1630: Close The FTSE ended today's session marginally higher, tracking gains in the US as the news-flow regarding the Syria crisis continues to ebb and flow. Airline stocks were suffering today after Ryanair issued a warning on annual profits. In UK economic news, the service sector expanded more than expected in August, and at the fastest rate in almost seven years, as new business growth reached a record high. The FTSE closed up six points at 6,475.
1612: The latest reports indicate that the US Senate panel vote on Syria could be delayed, perhaps until as late as September 12th. Of interest, analysts at Citi have lowered their view on US equities to underweight while at the same time upgrading UK and emerging market ones.
1414: US President Obama is now speaking and defending the need to act on Syria. He has indicated that his credibility is on the line. FTSE 100 down 36 to 6,432.
1330: The US trade deficit worsened to -39.1bn dollars in July, after a revised short-fall of -34.5bn dollars in the month before. The consensus estimate had been for a negative reading of -38.6bn dollars.
1102: Commenting on today's UK PMI numbers, Barclays Research is pointing out the fall back seen in the employment sub-index, which may vindicate the MPC's view that hiring may not come back so strongly as some expect despite any improvement in growth. Capital Economics is of much the same opinion, saying that: "This supports our, and the MPC's, view that rising productivity will accommodate much of the recovery in demand, with the unemployment rate taking a stubbornly long time to fall to the Bank's 7 per cent threshold." However, Markit does indicate that "capacity continued to be tested," adding that "capacity pressures were also reported to be the result of insufficient employee numbers."
1005: The number of UK workers earning below the so-called living wage has risen to 4.8m from 3.4m in 2009, a think tank has warned. The figure represents 20 per cent of employees in the nation with 25 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men paid below the living wage in April last year. FTSE down 32 points.
1000: Eurozone gross domestic product grew at a 0.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter pace in the second quarter, as expected. Retail sales on the other hand rose by 0.1 per cent, a tent of a percentage point less than forecast. That was made up however by an upwards revisions to the prior month's numbers.
0930: The UK service sector purchasing managers' index rose to 60.5 in August after a reading of 60.2 in the month before (Consensus: 59.0). The figures add to other evidence, at least for now, that the British economy is recovering quicker than expected. The new business gauge expanded at its fastest in over 16 years. "If there is one moment at which point some economic models can fall short it is at turning pints in the economic cycle as the underlying correlations between the macroeconomic variables change. We may be seeing a little of this at the moment," muses Alex Bueso, Sharecast Editor in Chief.
0919: UBS has slightly pared its exposure to the UK real estate sector but still have a small overweight position.
0858: The Eurozone's purchasing managers' index for the month of August slipped to 50.7 at the end of the month, after a preliminary print of 51.0 (Consensus: 51.0).
0830: London equities have started lower, as have those on the other side of the channel, following a profit warning from low-cost-carrier Ryanair. The firm referenced increasing capacity in several markets and weakness in Europe in general as well as in sterling as the main culprits. Hargreaves Lansdown is off following its full-year results. The Eurozone service sector purchasing managers' index [PMI] is due out at 08:58, followed by UK service sector data at 09:30. The latter will be closely watched in the run-up to the result of tomorrow's policy decision by the Monetary Policy Committee [MPC]. Speaking of which, Goldman Sachs's Chief UK economist - Kevin Daly - was just out on Bloomberg TV, speaking amongst other things of the possibility for a faster drop in British unemployment should economic data continue to come in as positively as recently. As an aside, Morgan Stanley has today downgraded diversified European financials to neutral from overweight (telecommunications and insurance have been upgraded). Their 2013 target for the Footsie goes to 7,170 from 7,000. FTSE 100 down 23 to 6,445.