1630 Close: The FTSE 100 finished down 23.21 points to 6754.64 as tensions in Iraq escalated. The US is reportedly considering talks with Iran to support the Iraq government in their fight against Sunni Islamist insurgents.
The news comes after militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) routed Baghdad's army and seized the north of the country. In the UK, a report from Rightmove showed house prices in the UK and London eased in June. In the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for growth in the world's biggest economy this year to 2% from 3%, due to the impact of the harsh winter.
1605: easyJet and Persimmon are moving further below their respective 200-day moving averages.
1527: Shares of Tullow Oil are moving up the leaderboard, perhaps as traders look to get ahead of a progress update from the firm on its Hanssen project.
1439: The IMF has cut its forecast for economic growth in the US this year to 2% from 3%, due to the impact of the harsh winter. The Washington-based lender still sees that economy expanding at a 3% clip next year. For the next several years the potential rate of growth for America´s gross domestic product is now expected to be weaker, at around 2%, as a result of population ageing and more modest prospects for productivity growth. America may have scope to keep interest rates at zero for longer than investors expect, the IMF adds.
1225: Four large Chinese banks have confirmed that the country´s central bank has granted them permission to take part in the recently announced targeted cuts in some lender´s legally required levels of capital reserved. They are: Ming Sheng Bank, China Merchant Bank, Industrial Bank, and Bank of Ningbo. Extending the 50 basis point cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) to these banks is equivalent to an injection of approximately 35bn yuan into the financial system, write analysts at Barclays Research. Altogether the April and June RRR reductions have injected 20bn yuan in liquidity, versus 540bn yuan for a similar system-wide reduction in the RRR.
1128: Smith & Nephew continues to lead the decline on the FTSE 100 after news of a Medtronic offer for Covidien. Nevertheless, analysts at Killik this morning did not rule out the potential for a bid from elsewhere: "Given the presence of bid speculation surrounding Smith & Nephew, its shares
have been marked down today. However, we note that Stryker may still return to the table, and that the outlook for the underlying business remains positive."
1005: Two more brokers, Credit Suisse and Commerzbank, have brought forward their calls for the expected first increase in Bank Rate to November. The former had previously been expecting the Bank to move in February. However, the Swiss broker is emphasising to clients this morning that it continues to expect the central bank to tighten only gradually and in a limited fashion. Bank Rate is expected to end 2015 at the 1.5% level and to reach 2.5% by the end of 2016. "The risks of the MPC going sooner than expected - say, in August - are greater than them tightening faster than expected, in our view," Credit Suisse adds.
1000: Eurozone consumer prices rose at a 0.5% year-on-year pace during the month of May, as expected.
0845: UK stocks have moved slightly into the red on the first day of the week led by a fall in shares of Smith&Nephew. US medical devices group Medtronic is to buy Irish rival Covidien for $42.9bn in a cash-and-stock deal effectively ruling out the possibility of a bid for the British group. GKN is an early gainer following positive comments out from Credit Suisse on UK capital goods firms. Acting as a backdrop, traders are keeping a close eye on the news-flow coming out of Iraq and Ukraine. FTSE 100 down 4 to 6,774.