1630: Close The FTSE 100 closed above the key psychological barrier of 6,700, lifted by better-than-expected results from big US tech stocks Apple and Facebook which boosted sentiment on this side of the Pond. In UK macro news, it was revealed that Easter put a spring in the step of April retail sales, according to the CBI, its monthly distributive trades survey of 131 companies showed. Dragging the FTSE down from its intra-day high of around 6,724 was the latest from Eastern Europe, where Ukrainian troops moving to take back Slavyansk in the east of the country were reported to have killed between five and seven militants. The top tier index ended the day up 28.26 points at 6,703.
1615: A quarter of Barclays shareholders voted against the bank's remuneration report amid outrage over its controversial bonus policy. Barclays has issued the results of its AGM, showing 23.99% of votes were against the report, and that over 42% of votes were withheld on this issue.
1535: Perhaps worth keeping an eye on, shares
of Flybe are approaching the 38.2 per cent Fibonacci retracement, towards 160p, of their fall from their December 2010 highs.
1452: Interfax reports that the Russian Federation has begun military drills in response to the situation in southeast Ukraine.
1417: Wire reports are citing documents which suggest the EU may ban transactions with financial institutions in Russian Crimea. FTSE 100 up 34 to 6,709.
1416: Zimmer Holdings, the US maker of artificial joints agreed will purchase rival orthopedic-device maker Biomet in a cash-and-stock deal valued at 13.4bn dollars. The news has propelled stock in UK rival Smith&Nephew 4% higher to 909.5p.
1342: At this morning's heated AGM in London Barclays investor Standard Life Investments said it will vote against the 2013 remuneration report.
1332: Three-month copper futures are higher by 1.3 per cent to 6,719.75.
1331: US durable goods orders increased by 2.6 per cent over the month in March (consensus: 2 per cent).
1330: Initial weekly US jobless claims rose by 24,000 last week to hit 329,000 (consensus: 315,000).
1123: Ahead of today's AGM analysts at Investec write that: "As a generality, we regard the Barclays AGM as a circus which can be safely ignored." However, they quickly add that today's first quarter trading update was more detailed than expected and "appears to be a shade ahead of our expectations."
Thus, the lender said it is expecting adjusted profit before tax to show "a small reduction" for the first three months of the year versus the comparable period of 2013. The broker, however, had been looking for £1.6bn in profits before tax in comparison to the £1.8bn seen in the first quarter of 2013. "So we think this implies a small 'beat'", Investec says.
1100: The CBI's Distributive Trades Index improved to a reading of 30 in April from 13 in the month before.
1035: Centamin is now the second biggest gainer on the FTSE 250 on strong trading volumes and attempting to break through technical resistance at 59.1p.
1025: The Labour party is to sever its long-standing relationship with the troubled Co-op Bank by transferring its one million pounds-worth of loans to Unity Trust Bank. The political party also confirmed that it will pass its current account facilities to the rival bank. On the Footsie, AstraZeneca is charging higher after its revenues were given a boost in the first quarter by the pharmaceutical company's diabetes franchise. The FTSE 100 is up 39.94 at 6,714.68.
0920: In the first quarter Barclays' Fixed Income, Credit and Commodities (FICC) unit continued to face many of the same challenges which it saw in the second half of 2013, the lender said in a brief trading update ahead of this morning's Annual General Meeting which is set to start at 11:00.
0900: The German IFO business confidence index rose to 111.2 in April from 110.7 in the month before, comfortably ahead of the 110.4 pencilled in by some analysts. The expectations sub-index improved to 107.3 from 106.4 in March, while the current situation gauge rose to 115.3 from 115.2.
0825: UK shares have begun the day moving modestly higher, buoyed by overnight gains in US giants Apple and Facebook. Leading the charge out on the Footsie this morning is Anglo American, on the heels of its first quarter production figures. Unilever, on the other hand, is down a notch following its own latest set of numbers. Investors are keenly awaiting Barclays' AGM, which will start at 11:00. Reports on M&A activity are again doing the rounds. This time it is said that American outfit GE may be looking to purchase French rival Alstom for about 13bn dollars. One can only imagine what US outfits might be tempted to buy were the US dollar
stronger. The German IFO index is set to be released at 09:00, with ECB President Draghi scheduled to take to the podium an hour later, at 10:00. FTSE 100 up 27 to 6,702.