1630: Close The FTSE delivered a fairly modest rise on Monday, helped by the news that a 'productive conversation' had been had by two senior officials in the US over the weekend, although no proposal was agreed upon. Johnson Matthey was the big riser of the day after the stock was upgraded by JPMorgan Cazenove from 'neutral' to 'overweight', while Travis Perkins shares
were also heading higher after Merrill Lynch lifted its rating to 'buy'. In other news, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to relax visa rules for Chinese nationals visiting Britain in an effort to boost tourism and remove bureaucratic barriers that hamper trade. The FTSE closed up 20.46 points at 6,507.65, its highest level in two and a half weeks.
1608: Stocks have pushed higher despite a weak start on Wall Street though markets are still rangebound as a deal over the debt ceiling remains elusive. Oil and gas group Afren is a high riser on the FTSE 350 this afternoon after analysts at Goldman Sachs labelled the stock as a 'conviction buy'. Set-top box group Pace is also a high riser, jumping the most in over two months (+5.2 per cent), after Bloomberg said that Netflix is in talks to add TV subscription-streaming services to set-top boxes of US cable-TV operators. The FTSE 100 is up 15.7 at 6,502.89.
1420:Annual inflation in the Group of 20 countries slowed to three per cent in August from 3.2 per cent in July, the OECD revealed. India, Argentina, Indonesia and Turkey experienced the highest annual inflation rates, while Japan, France,Canada and Italy had the lowest annual inflation rates.
1315:International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde has warned that a US default could send the globe into a recession. The US has until Thursday before reaching its borrowing limit and starting to run out of funds. "If there is that degree of disruption, that lack of certainty, that lack of trust in the US signature, it would mean massive disruption the world over and we would be at risk of tipping yet again into recession," Lagarde said in a TV interview with Meet the Press. Talks between US leaders will resume in Washington today.
1220:Spain's bank debt owed to the European Central Bank (ECB) fell in September to the lowest level in 18 months, data from the Bank of Spain showed. Net debt to the ECB totalled €241.1bn last month, down 36 per cent from a year earlier. The news comes as the ECB clamps down on European banks with stricter reviews to avoid another banking crisis.
1130: Eurozone industrial production rose 1 per cent in August, the strongest pace in more than two years and beating the consensus for a 0.8 per cent increase. Portugal registered the highest increase, with output growing by 8.2%. German output rose 1.8% while French output climbed 0.2% following three consecutive months of decline.
1036: Markets are still flat with the FTSE 100 up just 4.44 at 6,491.63. Chemicals group Johnson Matthey is performing well after the stock was upgraded by JPMorgan Cazenove from 'neutral' to 'overweight'. The same bank however was weighing on the share price of sector peer Croda after it downgraded its rating from 'overweight' to 'neutral', saying that expectations for the third quarter 'look demanding'. Several other blue-chip stocks were hit with downgrades this morning, including SABMiller (Citigroup cut to 'neutral'), Bunzl (JPMorgan lowered to 'neutral') and Glencore Xstrata (Liberum Capital cut to 'hold'). Building materials firm Travis Perkins however was lifted to 'buy' by Bank of America.
0913: This weekend's negotiations between US lawmakers failed to conclude in a agreement to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the October 17th deadline as Republicans and Democrats remain divided over a number of issues. 'With three days to go before the US Treasury technically runs out of cash to pay the bills, traders are now fearing the worst-case default scenario being played out. Although many dismiss it as unlikely with hopes that US lawmakers will strike an 11th hour deal, traders are showing reluctance to take risk as we head into the deadline,' said Market Strategist Ishaq Siddiqi from ETX Capital. The FTSE 100 is up 5.06 at 6,492.25, holding steady after hitting a two-week high on Friday.
0833: London equities have begun the session under slight selling pressure, with the news-flow over the weekend regarding progress on Capitol Hill mixed at best. There are no significant data releases today in the UK. At 16:00 incoming deputy governor for financial stability, Jon Cunliffe, will give his appointment hearing in front of the Treasury Select Committee, Barclays Research points out. Of interest, China´s consumer price index accelerated to a 3.1 per cent year-on-year rate of change in September, versus the 2.8 per cent forecast by the consensus, albeit mostly due to sharp increases in the prices for fresh vegetables. Lloyds´ Chief Executive has warned of the risk that Help to Buy might create a housing bubble should steps to build new housing - such as fewer planning restrictions - not be forthcoming. FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,475.