1630:Close The FTSE closed in the red for the first time in almost two weeks today, dragged lower by concerns over the Chinese economy and a weak performance by banking stocks, as well as a number of stocks going ex-dividend. A report emerged from China overnight which said that debt write-offs at the country's biggest lenders tripled in the first half, while banks all over Europe were out of favour after the ECB said it would start to review the balance sheets of 130 institutions across the continent. The number of mortgages approved last month surged almost 40 per cent above last year's September figure, while over at the BoE it was revealed that policy-makers decided unanimously to maintain the Bank interest rate at 0.5 per cent earlier this month. The FTSE closed down 21.18 points at 6,674.48.
1440: US import prices rose for a second month in September as the cost of petroleum increased. Import prices climbed in line with expectations at 0.2 per cent last month following a revised 0.2 per cent gain in August, according to the Labor Department.
1330: US mortgage applications fell 0.6 per cent in the week to October 18th, compared to a rise of 0.3 per cent the previous week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association. Refinancing activity offset a slight rise in demand for purchase loans, the report showed. The figures come following the US federal government shutdown, which ended last week after almost three weeks.
1200: Mining company stocks are the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 including Antofagasta, Anglo American and Rio Tinto as the price of commodities dropped. Gold, silver and copper prices were all down on the COMEX.
1026: GlaxoSmithKline is weighing on the market ahead of the release of its third-quarter results due out later on. The share price is down around two per cent on speculation that the drugs group will say that a corruption probe in China was to blame for a fall in revenues in the region of over a third. Overall though, group sales are expected to grow with China only accounting for four per cent of revenues. The FTSE 100 is now at 6,663.77, down 31.89 points after hitting a five-month high the day before.
0930: At its meeting on October 9th the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Commitee (MPC) decided unanimously to main the Bank rate, as well as its stock of asset purchases, unchanged at 0.5 per cent and 375bn pounds each, minutes just released by the central bank show.
0915: The FTSE 100 is down 38.13 at 6,657.53 as stocks snap a nine-day winning streak. A number of heavyweight stocks were trading in the red this morning after going ex-dividend, including Smiths Group, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. John Menzies, Senior, William Hill, Rank Group, Barratt Developments and JD Wetherspoon also went ex-div on the FTSE 250. Banknote printer and ID services firm De La Rue was a big mover this morning with shares
sinking after the company warned that it would miss its full-year profit target by 10m pounds owing to "challenging trading conditions".
0825: The top flight index has begun the session moderately lower, despite the gains seen overnight on Wall Street. Market commentary is referencing doubts over the US economy and worries about tighter financial conditions in China as the main reason. Worth pointing out, the European Central Bank has announced that it will use eight per cent as the capital benchmark for its bank assessments. The minutes of the October MPC meeting will be published at 09:30. Barclays Research believes the votes to keep Bank Rate at 0.5 per cent and the stock of asset purchases at 375bn pounds to have been unanimous. Shire, Sports Direct and IAG are in the lead early on. FTSE 100 down 29 to 6,666.38 points.