1630: Close Ongoing concerns about Ukraine and China ensured a poor finish to the week for UK stocks. Russia's foreign ministry has warned it could intervene in Ukraine to protect lives after at least one person died in clashes. Meanwhile, US consumer confidence slipped to 79.9 in March, from 81.6 in the month before. Back in the UK, construction output grew by 1.8 per cent month-on-month to reach 170m pounds in January and 5.4 per cent over the year, while the monthly trade deficit widened by more than economists expected, casting further doubt over UK government efforts to re-balance the country's economy. The FTSE 100 ended the final session of the week 25.89 below the opening bell, and down 184.78 points on the week, at 6,527.89.
1541: Shares of Boohoo.com are changing hands at 73.5p on the day of their stock market debut, well above their initial offer price of 50p, valuing the online fashion retailer at 807m pounds. FTSE 100 down 20 to 6,534.
1355: The University of Michigan's preliminary reading on consumer confidence slipped to 79.9 in March, from 81.6 in the month before (consensus: 82). The expectations sub-index fell to 69.4 from 72.7 (consensus: 73).
1254: Yields on 10-year Gilts are now off by four basis points to the 2.75 per cent mark while the Footsie is bumping down against its 200-day moving average.
1226: UK markets have extended losses ahead of what is expected to be a weak start on Wall Street. Stock futures Stateside are pointing to falls of around 0.2 per cent for US indices, following on from the worst declines in five weeks registered on Thursday. With very little major economic data due out later on - the exception being the University of Michigan consumer confidence index - developments in Ukraine and ongoing concerns about a slowdown in China are likely to dominate the direction of stocks. The FTSE 100 is trading 44.23 points lower at 6,509.55.
1030: Digital sports media firm Perform Group is one of the heaviest fallers on the FTSE 350 after Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from 'outperform' to 'neutral'. The bank said that while the company last week gave a strong set of 2013 numbers and encouraging guidance for 2014, the stock is 'fairly valued' after a 50 per cent rally since its pre-close update in December. The shares
are down 4.6 per cent at 255.4p.
0936: Barclays is trading marginally in positive territory amid reports in the FT that it is set to cut thousands of investment-banking jobs and move capital into its Barclaycard and UK mortgage lending divisions. The FTSE 100 is down 15.07 at 6,538.71.
0926: Despite the falls on the wider FTSE 100 benchmark, HSBC (up 0.9 per cent) is among the top performers. HSBC is benefitting from comments from Berenberg analysts who labelled the stock a 'buy' with a 790p target price. 'We believe HSBC has transformed itself into a bank that is comparable to the one that outperformed its peers and the market between 1992 and 2003. This appears to have been ignored by the market, with HSBC trading at a 15-year relative low to the UK market and at a 10 per cent valuation discount to the European banks, a 13-year low.' The FTSE 100 is down 17.86 at 6,535.92.
0845: Stocks have begun the session moving higher, led by a bounce in Sainsbury and an upgrade on IMI out of analysts at HSBC, to 'buy' from 'hold'. Miners are moving lower on follow-through after a 1 per cent drop yesterday in the price of copper. AstraZeneca was taken down a peg by JP Morgan Cazenove, to 'underweight' from 'neutral'. Out in the currency arena, Draghi slapped the euro lower yesterday evening, saying that the level of the single currency "is increasingly relevant in our assessment of price stability." The Nikkei-225 was down by over 3 per cent in late Tokyo trading, tracking a lower close on Wall Street and pressured by a retreat in dollar/yen. Traders may also be looking to cover some of their positions ahead of the Crimea referendum this next Sunday. FTSE 100 down 30 to 6,524.