1630: Close London-listed stocks ended the day marginally higher, coming off this morning's lows, although the gains were limited by data releases in the US and a poor performance by the mining sector. In the States, data showed that retail sales in the world's biggest economy unexpectedly slowed in May, up just 0.3% following a revised 0.5% increase in April, surprising analysts who had expected a 0.6% gain. BG ended the day higher as oil prices
rose on the back of the unrest in Iraq. The FTSE 100 closed 4.24 points higher at 6,843.11.
1605: The jihadist attacks on the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit do not constitute an immediate threat neither for that country´s oil production nor for the ratings of Western oil companies, according to ratings agency Fitch. However, should the conflict spread and the market begin to doubt whether the Middle Eastern nation will indeed be able to raise its oil output in line with forecasts then that could provoke a sharp rise in world oil prices as current forecasts foresee Iraq incrasingly becoming a major contributor to the long-term growth in global oil output.
1540:The number of loans to first-time home buyers rose by 37% in April compared to a year ago, according to data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders on Thursday.First-time buyers took at 24,500 mortgages, up 1% on the month.
The value of lending to first-time buyers was up 3% on March to £3.5bn, 52% more than in April last year.
1500: US stocks were down after reports on retail sales and initial jobless claims missed forecasts. The investors are also watching Iraq as Kurdish forces took control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk today. Government troops abandoned their posts as Sunni Islamist rebels headed towards Baghdad.
The turmoil has pushed oil prices up today.
1330: US retail sales increased by just 0.3% in May (forecast: 0.6%), but the previous month's figure was revised sharply higher to 0.5% (previous estimate: 0.1%). Meanwhile, jobless claims increased to 317,000 last week, up from 312,000 previously and slightly ahead the 309,000 forecast.
1233 Shares in Lonmin, up nearly 10%, have rebounded strongly - having falling as much as 4% earlier on - after reports that the AMCU union in South Africa has agreed to take an offer from partners Impala, Amplats and Lonmin to employees following strikes began earlier this year.
1158: Kurdish forces have secured the strategic oil hub of Kirkuk in the north of Iraq after the local security forces abandoned their positions following an advance by militants from the redical ISIL movement. Meanwhile, TV Iraqiya reports that government forces are attempting to dislodge the militants from Tikrit. Front month Brent crude futures are advancing 1.7% to $111.84/barrel on the ICE.
1122: ITV shares
are on the rise after it was reported that Omnicom has pulled all media spend with Channel 5 until the end of 2014 and redirect it towards ITV. A 'buy' rating from Liberum on ITV today could also be helping the shares after the broker cited media buyer feedback that suggests that June TV ad revenues are expected to be strong.
1010: Chinese banks extended 871bn yuan in May, a moderate increase on the previous month´s 775bn (consensus: 750bn yuan). The year-on-year rate of growth in outstanding bank loans edged higher to 13.7% from 13.9% in April. FTSE 100 down 7 to 6,832.
1000: Eurozone industrial production increased by 0.8% over the month during April (consensus: 0.4%).
0926: RBS shares are 0.7% lower after Investec downgraded the stock from 'hold' to 'sell', saying that the bank will deliver a "solidly loss-making performance through Q2-Q4" this year. "Following RBS' latest +16% six-week 'spike' we believe that the share price (once again) reflects a triumph of hope over reality and should duly correct," the broker said.
0920: Markets seem to have started to actually take notice of recent events in Iraq. Overnight some reports indicated fighting near Kirkuk, an important oil hub in the north of the country. For the first time in months however ISIL seems to have encountered significant resistance from local security forces. Front month Brent crude futures moving higher by 1.2% to $111.28 barrel on the ICE.
0845: UK stocks have begun the day moving slightly lower led by a decline in shares of Anglo American. The miner´s stock has been downgraded at Morgan Stanley to 'underweight' from 'equalweight'. Investec has downgraded RBS to 'sell' from 'hold'. That follows an overnight slip on Wall Street and the modest selling pressure seen in Asian bourses this morning. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) main house price balance edged higher to 57 in May from 55 in April (consensus: 52). FTSE 100 down 5 to 6,834.