1630:Close Stocks ended today with strong gains, driven by both Hammerson and RSA Insurance on what has been a quiet day for markets. Strong lending data from China released over the weekend drove stocks higher, as did the news Matteo Renzi has been asked to form a new government, replacing Enrico Letta, who stood down last week. In the UK, February house prices rose 3.3 per cent on January, marking the strongest monthly increase since October 2012. Tomorrow will see the release of monthly UK inflation figures, which are expected to show that January consumer prices held steady at two per cent. The FTSE 100 settled 72.38 points higher at 6,736.
1354: Analysts at Numis have upped their price target on shares
of Randgold Resources to 55 pounds from 50 beforehand.
1353: Cannacord Genuity is pointing out to clients what the advantages of a share placement, versus a rights issue, are. Namely, while it does not give existing shareholders any rights it can be done much more quickly and typically at a much smaller discount to the existing price. That translates into a smaller dilution as a result.
1255: Three former employees of Barclays have been charged by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in connection with its investigation into the manipulation of Libor, the inter-bank lending rate. The charges, all of which are for conspiracy to defraud, relate to events between June 1st 2005 and August 31st 2007. The FTSE is up 70 points at 6,734.
1220: Shares in bookmaker William Hill are firmly in the red following multiple reports the company is looking to replace its Chief Executive a year earlier than planned. Incumbent Ralph Topping had been due to leave at the end of 2015, but it has now been speculated he will exit his post this year. The FTSE 100 is up 70 points at 6733.
1145: The FTSE has stormed ahead driven by Chinese lending data, political events in Italy, and hopes for a turnaround by RSA Insurance. UK house prices rose in February as demand continued to outpace supply, with the average asking prices of homes reaching £251.964 this month, up 3.3% on January and the strongest monthly increase since October 2012.
1107: Matteo Renzi has officially been asked to form a new government, the BBC reports.
0911: RSA Insurance is topping the leaderboard, boosted by a report in the Financial Times which said the company is set to raise up to £350m in an emergency share sale that would mean it avoids a rights issue. Recently appointed Chief, Stephen Hester, has reportedly been approached by several major investors who have indicated their support for such a move. The group's shares have suffered since it was revealed accounting problems in Ireland had resulted in a huge hole in its balance sheet. FTSE 100 up 31 points at 6,694.76.
0853: Citi increases target price on Randgold Resources from 3,544p to 4,897p, upgrading to neutral. Polymetal and African Bariick Gold are near the top of the leaderboard on the FTSE 250 at the moment. RSA cut to 'neutral' versus 'outperform' at Exane.
0830: The Footsie is moderately outperforming its peers over on the continent on Monday morning. Stocks are benefitting from the surprisingly strong January lending figures released in China on Saturday. However, there is quite a bit of market commentary out and about regarding how recent record levels of demand for iron-ore in the Asian giant may in fact be for use as collateral in raising credit. Recent increased demand from China, and short covering, are also seen by some as the main factors behind the rally in gold prices. Barclays Research, for one, expects it to eventually flounder. Speaking of which, Randgold is leading gains out on the Footsie. Over the weekend the FT wrote about the possibility that Glencore might eventually scoop up some of Anglo American's assets in South Africa. FTSE 100 up 31 to 6,695.