1630:Close UK stocks have closed lower despite it being the last day of the quarter. Contrary to expectations Spain did not reveal the result of the stress-tests carried out on the country's banks before markets closed (afterwards it has put the figure at 59.3bn euros). Miners -specially those of precious metals- were the best performers today despite the weakness seen on the wider market. UK economists are waxing increasingly optimistic (or shall we leave it at less pessimistic rather) as regards the outlook for the economy at home. That as the squeeze on consumers is now expected to recede and given the recent strong employment and labour force participation numbers. Economic data out Stateside has come in well below forecasts.
Charles Stanley, for its part, was today telling clients the following: "(...) central bankers have attempted bold policy initiatives to try and breathe life into moribund developed industrial economies. We remain hugely sceptical regarding the ability of quantitative easing to deliver this goal given pronounced supplyside pressures, but what is not in doubt is the Pavlovian performance of risk assets generally to liquidity infusions. (...) We have been in contact with our colleagues on the options desk and believe that now might be a very good time to start taking out some portfolio protection against a sharp set-back in global equity markets over the final quarter of the year, regardless of the view that Dr Draghi and Dr Bernanke might have "backstopped" risk which, frankly, we doubt." FTSE 100 down 37 to 5,742.
1534: According to a spokesman for the South African Competition Commission the review of the Xstrata/Glencore merger has been extended.
1455: The University of Michigan's gauge of consumer confidence for the month of September has come in at 78.3 (Consensus: 79) after the previous month's reading of 79.2. The current situation sub-index fell to 85.7 from 88.3 (Consensus: 88), but the expectations component actually rose; to 73.5 from 73.4 (Consensus: 73). Inflation expectations one and five years out dropped noticeably. Spanish bank sector stress test results are now next. FTSE 100 off 19 to 5,760, still off the day's lows.
1445: The notoriously volatile regional Chicago NAPM manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of September has come in at 49.7 (Consensus: 53), after a reading of 53 for the previous month. The new orders sub-index has come in at 47.4 (from 54.8) while the prices paid sub-index has printed a reading of 63.2 (after 57).
1353: Most headlines last night attributed gains on Wall Street to the news out concerning Spain's new budget deficit reduction initiatives. Be that as it may, 10 year Spanish bond yields are now rising by 11 basis points, to 6.05%.
1336: The latest US personal income and spending figures for the month of August have come in somewhat weaker than expected when revisions are taken into account. Personal incomes rose by 0.1% month-on-month (Consensus: 0.2%), while the previous month's reading has been revised down to show an increase of 0.1% versus a preliminary estimate of 0.3%. Chicago PMI and consumer confidence survey data still due out in approximately an hour's time. Personal savings rate down to 3.7% from 4.1% in July. FTSE 100 down 15 to 5,765.
1054: Footsie has fallen back below 5800. Insurer Admiral is in reverse after the Office of Fair Trading called in the Competition Commission (CC) to have a look at the UK car insurance market, which it suspects is not working as well to the benefit of the UK consumer as it should do. Admiral, no doubt, would petition for the CC to look into the suspiciously large increase in 'whiplash' claims the company has been seeing since the recession hit. The mid-tier index, the FTSE 250, is somehow still in positive territory despite chunky falsl for the LSE (see below) and Electrocomponents. The latter has issued a profits warning after under-performing in the first half of the financial year. FTSE 100 is up 13 at 5,793.
0930: The UK´s index of services has come in at a 1.1% month-on-month rate of change for July (Consensus: 1.5%). On a three month basis the gauge rose by 0.1%, ONS says, as expected. FTSE 100 up 19 to 5,799.
0858: Shares of the London Stock Exchange are the worst performer now on the FTSE 350 after the group has warned that new European regulations on collateral requirements will hit its results. Adding to its troubles, perhaps, analysts at Goldman Sachs have reiterated their sell recommendation. FTSE 100 up 23 to 5,803.
0807: Footsie has just about got its chin above 5800 again, as mining stocks drive the market higher. Six of the ten top performers among Footsie constituents are miners, while fellow traveller Evraz, the Russian steel firm, is also in the top group. G4S, the security firm which dropped the ball and then kicked it into its own net with the Olympic Games security contract, has issued another 'mea culpa' for the whole sorry affair after an internal investigation, but it won't be offering up Chief Executive Officer Nick Buckles as a scapegoat. Two senior executives will be quitting the company following the fiasco, but Buckles will stay on. FTSE 100 is up 22 at 5,802.