1630:Close The FTSE ended up 66.57 points to 6625.39 as markets rejoiced at the Federal Reserve's shock decision to keep monetary stimulus unchanged. The Fed on late Wednesday announced it would maintain its 85bn dollars per month in bond purchases until it sees further economic recovery in the world's biggest economy. Economists had predicted an initial tapering of between 10bn to 15bn dollars at this meeting. Also providing a boost to stocks in early morning trading was the release of UK retail sales data which showed a 2.1 per cent year-on-year rise in August, versus forecasts for a gain of 3.3 per cent. On the company front, precious metal mining stocks were the biggest risers, with Randgold Resources in the lead, as the prices of those metals, such as gold and silver, rallied.
1500: US existing home sales increased to an annualised rate of 5.48m in August, from 5.39m in the month before [Consensus: 5.25]. The Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia's monthly manufacturing index improved to 22.3 points from 9.3 in August [Consensus: 10.3]. FTSE 100 up 70 to 6,628.
1330: Initial weekly US unemployment claims rose by 17,000 to 309,000 in the seven days ended on September 7th [Consensus: 330,000]. The country's current account deficit improved to -98.9bn dollars in the second quarter, from -104.9bn dollars for the previous three months [Consensus: -97.0bn dollars].
1248: Germany's anti-Euro AFD party is seen garnering enough votes to enter the Bundestag, the latest poll findings from INSA show.
1200: The CBI's total orders index for UK manufacturing in September rose to +9.0, from 0.0 the month before [Consensus: +2.0]. As an aside, economists at UBS have raised their forecasts for GDP growth in the UK to 1.5 per cent for 2013 (from 1.1 per cent) and to 2.3 per cent in 2014 (from 1.8 per cent) previously.
1130: Two top tier companies have made late morning announcements, namely Land Securities, which has agreed to purchase a further 36.5 per cent stake in the X-Leisure Unit Trust, taking its total ownership to 95 per cent, and Rolls-Royce which said Lufthansa has chosen its Trent XWB engines to power 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft, with the option for a further 30 aircraft. The FTSE is up 94 points at 6,653.
1030: Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is cracking down on the pensions market with a slate of reforms. The OFT said parts of the 275bn pound defined contribution pensions market were offering poor value for money for up to 5m savers. The OFT and the Pensions Regulator will assess which smaller trust-based schemes could be failing their members due to low levels of trustee engagement or capability.
0930: UK retail sales grew by 2.1 per cent year-on-year in August, versus forecasts for a gain of 3.3 per cent. Versus the previous month sales volumes dropped by 0.9 per cent, instead of rising by 0.4 per cent, as had been expected.
0905: Randgold Resources is leading the upside, tracking the gold price
higher, while fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management is also charging north. A study by the OFT has found that some defined contribution workplace pension schemes offer no value for money and has subsequently made a number of recommendations for the industry. Meanwhile, according to the ONS, UK productivity is lagging behind the rest of the G7 countries and is now worse than it was before the recession. Elsewhere, Greece has - for the first time since 2008 - registered quarterly growth. FTSE up 90 points.
0820: The FTSE opened up 90 points this morning after the Federal Reserve surprised with its decision to maintain its bond-buying strategy on the back of softer growth. Following its two-day policy meeting, the Fed announced it had decided to stick with its approach of buying 85m dollars of debt a month, but said it could still potentially scale back this sum by the end of the year. Back in the UK, a report on retail sales is forecast to show a 3.2 per cent year-on-year increase in August, up slightly from the previous month's 3.1 per cent jump.