1630: Close The FTSE 100 ended the final session of the week in positive territory, in stark contrast to the previous day's trading as the index clawed back losses. This was largely thanks to better-than-expected trade data from China, which saw both imports and exports jump year-on-year in January. Back in the UK, construction output grew by 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2012, according to the latest data from the ONS, well above the 0.3 per cent preliminary estimate included in the latest GDP figures. In company news, Aggreko was higher after HSBC upgraded the stock to 'neutral', while Imperial Tobacco was one of the biggest fallers after Investec downgraded the stock from 'buy' to 'hold'. The FTSE closed up 36 points at 6,264.
1458: Global engineering giant GKN (up 3.54 per cent) is among the top performers on the FTSE 100 after the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that passenger-vehicle sales in the country jumped a better-than-expected 49 per cent year-on-year to 1.73m units last month.
1445: What's the technical outlook for the FTSE-100? This is what analysts at Charles Stanley were telling clients this morning "[the benchmark] heads into this morning's session with a loss of 1.87 per cent and although it looks like it will recover a portion of that lost ground today the likelihood is that it will still post its most significant weekly loss since mid-November. The price action of the last few sessions strongly suggests that a short-term top has taken shape and that further weakness remains a realistic expectation - a 38.2 per cent retracement of the rally since November implies an initial downside target of around 6070."
1330: The US trade deficit has registered an enormous and unexpected drop, courtesy of a surge in oil exports, which will lead to a large upwards revision to the preliminary estimate for fourth quarter GDP. FTSE 100 up 24 to 6,253.
1211: Shares of Bwin.party and 888 Holdings are surging after the Governor of the US state of New Jersey said he is willing to allow on-line gambling if it is conditional on a 10-year trial period and a higher tax rate on casinos is imposed. Both companies have B2B partnerships with casino operators in that mid-Arlantic state. Analysts at Cannacord also see Playtech as a potential beneficiary. FTSE 100 up 34 to 6,262.
1122: According to a draft document the European Union will push for a free trade pact with the United States. This has been decades in the making.
0930: UK construction output grew by 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2012, versus the preliminary estimate of 0.3 per cent which was employed by ONS in its calculations for growth in gross domestic product during those three months. Nevertheless, on its own the data will not result in upwards revisions to the GDP estimate, although in combination with other data that remains to be seen.
0854: Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has upped its view on shares
of Vodafone to buy from neutral. Aggreko has been raised to neutral from underweight. There is apparently also some 'market chatter' regarding how the latter could be a bid target for ABB, according to Killik Capital.
0908: In a research note released this morning Credit Suisse has flagged the possibility that next Tuesday Antofagasta could announce an increase in its full year pay-out above the normal 35 per cent level. The other companies with the greatest potential for an increased dividend are Rio Tinto and London Mining it says.
0835: Stocks have started the day with a bounce, led higher by shares of Antofagasta, Weir and Aggreko. Experian is also benefiting from an upgrade out of analyst at UBS to buy, from hold. The Swiss broker has also raised its price target for shares of Weir to 2,300p from 2,000p before. Investec, on the other hand, has lowered its view on shares of Imperial Tobacco to hold from buy, while cutting its target to 2,480p for 2,580p before. Acting as a backdrop, sentiment is being helped by the stronger than expected Chinese trade figures out overnight. UK construction data is due for release at 09:30. FTSE 100 up 31 to 6,259.