1630:Close The FTSE ended the final session of the week in the red, dragged lower by poorly performing US markets and caution ahead of this weekend's German election. Dragging on US markets was the news that Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard has said the central bank may reduce stimulus at its next policy meeting. Vedanta weighed heavily, partly due to falling metal prices and also following the sale of 50,000 shares
by its Deputy Executive Chairman. Banks also performed poorly today, as investors scaled back risk. Meanwhile, Foxtons made a strong trading début today, with the UK real estate agent valued at 649m pounds. The FTSE closed down 28.96 points at 6,596.43.
1611: Economists at Citi have modified their interest rate forecast for the MPC. They now see a 2015 rate increase instead of their previous estimate for the first rise to come in 2017.
1422: Markets are still rangebound with traders refraining from building positions ahead of the weekend. Stock futures in New York are pointing to a slightly weak start on Wall Street. The FTSE 100 meanwhile is down 9.89 points at 6,615.5, though BP is making gains on rumours that US oil major Exxon could be interested in making a bid for its smaller rival. One analyst however suggested that these rumours should be taken 'with a pinch of salt' perhaps as a result of light news flow on Friday.
1330: St.Louis Fed President James Bullard has said that tapering by 10bn dollars or not doing so is not a "big thing." He has added that the economy is not that fragile. Bullard is a well-known dove on the FOMC. He tends to put great emphasis on the potential risks arising from low inflation readings.
1230: Stocks were trading broadly flat by Friday lunchtime as markets paused for breath in the aftermath of the Federal Reserve's surprise decision not to taper quantitative easing, and this weekend's German elections are giving some cause for concern. The FTSE is down nine points 6,616.
1145: RBS has completed the sale of 300m ordinary shares in Direct Line Insurance, following its announcement late Thursday that it planned to sell as much as 20 per cent of its stake in the insurance provider. The group announced today that the shares were sold at an average price of 210p a piece, raising 630m pounds, and reducing the group's stake to 28.5 per cent.
1056: Buying has picked up and the FTSE 100 is trading in positive territory, up 1.5 points at 6,626.89. Sweeteners group Tate & Lyle is the worst-performing stock on the blue-chip index this morning after Credit Suisse downgraded the shares from 'outperform' to 'neutral'. The bank raised concerns with a Mexican proposal to tax soft drinks which is thought to cut demand for high-fructose corn syrup. RBS is also in the red after Investec retained its 'sell' rating, saying that the third-quarter trading statement on November 1st 'may (once again) prove to be a poor time to own the shares!' Heading the other way is Sainsbury after Citigroup raised its recommendation to 'neutral', saying it expects a 'big improvement' in sales trends in the second quarter.
0937: On the subject of today's initial public offering from Foxtons Bloomberg TV is highlighting how year-to-date UK house prices are only higher by 0.8 per cent once the rises in London and the South-East are stripped out. FTSE 100 down 3 to 6,623.
0930: UK public sector net borrowing - excluding financial sector interventions - has clocked in at 13.2bn pounds for August (Consensus: 13.3bn pounds).
0845: UK stocks have begun the session with small losses in the run-up to this weekend's parliamentary elections in Germany. The data calendar is quite light, although at 09:30 the government will release its borrowing data [PSNBx] for August (consensus: 13.3bn pounds). Nevertheless, there is keen interest in the trio of Fed officials who are due to give speeches later in the day. Overnight the Reserve Bank of India surprised markets with a 25 basis point rise in its main policy rate, to 7.5 per cent from 7.25 per cent, although it unwound some short-term tightening measures. Worth pointing out, real estate agent Foxtons has priced its London listing at 230p per share on Friday, valuing the company at 649m pounds (1bn dollars). FTSE 100 down 9 to 6,615.