1630:Close UK stocks finished the day moderately lower, as news that Chinese authorities are acting more forcefully than expected to cool the country's property market weighed miners down. However, late afternoon comments from US Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Janet Yellen, defending the need to continue with the current pace of asset purchases, helped to stabilise market sentiment somewhat. Capita led gains after broker Berenberg raised its target on the stock to 955p from 870p previously. Shares of insurer Admiral were one of the day's best performers following positive comments out of Goldman Sachs. FTSE 100 down 33 to 6,346.
1505: Ophir Energy could turn into a take-over target for the likes of Shell or Cnooc due to its funding problems, Bloomberg reports.
1429: US equity futures are off their lows for the day following remarks from US Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Janet Yellen in support of continuing with the current pace of quantitative easing. Speaking at the National Association of Business Economists' (NABE) Spring conference she indicated that: "insufficiently forceful action to achieve our dual mandate also entails costs and risks." Hence, at the present time, she views, "the balance of risks as still calling for a highly accommodative monetary policy to support a stronger recovery and more-rapid growth in employment." FTSE 100 down 34 to 6,345.
1325: Shares of Capita have moved into the top slot on the Footsie after broker Berenberg raised its target price on the shares
of the business process management provider to 955p from 870p. GKN, for its part, is benefiting from an upgrade out of Goldman Sachs to neutral, from reduce.
1200: Analysts at broker UBS have today raised their price target on shares of Bunzl to 1,250p from 1,000p before. We believe that there is a good chance of earnings upgrades over the next year, driven by further mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and foreign exchange
movements (FX). In an upside scenario, (including another year of strong M&A spend, and an FX tailwind), we could see circa 12 per cent upgrades to fiscal year 2013 earnings per share, compared to approximately 5 per cent potential downgrades in a downside scenario.
0947: For Joe Rundle, Head of Trading at ETX Capital, investors need to look through the extraordinary charges linked to the fines paid by HSBC to settle accusations of money laundering in the Middle East (1.9bn dollars) and liabilities linked to the payment protection insurance (PPI) scandal. In fact, they argue, with these penalties now settled and out of the way a major overhang on the stock price has been removed for now, with traders likely to focus on HSBC's on-going cost cutting programme and on-going disposal programme. Far more important is the fact that the bank is attempting to de-leverage itself. Hence, it expects the decline in the lender's shares to be short-lived. In their opinion traders are just using these numbers as an excuse to 'book profits' after the shares rose a staggering 28 per cent last year. FTSE 100 down 26 to 6,353.
0930: The UK Construction PMI for the month of February has fallen to a reading of 46.8 points, versus 48.7 for the month before (Consensus: 49).
0820: Markets opened in negative territory on Monday, tracking Asian stocks lower which fell on concerns that a stricter monetary policy might be needed in China as property prices continue to rocket. The news means that the demand for building materials could be affected, prompting a heavy fall in the resources sector. The mining sector lost 2.4% in early trade. As well, the official service sector purchasing manager's index for the month of February slid to a reading of 54.5 points, from 56.2 in the month before. Heading the other way was Intertek, which edged higher after posting a 17 per cent rise in 2012 revenue to 2.1bn pounds. The FTSE is down 26 points at 6,353.