1630:Close The FTSE ended the session in positive territory on Monday, led by banks after Goldman Sachs raised target prices across the sector. Heading in the other direction were miners, which have been affected by disruption caused by rain and flooding in the wake of cyclone Oswald. In economic news, UK house prices stagnated in January and fell by 0.3 per cent versus year ago levels, while new research showed that last year final salary pensions in the private sector closed their doors to new staff at the fastest rate on record. In the US trading got off to a mixed start, following a report which showed that pending home sales declined in December, while durable goods orders rose. The FTSE 100 closed up 10 points at 6,294.
1500: US pending home sales fell by 4.3 per cent month-on-month in December, coming in far below the 0.0 per cent reading expected. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting that low inventory levels may have been a factor in the decline as buyers had fewer properties from which to choose. "The broad trend in pending home sales mirrors that of the broader housing market and does not alter our view that the recovery in US housing has sustained momentum," comment analysts at Barclays Research.
1449: The FTSE 100 has jumped above the 6,300 for the first time since mid-2008 following the durable goods data Stateside and a well-received quarterly earnings report from US equipment maker Caterpillar. The Footsie is up 22 points at 6,306. Financial stocks are providing a lift here in London with Aberdeen, Barclays, Old Mutual and Standard Life registering decent gains. On the downside is outsourcing group Capita and Tate & Lyle after broker downgrades.
1330: US durable goods orders spiked higher in December, rising at a 4.6 per cent month-on-month clip, versus the 2.0 per cent increase which was forecast. The critical 'core' series for durable goods, which excludes both Defense and civil aircraft, came in comfortably ahead of economists´ expectations. FTSE 100 up 8 to 6,293.
1328: Shares of Barclays are making an attempt to break above technical resistance at 300p it seems.
1249: The currently high levels of 'bullishness' reached by equity investors has prompted Nomura´s Global Quantitative Strategy Team to issue a short-term tactical neutral position on the market, although they remain fundamentally bullish on equities.
1238: Egypt declares 30 day state of emergency.
1110: Market analyst Craig Erlam has said that while markets are quiet today, we could see 'increased volatility' later in the week ahead of more corporate earnings and a central bank meeting Stateside. Meanwhile, the first estimate of fourth-quarter US GDP will be released on Wednesday, and the all-important jobs report is on the agenda for Friday. Erlam said: 'This week therefore has the potential to make or break the stock market rally, which has seen the S&P hit five year highs, while the FTSE has had its best January in more than 20 years. At this moment in time, I can't see this week's events damaging the rally, if anything with earnings expectations so low and recent data improving, stock indices are likely to hit new highs as the week goes on.'
1050: The FTSE 100 has traded broadly sideways since the start of the session and is now up just one point at 6,285. Stock futures are pointing to a similar start on Wall Street as markets await earnings from heavyweight industrial group Caterpillar and durable goods orders for December which are expected to rise by 2.0 per cent, ahead of the 0.8 per cent gain the month before.
0852: In a research note sent to Credit Suisse clients this morning ex-Bank of England policy maker Kate Barker argues that the Bank´s inflation target should be changed. In the current "exceptional" circumstances, she thinks a temporary change to a target range of 1-4 per cent could be warranted. However, she argues such a change should only be temporary: once its near-term objectives are achieved, the policy remit should revert to a 1-3 per cent CPI target.
0830: UK stocks have begun the day edging slightly higher, led by miners and financials. That ahead of the latest Eurozone money supply figures in under half an hour´s time and US durable goods data this afternoon. Acting as backdrop are Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney´s remarks over the weekend emphasising the need for flexibility. Investec has cut Tate&Lyle to hold from buy. Out on the FTSE 250 Home Retail and Centamin are suffering very sharp falls. The former was downgraded by Morgan Stanley to equalweight from overweight while the latter is reeling from the fall-out of recent violent protests in Egypt. FTSE 100 up 4 to 6,289.