1630:Close UK equities finished slightly higher on Tuesday. Gains on the Footsie were led by several of this year´s laggards - Antofagasta, Kazakhmys and Petrofac - and two of its stars, TUI Travel and IAG. Copper miner Antofagasta rose despite the release of largely 'in line' results and data out today, as reported by Bloomberg, showing rising Chinese copper production and stockpiles of the metal at the LME. Industrial production fell at a 1.2 per cent month-on-month pace in January, led by a contraction in manufacturing output. At one point in the session that unleashed renewed selling pressure on Sterling. Traders, however, may have opted in the end to keep their powder dry ahead of this week´s key events, the US indicators which are due to be released starting tomorrow, with the latest monthly retail sales figures. FTSE 100 up 7 to 6,511.
1545: Reports that German lender Commerzbank may be weighing a capital increase of between 700 and 800 million euros, according to Reuters, is keeping equities on the Continent under pressure. Earlier in the day the FT reported that the bank may be preparing to sell its UK property arm.
1405: London equities are trading little changed but in the blue following a decent result at today´s auction of 7.5bn euros of bills by the Italian Treasury. That comes as some commentators are wondering aloud if all that is keeping sentiment towards the Eurozone periphery intact is the European Central Bank´s stated willingness to act as a backdrop. Nevertheless, and as the FT´s Lex column points out, markets have already attached a discount to leading Italian stocks´valuations due to the uncertain political backdrop in that country. In a similar vein, the newspaper also comments on how Italy´s central bank is examining whether some of the country´s lenders ought not to hold greater buffers to guard against rising bad loans.
1122: IAG stock is now approaching technical resistance between the 255p and 260p level.
0930: UK January industrial production fell by -1.2 per cent month-on-month (Consenssus: 0.1 per cent). As an initial reaction Sterling tumbled to 1.4849 versus the dollar. Manufacturing output declined at a 1.5 per cent clip versus December, far worse than what had been forecast.
0833: UK shares
are trading slightly lower ahead of the release of the latest data on industrial production (Consensus: 0.1 per cent), which could see Sterling come under renewed pressure. Antofagasta, considered by many to be a 'play' on Chinese growth, is the best performer today and its shares are now at the top of the leaderboard. The company´s revenues rose by 10.9 per cent in 2012, driven by a year of record production. UK real estate group British Land has announced its intention to raise half a billion pounds to fund 'attractive investment opportunities,' while at the same time selling Ropemaker Place, in London, to an international consortium of investors for 472m pounds. Although the placing was expected by some analysts the company now has 'execution risk' writes broker Jefferies, "which is likely to subdue the shares until income is bought," it adds. Acting as a backdrop, later in the morning Italy will auction 7.5bn euros in Treasury bills. Investors will be watching to see how the election results affect the sale, or not. FTSE 100 down 3 to 6,501.