1630: Close A rise in stocks on the other side of the Pond helped drive blue chips into positive territory by today's close. In the UK, retail sales came in significantly above expectations at 1.3 per cent higher month-on-month and 6.9 per cent year-on-year. The impact of the figures was slightly counterbalanced by the latest BoE minutes, with particular attention being paid to one comment, namely that "for some members, the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced", which pushed sterling notably higher. Focus will now turn to the release of the minutes of the FOMC's latest policy meeting and speeches from three Fed speakers, including Janet Yellen. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 19.04 points at 6,821.04.
1530: On Tuesday night Google disclosed that late last year it passed on a deal to acquire an unnamed foreign company in a transaction valued at up to 5bn dollars. In a letter which was originally sent to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in December Google said it would need between $20-$30bn worth of overseas profits to help fund the international acquisitions of companies and technology rights it has planned.
1257:US mortgage applications rose 0.9 per cent in the week ended May 16th following a 3.6 per cent increase a week earlier. US stock futures were pointing to a higher open ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve's meeting minutes.
1125: HSBC revises forecast for second quarter gross domestic product growth in the UK to 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter from 0.7 per cent previously.
1021: Commenting on the minutes Dr Howard Archer, Chief European+UK economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "The outlook for monetary policy is starting to look a lot more uncertain [...] There are clear indications in the May minutes that some of the more hawkish MPC members are starting to get twitchy. The longer-term message from the Bank of England remains that when interest rates do start to rise, the increases will be gradual and limited, but when exactly the first increase comes is far from clear."
1016: The Minutes also state that the committee "would continue to refine its views as the economy evolved, and for some members the monetary policy decision was becoming more balanced."
0935: Minutes from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on May 7th and 8th show a unanimous decision to keep its main policy settings unchanged, despite perceptions that this create a greater risk of a build-up in financial imbalances, particularly in the housing market.
0930: UK retail sales volumes, excluding those of automotive fuel, surged by 1.8 per cent month-on-month in April, versus analysts' forecast for a rise of 0.5 per cent.
0845: UK shares
have started the session slightly lower following a negative close on Wall Street overnight and quite cautious remarks out from the President of the Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia, Charles Plosser. Worth highlighting, dollar/yen has moved below the 101 yen mark, with traders attributing that move to positive comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda overnight, which traders may have interpreted as signalling that any possible monetary easing has moved further out on the time horizon. Petrofac is pacing risers now on the Footsie after being upgraded to 'equalweight' from 'underweight'. Vodafone has been removed from UBS's European Key call list. Markets are now expectant ahead of this morning's MPC minutes and UK retail sales data, both of which are due out at 09:30. A raft of Fed speakers will take to the podium later in the day.