1630: Close The City ended today's session on a positive note, buoyed by speeches from both Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi, in addition to a well-received strategy update from Barclays. The ECB left the door open to possible policy action come the June. Barclays led London's blue chips higher after it pleased the City with plans to slash 14,000 jobs in 2014 across the group as it aimed to become a 'leaner, stronger' bank. Meanwhile, RICS reported the seasonally adjusted house price balance at 54, down from the 57 seen in March and below expectations of 55. Over in the US, weekly unemployment claims drop by 26,000 to 319,000. The FTSE 100 closed up 42.81 points to 6,839.25.
1514: Moscow has reportedly refrained from commenting on the decision by separatists in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk to proceed with a vote on independence.
1425: Cable is now flat at 1.6952, having reached an intraday high at 1.6977.
1408: Draghi commenting on structural reforms, cites Spain, Greece, Ireland Portugal, omits reference to Italy.
1357: Liquidity returning to EONIA market ECB President adds, banks trading it again.
1353: Governing Council is comfortable with acting next month, Draghi says. It will then have at its disposal the latest ECB staff projections. The euro/dollar earlier hit an intraday high at 1.3994.
1330: ECB´s Draghi says he sees risk of medium-term expectations for prices becoming unanchored.
1245: The European Central Bank has kept its main policy rate at 0.25 per cent. In an immediate reaction the single currency moved 23 pips higher to 1.3953.
1200: At today´s meeting the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to maintain Bank Rate at 0.5 per cent and the stock of purchased assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves unchanged at 375bn pounds.
1155: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been cited as saying that there is 'growing momentum amongst a series of separatist groups who neither listen to Moscow, nor to Kiev'. He said that growing instability in Ukraine 'isn't in Russia's interest in the long term'.
1154: Concrete steps where outlined to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine at the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the OSCE´s Chairman, primarily through increased dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and those representing the separatists in the countrys southeast.
1055: The Donetsk region will not postpone the referendum it had planned for May 11th, Interfax reports, citing the regional government´s Co-Chairman.
0931: Asia markets have performed well overnight after China posted a wider-than-estimated trade surplus for April as exports and imports unexpectedly rose. Exports and imports grew at annual rates of 0.9 per cent and 0.8 per cent last month, respectively, rebounding strongly after sharp falls in March. This saw the trade balance increase to 18.46bn dollars, up from a revised 7.7bn dollars in March and ahead of the consensus estimate of 16.7bn dollars. The FTSE 100 is up 30.48 at 6,826.92.
0846: London equities have begun the day moving higher following the announcement of increased job cust at Barclays and better than expected full-year figures out of BT Group. Data out overnight showed a surprise 0.9 per cent year-on-year rise in Chinese exports for the month of April, well ahead of the 3 per cent monthly drop which analysts had penciled in. Traders are expectant ahead of this afternoon´s meeting of the ECB and MPC. In fact, HSBC said it was on alert for the Bank of England to intervene in the housing sector amid growing concern that a collapse in the booming London market could threaten Britain's economic recovery, The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday morning. FTSE 100 up 31 to 6,827.