1630:Close The FTSE closed modestly higher today - after spending much of it in the red - tracking gains seen in the US which came on the back of a fall in jobless claims and second quarter growth of 2.5 per cent. Back in the UK, GDP rose 0.7 per cent in the second quarter, as had been widely expected. On the FTSE once again energy stocks suffered in the wake of Ed Miliband's pledge to freeze bills if Labour is voted back into power, while the upside was led by TUI Travel after a strong high season this summer and heartening early bookings for winter holidays led the tour operator to hike its profit guidance for the full year. The FTSE closed up 14.06 points at 6,565.59.
1514: Standard and Poor´s Capital IQ has just issued a release stating that it maintains its "strong buy" recommendation, forecasts and DCF (discounted cash-flow)-derived 12-month target price of 538p on Centrica. From a technical point of view the shares
are now at their 200 day moving average, which sometimes defines a stock´s medium-term trend. It will be interesting to see if they can hold that support. Selling has been intense in the last three sessions, with two consecutive downwards gaps having been left behind. FTSE 100 up 20 to 6,571.
1412: MNI is reporting on how the Labour Department noted no special factors this week and said that the states experiencing the technical issues were now "caught up" with initial claims. California nevertheless is still "working through" some issues related to continuing claims - which refer to the previous week, Barclays Research explains. FTSE 100 flat at 6,551.
1403: The President of the Federal Reserve bank of Richmond, Jeffrey Lacker, has reportedly said that it will be harder for the US central bank to communicate credibly in the future. Coincidence or not - and probably not so - some market commentary has of late been suggesting that such highly precise forward guidance, as is now offered by the Fed, means that the room for error may now ironically be somewhat larger, or at least in the current circumstances.
1330: Initial US weekly unemployment claims fell unexpectedly in the seven days ending on September 14th, by 5,000 to reach 310,000 (Consensus: 325,000). Second quarter gross domestic product growth estimates have revealed that the economy expanded at a 2.5 per cent pace during said period, just a smidgen below the 2.6 per cent clip which had been penciled in by economists.
1255: Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank has been fined by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for attempting to fix a miscalculation. The FCA issued a fine of 8.9m pounds after it found a number of the bank's mortgage customers were required to increase their monthly repayments in order to make up the shortfall resulting from miscalculations, which occurred over a period of four years. FTSE down three points at 6,548.
1200: Markets are still trading in negative territory, as investors gave a subdued reaction to in-line growth figures from the UK and awaited more GDP data from the US - the consensus forecast is looking for an upwards revision to annualised growth of 2.6% from the previous estimate of 2.5%. In Europe, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, said in a Bloomberg interview that the country may deepen its labor reform after taking advice from the OECD. In other news, it has been revealed that more than half of UK company shares are owned by foreign investors.
1050: "The news that the current account deficit reached a massive 5.5 per cent of GDP at the start of the year will reinforce concerns about the shape of the recovery," Capital Economics is telling clients.
1030: It is being reported that Barclays will discontinue its wealth management services in 130 counties by 2016 and axe jobs. The move is a part of the bank's strategy to slash costs and bolster profits. Meanwhile, energy companies such as Centrica and SSE have continued to suffer in the wake of Ed Miliband's bill freeze pledge made earlier this week, while at the other end of the FTSE TUI Travel is flying high after announcing a hike in its FY profit guidance. Elsewhere, MPs have issued a damning report attacking the way in which rural broadband has so far been rolled out across the UK. The report accuses the government of failing to ensure sufficient competition by awarding BT all of the 26 contracts issued to date. The FTSE is down seven points at 6,544.
0931: Ladbrokes is down over nine per cent after warning that 2013 profits for its digital operations will come in a long way below current market forecasts. The bookmaker said that it was yet to see 'discernible improvements' in its digital business as it works through a process of integration. As a result it said it expected 2013 operating profits to be between 10-14m pounds compared with a market consensus of about 27.5m pounds. Numis Securities was also weighing heavily on the stock this morning after downgrading its rating to 'add'. High Street bookie William Hill is also in the red this morning. The FTSE 100 is down 9.41 at 6,542.12.
0930: UK gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.7 per cent on the quarter in the first three months of the year and another 1.3 per cent on the year. The latter was revised down by 0.2 percentage points from the previous estimate. Household final consumption expenditure increased by 0.3 per cent between the first and second quarters of 2013 - the seventh consecutive quarter on quarter increase. That marked a downwards revision of one tenth of a percentage point when compared with the preliminary reading.
0830: UK stocks have begun the session trading essentially flat, with shares of TUI Travel and Tullow Oil doing best. Centrica and SSE, however, are taking a hit from the rather negative news-flow and market-chatter regarding the unfavourable outlook for the regulations imposed on the sector. US equity futures are pointing slightly higher, with Wall Street currently predicted to see gains of about two tenths of a percentage point at the opening bell. The third estimate of Q2 GDP for Britain is published at 09:30, together with Q2 balance of payments data. Barclays Research expects GDP growth to be unrevised at 0.7 per cent on the quarter and 1.5 per cent on the year, in line with the consensus forecast. FTSE 100 down 5 to 6,547.