1630: Close Miners lifted the FTSE firmly higher today, getting the week off to a positive start after JPMorgan upgraded its rating for the European mining sector from 'underweight' to 'overweight' on the back of falling costs and improving demand from China. That came as the CBI warned that despite its expectations the economy should expand by more than previously forecast this year, it believes lawmakers risk derailing the recovery with political wrangling and short-termism. easyJet also rose ahead of its half-year results, which are due out tomorrow. The FTSE 100 closed up 37.18 points at 6,851.75.
1600: The European Central Bank has reportedly eased back on requests on banks in review of their businesses, four sources familiar with the process told Reuters. Requests for difficult-to-obtain details like VAT numbers of company borrowers, have been waived in order to make it easier for banks to meet tight deadlines of the review, the sources said.
1500: US stocks rallied as a pick up in deals activity lifted confidence in the recovery of the economy. Hillshire Brands Co. advanced after agreeing to buy Pinnacle Foods Inc. for about 6.6bn dollars including debt. RadioShack Corp. was higher after Standard General LP disclosed a higher stake in the retailer.
1400: Futures are pointing to a strong start on Wall Street in half an hour's time, with sentiment lifted by continued M&A activity across the globe. Samuel Fox from Spreadex said that the Dow could break an intraday record after finishing at an all-time closing high on Friday. 'There is little economic data released today which could be used as a catalyst for further uptrends, therefore it will be interesting to see if the Ukraine crisis has any impact once the US session begins,' he said.
1227: Shire is trading higher after announcing the acquisition of Lumena Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company with late stage rare disease pipeline assets. Shire is paying 260m dollars in cash upfront, plus a payment for net cash at closing, and near-term contingent milestone payments related to ongoing clinical trials.
1119: Cable continues to grind higher, with some market commentary linking the move to talk that capital markets are pricing in the possibility of a rate hike coming sooner than previously expected. Sterling is now at 1.6897 having hit an intraday high at 1.6905. FTSE 100 up 12 to 6,827.
1115: Shareas of Petrofac are moving higher despite several brokers today having cut their targets on the shares. Three of those however - Deutsche Bank, Investec and Citi - maintained their 'buy' recommendation on the stock. For their part, this is what analysts at Investec had to say: "We have reduced our forecasts below company guidance and cut our TP by 11%. However, the share price fall looks overdone. We still see valuation upside, although we understand if investors choose to stay on the beach pro tem."
1047: BSkyB is continuing to trade in the red after confirming that it is in talks with Fox about the potential acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. Analysts at Investec and Credit Suisse said this morning that some shareholders may be disappointed that a bid from Fox for BSkyB did not evolve. Meanwhile, Investec said that Italia and Deutschland are in 'weaker competitive positions with lower margins/returns vs Sky' and that BSkyB may have to suspend share buybacks if it does the deal.
0926: Moscow respects the choice of the population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hopes that implementation of the results of the referendums will proceed along civilised lines, the Kremlin has said, Interfax reports.
0916: Chinese new loans reached 774.7bn yuan in April, down from the 1,050bn seen in the month before. The consensus forecast was for 800bn yuan. FTSE 100 up 18 to 6,832.
0845: UK stocks have started the day moving slightly higher led by miners. Overnight Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country needs to adapt to a 'new normal' of slower growth. However, he added that the authorities must avoid risks and adopt "timely countermeasures to reduce potential negative effects," Xinhua reported. Barclays was near the bottom of the pile early on after analysts at RBC and Exane both downgraded their recommendations on the stock by one notch. Credit Suisse, on the other hand, revised its price target upwards, to 275p (from 260p), while reiterating its 'neutral' view. The Swiss broker´s new price target is a function of the now reduced leverage exposure and capital release from lesser risk weighted assets (RWA), 20p of non-core value and a lower cost of equity. FTSE 100 up 18 to 6,832.52.