1630: Close The FTSE closed modestly higher on Friday, down 112 points on the week overall, largely due to ongoing concerns over the US. The gains were led by Standard Life, with other financials also generally performing well. The big news today was of course a surprise profit warning from Carpetright, which also revealed its CEO is set to exit the company. The group warned falling sales meant full-year profits would be "significantly" below its previous expectations. In terms of marco news it was largely quiet, given the shutdown in the US and little on the agenda back this side of the Atlantic. The FTSE closed up 4.84 points at 6,453.88.
1600: US stocks are performing reasonably well, although the week as a whole looks likely to show a firm decline.
1500: Royal Mail is tipped to float at the upper end of the original price range amid strong demand for its shares. The initial public offering of Britain's state-owned postal service is now expected to be priced at between 300p and 330p a share compared with the original range of 260p to 330p. This would give it a market value of up to £3.3bn.
1400: On the FTSE 100, Standard Life has been given a boost by JP Morgan, which reiterated its 'overweight' rating on the stock, and commented that growth continued to be strong. Emerging market-focused Standard Chartered, however, is in the red after receiving a ratings downgrade from Numis last night.
1230: After a slow start, the FTSE 100 has erased losses, although markets remain subdued as stocks struggle for direction in the absence of economic news and ongoing political uncertainty in the States. "With all European indices slightly higher in early trade, the underlying sentiment seems to be marginally hopeful of a resolution from the US government. The FTSE is clinging to its 200-day moving average, underperforming its counterparts," said Brenda Kelly, Senior Market Strategist at IG.
1130: A share purchase by Nicholas Brigstocke, the Non-Executive Chairman of 3D solutions company DDD, prompted shares
to jump by around a fifth. Brigstocke acquired 200,000 shares of the company at an average purchase price of 5.69p in transactions occurring between October 1st and 3rd, the group said.
1053: The FTSE 100 has now erased all of its earlier losses and is trading 8.59 points higher at 6,457.63 as investors continue to digest developments over in the States with the US entering its fourth day of a government shutdown. Concerns eased slightly overnight after House Speaker John Boehner said that he would not allow a default and would consider using a combination of Republican and Democratic votes to lift the debt ceiling if needed. According to an article in The New York Times, Boehner is willing to violate the so-called Hastert Rule which refers to 'not bringing to the floor any measures that does not have a majority of Republican votes'.
0955: GlaxoSmithKline is among the fallers in London this morning after US pharmaceuticals peer Eli Lilly warned about headwinds to 2014 revenue. Lilly said on Thursday it may not be able to meet its previous guidance of generating at least $20bn in revenues next year due to 'challenging' market conditions and foreign-exchange effects in Japan and the emerging markets. Panmure Gordon said Glaxo is the most exposed to Japan (among the companies its covers) which accounts for some 8.4 per cent of its revenues (as of last year).
0840: The UK equity market has gotten off to a slightly soft start on Friday, although trading conditions are somewhat firmer over on the Continent, following a weak close on Wall Street. The market's focus at the moment seems to be on the upcoming Royal Mail IPO, which speak volumes about the better tone to be seen in capital markets of late. Bloomberg has reported that it may finally price at as high as between 300p and 330p a share. Twitter's IPO is also on the front-page of the main financial media outlets today. Credit default swaps (CDSs) on US Treasuries moved up by 44 basis points, versus the 65 seen in 2011, when Capitol Hill last faced gridlock. However, and as James Mackintosh wrote in the Financial Times on Friday morning, traders are likely just using CDSs as a cheap way to bet on market nerves, as in a real full-blown default CDS sellers might not even survive. In any case, US House speaker John Boehner seems to now be taking a more flexible position, according to various press reports. For her part, Gillian Tett, also from the FT, today highlights a recent Bank of England study who's unnerving results implied [that some] financial institutions were dangerously complacent. FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,438.