1630The FTSE ended 0.55 points higher to 6588.98 as Syria said it would hand over chemical weapons to international control and as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the economy was picking up and stimulus measures are working. Carney, however, warned that the signs of recovery in the UK could prove to be a "false dawn" as it was early days. He defended his policy of forward guidance and reiterated his vow to keep interest rates at record low of 0.5 per cent until the unemployment rate falls below 7 per cent which he expects will take at least three years.
1431: Stock in Randgold Resources and Fresnillo is drifting lower as gold futures
continue to slip as the tensions surrounding Syria recede for now. The gold futures contract for December delivery is now falling by 2.48 per cent to the 1,330 dollar
per ounce mark and testing technical support in the form of its 50 day moving average on COMEX.
1418: Imperial Tobacco is edging higher on the top flight index on the heels of the appointment of a new Chief Financial Officer [CFO], Oliver Tant, to replace the retiring Bob Dyrbus. Analysts at Investec highlight that it is a positive event for shareholders. As well, they point out that his reputation, experience and profile all suggest that he has both the skills and clout required to help the company's Chief Executive Officer - Alison Cooper - to steady this at times "errant" ship. FTSE 100 up 7 to 6,595.
1330: Initial US weekly unemployment claims dropped by 31,000 in the seven days ended on September 7th, reaching 292,000; that is their lowest level since April of 2006. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 323,000. However, the figures seem to have been affected by extraordinary circumstances. Besides the long Labour Day weekend two US states reportedly upgraded their computer systems, apparently impacting the data. However, continuing claims for the week before - which was not impacted by those factors -also dropped sharply, by 73,000, to 2,871,000.
1241: Consultancy, engineering and project management services group AMEC has slipped into the top spot on the Footsie after cancelling plans to acquire Kentz Corp. for 700m pounds. The company is now considering returning cash to shareholders instead. Shares of Aggreko are off after analysts at Deutsche Bank reduced their target price on the company's stock to 1,870p from 2,100p. Melrose is also a laggard in trading action today. Citigroup has lowered its view on the stock to neutral. FTSE 100 up 3 to 6,591.
1015: Most UK firms would vote to keep the UK in the European Union (EU) if a referendum was held tomorrow, a YouGov/Confederation of British Industry survey has shown. The survey, which included 400 businesses, showed that more than 78 per cent favoured a vote to stay in the EU.
1004: Governor Mark Carney has told the Treasury Select Committee that the Bank of England has not dropped its 2 per cent inflation target.
0957: In a just-released piece of research analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch reveal the results of an in-house study of the drivers behind the variance seen in the enterprise value/capital employed ratio between companies. The creation or erosion of economic value explains 74 per cent of the above. Applying the analysis to 2013-15 forecasts they estimate UK equity market capitalisation could rise by around 30 per cent by 2015. They maintain their FTSE target of 7,100 for mid-2014, and introduce a target of 7,400 for fiscal year 2014. Among large capitalisation stocks the banks are the best proxy for 'UK plc,' they add. FTSE 100 down 4 to 6,584.
0909: Analysts at Nomura have this morning downgraded shares
of SAB Miller to reduce from neutral, while cutting their target to 2,800p from 3,300p before. They explain that: "since 2005, the global beer industry has seen exceptional profit growth, which is unlikely to be matched." They also mention that: "Within the beverages sector, we prefer investment in spirits where we have more confidence about earnings momentum, especially at Diageo (Buy, Price target: 2,350p)." FTSE 100 up 11 to 6,599.
0900: JP Morgan has raised its view on shares of TUI to overweight.
0845: London stocks have begun the session moving ever so slightly higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, with the largest gains to be seen in travel stocks. Morrison is the exception following the release of its half-year results; shares of the supermarket chain are now at the top of the leaderboard. Asian trading has been rather subdued this morning, with most of the main Asia Pacific benchmarks now moving slightly in positive territory, save for those in India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan. BoE Governor Carney is to attend a Treasury Committee hearing on the August Inflation report at 11:00 AM. Besides that, investors are expected to key off of the US weekly initial unemployment claims data out at 13:30. The Syrian rebel army has reportedly rebuffed a Russian proposal for Damascus to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile. FTSE 100 up six points at 6,594.