1630: Close Stocks eased some of the session's earlier losses, but still ended the day on a downbeat note as miners weighed heavily on the back of fears over the economic situation in China. In UK macro news, a survey found retail sales grew at a considerably faster than expected pace in the 12 months to February and at their fastest rate since the middle of 2012. Stateside, the consumer confidence index for February slipped to a reading of 78.1 from 79.4 the month before, while over in the EU the European Commission said it expects a mild recovery in the euro-area over the next two years. The FTSE closed 35.36 points lower at 6,830.50.
1533: At least three brokers - Numis, Canaccord and Investec - have came out in support of GKN following its full year numbers. Numis is highlighting that the firm's automotive division is expected to outperform the growth seen in the global market (for which a rate of expansion of 3 per cent is foreseen) "whilst the civil aerospace cycle remains positive". To take note of, the company's shares
had seen a gain of close to 60 per cent going into the results. The shares have bounced off technical support at their 50-day moving average.
1500: The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for February slipped to a reading of 78.1 from 79.4 in the month before.
1401: House prices in the 20 main cities in the US rose by 0.76 per cent over the month in December, slightly slower than the 0.88 per cent gain seen in the month before (consensus: 0.60 per cent).
1410: Tesco's strategy presentation is starting.
1339: Cable is moving higher by 0.35 per cent to the 1.6715 mark. FTSE 100 down 64 to 6,802.
1210: In an interview with Reuters MPC member Ian McCafferty said he will be closely watching 'inflation behaviour' to help him decide on the exact timing of the first increase in the Bank rate. Some market commentary is highlighting remarks from him to the effect that another rise in sterling would be a worry. He believes it is too early to talk about a house price bubble. FTSE 100 down 63 to 6,803.
1100: The CBI's Distributive Trades Survey total orders gauge shot higher in February, reaching a level of 37 versus a reading of 14 one month ago (consensus: 15).
1011: Analysts at Canaccord Genuity have upped their price target on shares of African Barrick Gold to 315p from 205p beforehand. They have also moved to a 'buy' recommendation from a 'hold'.
0930: The number of loans for home purchase rose to 49,972 in January, up from a reading of 47,086 in the month before, a 76-month high. That was ahead of the 47,150 expected by analysts. They are "getting back towards their monthly average of 53,857 during 1997-2013," IHS Global Insight points out. There was a peak of 78,129 in November 2006.
0839: Shares of Persimmon and CRH are leading gains on the Footsie after the release of their latest full-year numbers. GKN, meantime, is at the bottom of the pile following its own annual results. Miners are weak, apparently on the back of an overnight drop in the Chinese Yuan, which seems to have led to weakness in the country's stocks. The link between the two seems to be related to the role which an appreciating Chinese currency may have played in fuelling capital flows - and possible excess investment - into China. The central bank was also due to carry out 27bn yuan's worth of reverse repos today - in effect draining liquidity from funding markets. Analysts at Citi have downgraded their view on shares of HSBC to 'neutral' from 'buy' and on Cable&Wireless to 'sell' from 'neutral'. FTSE 100 down 33 to 6,833.