to growth of 0.6 per cent last quarter, supported by better weather, extra working days and the London Olympic Games, a poll of more than 70 economists taken in the past week by Reuters predicted. Yet it will only expand between 0.2 and 0.4 per cent in the following four quarters, according to forecasts unchanged from a poll taken last month. Despite the above another poll carried out by Reuters puts the chances that the Bank of England (BoE) will add to the 375bn pounds it has already spent through its quantitative easing asset-purchase programme at 70 per cent, up from 60 per cent in a September 27th poll. FTSE 100 down 10 to 5,820.
0945: HSBC has lowered its view on Antofagasta to underperform from neutral. Evraz is also moving lower on the back of a downgrade out from analysts at Credit Suisse, also to underperform from neutral.
0930: UK Construction sector output contracted at a 0.9 per cent month-on-month pace in August, following a 2.1 per cent rise in the month before. Mortgage applications for house purchase rose by 12% in August, according to the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML). Deutsche Bank has today raised its view on European lenders and insurance companies to overweight.
0858: After an impressive stock market début on Thursday which saw the shares climb from the flotation price of 175p to 188p in conditional trading, insurance group Direct Line is off the pace today. Unconditional dealing is expected to start on October 16th. FTSE 100 is down 5 at 5,824.
0815: Footsie has started the day in the red, taking its cue from Wall Street, which experienced a late swoon yesterday. Banks are defying the trend with RBS, Lloyds, Barclays and Standard Chartered occupying the top four spaces among FTSE 100 constituents. Financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown is wanted after making a 'pleasing start' to its new financial year, but building materials firm Morgan Crucible is battered after issuing a profit warning. Acting as a backdrop, Chinese banks extended 623.2bn yuan (99.5bn dollars) of local- currency loans during the month of September, well below what was expected, 700bn Yuan. FTSE 100 is down 19 at 5,811.