1630:Close The UK construction PMI rose unexpectedly to a seven-month high and analysts said the positive result should help ensure that gross domestic product (GDP) growth holds up well. Royal Bank of Scotland were the biggest FTSE 100 faller, while Anglo American topped the risers chart, after the group announced it would be open to a takeover if an attractive offer materialised.
Meanwhile, tensions between Russia and Ukraine continues to rise, with the EU set to announce a new round of economic sanctions on Friday. American markets were boosted by data showing manufacturing growth reaching a three-year high. The FTSE 100 closed 3.8 points up at 6,829.17.
1551: The CEO of Anglo American has reportedly hinted that the company is open to takeover offer. In an interview with the WSJ, Mark Cutifani said: "My job is to create value, however that may be shown." However, the paper said that Cutifani's "overriding ambition" was to keep Anglo independent.
1500: The ISM US manufacturing index unexpectedly jumped from 57.1 in July to 59.0 in August (forecast: 57.0). Meanwhile, other data just released has shown that US construction spending jumped 1.8% in July, reversing a 1.8% decline (forecast: +1.0%).
1449: US stock markets have opened mixed with the Dow down 0.2%, the Nasdaq up 0.2% and the S&P 500
only marginally lower as it tracks back from its 32nd record close of the year so far.
1322: The FTSE has returned to its opening level as investors digest construction data and turn their focus to the bigger events scheduled for the latter part of the week. A decision by the EU on further Russian sanctions will also be closely watched after Italian Foreign Minister and EU foreign policy chief-designate Federica Mogherini said a consensus on the matter is due to be made by Friday.
1132: M&A will be in focus when US markets open later on after the long weekend, as Dollar General has lifted its offer for Family Dollar to $80 a share. The new bid, up from the $78.50-a-share offer rejected last month, values the company at $9.1bn. After the previous rejection, Family Dollar's board had recommended a cash/stock proposal by Dollar Tree which valued it at $8.5bn. S&P, Dow and Nasdaq futures are up around 0.2%-0.3%.
1055: Analysts at Credit Suisse have upped their view on shares
of Weir to 'outperform' from 'neutral'.
1044: An upside "production surprise" may lie in store at the Escondida mine, in which BHP Billiton holds a 57.5% stake, Deutsche Bank wrote on Monday. Plans to run three plants at the mine could increase earnings at BHP and Rio Tinto by between 2% and 3% over the next couple of years.
1034: The price of iron ore will fall to $75 a metric tonne in the second half of next year on the back of increased low-cost supplies out of Australia and Brazil, according to CLSA research cited by Bloomberg.
0930: Markit's UK construction sector purchasing managers' index for the month of August has come in at 64, versus a reading of 62.4 in the month before (consensus: 61.5).
0838: Blue chips were gaining ahead of expectations this morning, with Weir Group leading the way after Credit Suisse upgraded the stock from 'neutral' to 'outperform'. Miners were in hot pursuit, while GSK continued to slide amid investor anger over certain board members. Meanwhile, traders are awaiting the latest construction PMI figure, which is predicted to fall from 62.4 to 61.4. In other news, plans for "Boris Island", an island airport, have been rejected. The FTSE has risen 19.60 to 6,844.91.