1630: Stocks ended the day lower on Monday, putting an end to last week's rally, pushed lower by some gloomy economic data from China. The world's second-largest economy reported significantly worse-than-expected import figures for August, falling for the first time in a non-holiday period since 2009. This after industrial production data released on Sunday came in slightly below forecasts for August, revealing an 8.9% year-on-year pace of expansion. However, it wasn't all doom and gloom, with the miners heading north on the back of comments from UBS, which said the outlook for the UK mining sector is improving as expectations for quantitative easing (QE) increase. Meanwhile, AB Foods was providing a drag after Investec said this morning that it expects to lower its full-year EPS estimate due to the weaker-than-expected profits in the Ingredients division. The FTSE 100 closed down two points at 5,793.
1606: Lonmin is edging higher on slightly less pessimism regarding the situation at its Marikana mine in South Africa. Nevertheless, analysts were telling clients this morning that: "We keep Lonmin on Least Preferred, given the labour issues in SA (unlikely to be resolved in the short term), the risk of a rights issue, overhang from the Xstrata stake, and BEE issues." FTSE 100 up 1 at 5,796.
1545: Miners are continuing to outperform in afternoon trading, on speculation that China will add to the stimulus measures which it announced last Friday. There is also some speculation regarding a new dose of QE from the US Federal Reserve this next Thursday (UBS dixit). UBS has removed Kazhakmys from 'least preferred' this morning, upgrading it to buy. Royal Bank of Scotland Group, for its part, is said to be poised to start the initial public offering of its Direct Line Insurance Group unit as early as this week, according to Bloomberg. Tullow Oil may be off due to a negative mention in this past weekend's edition of The Sunday Times. The newspaper highlighted how the Ugandan government is now asking Tullow to invest in a refinery nine times larger than originally agreed. FTSE 100 up 11 to 5,806.
1306: Shares of Marks and Spencer are now pacing gains on the Footsie after a report in Reuters according to which banks are said to be exploring alternatives to finance a leveraged buy-out of the iconic retailer. This speculation comes on the back of other reports to this effect which have appeared in the last two weeks. FTSE 100 is up 1 to 5,796.
1007: The trading update from Associated British Foods was a little below expectations, according to Investec. 'We expect a 100m pound impairment charge in Australia and weak Ingredients to embarrass AB Foods a little this morning. We anticipate a 1pc-2pc downgrade to our 2012 earnings per share,' Investec's Martin Deboo said. The broker has, nevertheless, held its rating at 'hold' and stuck with its 1300p target price. Glencore is down after firming up on the revised offer for Xstrata it proposed last week. Xstrata, meanwhile, is one of the best performers in a mining sector buoyed by hopes of more economic stimulus measures from the Chinese authorities in the wake of disappointing industrial production and imports figures. FTSE 100 is down 6 at 5,789.
0955: Shares of Chariot Oil and Gas, an Africa-focused exploration company, are plummeting by 61 per cent after reporting that initial logging results at the Kabeljou exploration well in the Orange basin offshore Namibia indicate that no commercial hydrocarbons were found. Analysts at Peel Hunt have reacted by cutting their price target on the shares
to 40p from 150p beforehand. Analysts at Northland had this to say: "Shares are clearly a sell in early trading and we place our recommendation under review until these have corrected over the next couple of days." FTSE 100 down 14 to 5,781.
0810: Footsie has opened little changed, despite the strength of mining stocks. Miners are wanted, despite data released over the weekend indicating Chinese industrial production and imports grew less than expected in August. As per usual, the bulls have taken this as an indication that the Chinese authorities will increase financial stimulus measures to juice up the economy. Associated British Foods has found the market hard to please, easing a little in early trading, despite unveiling an increase in like-for-like sales growth at its Primark stores, and a sparkling performance in the Sugar division. FTSE 100 is down 1 at 5,794.