1630: Close The City ended the week on a positive note, with mining stocks providing a lift and confidence in the Eurozone coming in ahead of predictions. Sentiment was also helped after Fitch Ratings raised its outlook on the US credit rating to 'stable' from 'negative' after Congress suspended the nation's debt limit for more than a year, which reduces the risk of a default. However, the effect of the Budget statement was still being felt, with the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown and Legal & General both registering declines after the changes to annuity. The FTSE 100 closed up 14.73 points at 6,557.17, a gain of 29.28 points on the week.
1550: The FTSE looks set to end the week on a positive note, although is currently falling short of Tuesday's high point. Meanwhile, Britain's biggest supermarket Tesco has confirmed it is entering a joint venture with Indian conglomerate Tata Group in which it will invest 85m pounds. The retailer will form a 50:50 joint venture with Tata-owned Trent Hypermarket which operates the Star Bazaar retail business in India.
1440: Miners continue to lead the way higher while Hargreaves Lansdown and Legal & General are both registering losses as the impact of Wednesday's Budget continued to be felt across the annuity market. Some analysts have predicted that the market could fall by as much as 8bn pounds to 4bn by September 2015 after Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to do away with annuity pensions income.
1337: Despite the small gains predicted ahead of the opening bell, stocks on Wall Street have soared in early trading with the S&P 500
reaching a new intraday record high of 1,884.
1325: UK stocks have trimmed gains but are still trading higher ahead of the opening bell on Wall Street in five minutes with futures pointing to 0.2-0.3 per cent gains for the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500. No major economic data is due out in the States today, though speeches from four members of the Fed (Bullard, Fisher, Kocherlakota and Stein) later on will be closely watched. The FTSE 100 is up 7.9 points at 6,550.34.
1201: RBS has been downgraded to 'equalweight' from 'overweight' at Barclays.
1200: Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch have lowered their 2015 earnings per share forecasts for Burberry to reflect current FX headwinds on the company's revenues. They calculate that the impact on the company's EBIT for next year will be between 40m pounds and 50m pounds or 11 per cent.
1036: Crest Nicholson is 4.3 per cent lower after Bloomberg reported that the housebuilder's largest publicly disclosed shareholder, Deutsche Bank, is disposing of as many as 16.5m shares. The German bank is thought to have 10 per cent stake in the company.
0930: The UK public sector's net borrowing requirement for the month of February printed at 9.3bn pounds (consensus: 8.6bn pounds), after a revised reading of 5bn pounds for the month before.
0845: UK stocks have started the day slightly higher buoyed by gains in mining shares
and a positive end to trading overnight on Wall Street. China's Shanghai stock market gauge is standing about three per cent higher this morning, as investors greet signs that authorities might be relaxing funding conditions for the property sector and reports that new stimulus measures will be forthcoming. FTSE 100 up 17 to 6,559.