1630: Close The FTSE closed down 20 points today amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve´s monetary policy. In the UK, energy firms suffered as Labour pledged to enforce the freezing of energy bills if voted back into power. Carnival was a heavy faller one day after it posted poor Q3 results. Meanwhile, ICAP agreed to pay 55m pounds to UK and US regulators as part of the long-running scandal over the alleged manipulation of LIBOR by three former employees between 2006 and 2011. In the US, markets are making modest gains on the back of a few pieces of upbeat data. The FTSE closed down 19.93 points at 6,551.53.
1515: US existing home sales rose to an annualised rate of 421,000 in August, versus the 420,000 expected by economists.
1330: US durable goods orders rose by 0.1 per cent over the month in August, versus the drop of 0.2 per cent which was expected. However, the previous month´s change was revised down to show a fall of 8.1 per cent month-on-month, instead of the 7.3 per cent drop initially reported. Even so, the key non-defence capital goods, excluding aircraft, orders series showed a 1.5 per cent rise on the month - a solid outcome. FTSE 100 down 17 to 6,555.
1255: Supporting recent signs of an improving economy, a survey by Superyacht UK has shown that sales of the luxury vessels climbed 3.9 per cent in the 2012/13 financial year, having contracted 2.2 per cent the previous year. In company news, National Express has won a 15-year contract to operate two regional rail services in Germany from December 2015. The deal, which is worth 1.35bn pounds, was set to be signed on September 25th at Wuppertahl's conference centre. The FTSE is down 25 points at 6,546
1200: Markets were choppy on Wednesday but trading was firmly in the red by midday as investors awaited economic data from the US amid the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Federal Reserve monetary policy. Elsewhere, a one-day campaign has been launched to encourage UK pubs and restaurants to slash their food prices by 7.5 per cent today in a protest against the discrepancy in the VAT on food sales between eateries and supermarkets. Meanwhile, firefighters have just now begun a four-hour strike in protest over pension issues.
1100: The CBI´s reported sales balance for September rose to 34.0 from 27.0 in the month before (Consensus: 23.0). Meanwhile, Post Office staff are set to hold their 12th round of strike action on Monday 30th, the Communication Workers Union has announced. The dispute is over closures, franchising, job losses and pay and has been ongoing since Easter.
1041: In a research note distributed to clients this morning the global equity strategy team at Credit Suisse highlighted some of the key topics of their recent marketing trips around Europe and the US. Interestingly, and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, they reference that clients are "correctly far less pessimistic" on Spain. Those same clients are also described as still very negative on Italy and receptive to a more positive view on France. Most important of all however, "Nearly everyone agrees with the UK recovery - but doubt its longevity beyond the next election," they wrote.
0944: Markets are staging a small intra-day rally which has left traders puzzled as to the immediate trigger behind the move. Also worth noting are what appear to be the solid results seen at today´s Italian Treasury auction. As well, the European Central Bank´s Hansson has reportedly indicated that the central bank can keep rates low given the moderate recovery. For some analysts the main reason for the move are the remarks attributed by Die Zeit to Germany´s Finance Minister - Wolfgang Schaeuble - against tax increases.
0832: The Footsie seems to be keyeing off of the mixed close seen on Wall Street yesterday evening, with shares
of Carnival leading the way lower following the poor quarterly results put out by the cruise line operator on Tuesday afternoon. Furthermore, analysts at Morgan Stanley have downgraded the company´s shares to 'underweight.' There are no data releases or policy speeches scheduled for today in the UK. Significantly, speaking at the United Nations US President Obama has revived his country´s diplomatic efforts with Iran. In parallel, the US Senate is demanding that Obama address 'currency manipulation' as a part of trade negotiations with 12 Pacific nations, the FT reports this morning. US durable goods orders and new home sales data are slated for release this afternoon. FTSE 100 down 16 to 6,555.