1630: Close It was another negative finish in the City today as concerns about Ukraine, mixed corporate news, and disappointing data from across the globe weighed on sentiment. In the UK, retail sales fell by 1.7 per cent in like-for-like terms, while China's broadest measure of new credit fell 19 per cent in March from a year earlier and money supply grew at the slowest pace since 2001. Company wise, defensive stocks performed well, while typically volatile mining stocks were firmly in the red. Over in Eastern Europe, it was being reported that Ukraine has said Russian forces have entered the country. Over in the US stocks are lower across the board. The FTSE 100 closed down 42.15 points at 6,541.61.
1603: Ukraine has announced that its so-called 'anti-terror operation' is under way in north Donetsk. This operation would be conducted 'stage by stage, in a responsible [...] manner', according to acting President Olexander Turchynov. Markets in London have extended losses on the news and are now trading down 45 points at 6,539. Meanwhile, according to market sources, speculation about a poor GDP reading from China is also doing the rounds.
1430: Royal Mail shares
are in the top spot in today's session, as investors await to hear the government's decision on whether to sell the remaining 30 per cent stake in the group now that the lock-up period has expired. According to the BBC, senior Tories are firmly in favour of a sale.
1241: Stock futures on Wall Street are pointing to small gains of around 0.2 per cent in New York as markets look set to extend gains. Results from Intel, Yahoo, Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson are all due out today. Meanwhile, inflation data and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will also be in focus this afternoon.
1045: Resolution is among the best performers on the FTSE 100 after Barclays kept an 'overweight' rating on the insurer, saying it sees 33 per cent upside potential to its target price after the stock's recent falls. 'Resolution offers the highest dividend yield in the FTSE 100 of 7.6 per cent, we believe the recent weakness is overdone,' the bank said.
0932: G4S is providing a drag on the FTSE 100 after the stock was downgraded to 'sell' by Deutsche Bank. The German bank said it does not see significant 'hidden value' in G4S to warrant its current valuation and expects a lower growth profile in this cycle. Next is also lower after a downgrade by Espirito Santo to 'sell', while SABMiller has been hit with a ratings cut by Investec to 'hold'. The FTSE 100 is down 12.62 at 6,571.14.
0930: UK consumer prices expanded at a 1.6 per cent year-on-year pace during the month of March, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), down from a 1.7 per cent year-on-year clip in the month before. Versus the previous month they increased by 0.2 per cent. The data was in line with expectations.
0832: UK shares have started the day slipping slightly lower, after yesterday's bounce. Some market commentary is attributing the move to worries that China is again draining liquidity from its financial . Aggreko is in the lead on the Footsie after reporting a five per cent rise in underlying first quarter revenues. SAB Miller is doing worst following its fourth quarter update. To watch out for today will be a speech from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, this evening. Some analysts believe that investors are having a hard time trying to understand the US central bank's communications. The news out of Ukraine continues to deteriorate. UK CPI data is due for release at 09:30. FTSE 100 down 16 to 6,568.