1630: Close The FTSE ended today's session in negative territory, dragged lower by the aerospace and defence sector, largely thanks to Rolls-Royce, while Tate&Lyle also pulled the index into the red on the back of its poor outlook. On the macro front, a UK house price survey slipped to 53 last month from a level of 56 at the end of last year. Economists had been calling for a small rise to 57. Over in the US, initial weekly unemployment claims increased by 8,000 to reach 339,000, above the consensus of 330,000. Stocks are higher across the board. The FTSE 100 closed 15.61 points lower at 6,659.42.
1600: Rexam has agreed to buy a 51 per cent stake in beverage can maker United Arab Can Manufacturing (UAC) for 122m dollars.
1559: Rio Tinto has been downgraded to 'neutral' versus 'buy' at Bank of America.
1330: US retail sales dropped by 0.4 per cent over the month in January (consensus: 0.0 per cent). The previous month's estimate has been revised down significantly as well, to show a fall of 0.1 per cent. US unemployment claims increased to 339,000 (consensus: 330,000).
1304: Jefferies has cut its rating for fund manager Aberdeen from 'hold' to 'underperform', saying that the recent acquisition of Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) will not compensate for the slowdown in the group's main equities business. FTSE 100 down 43 to 6,632.
1231: Shire rises after fiscal year results. CFO to step down on March 1st. The company's earnings per share came in 12 per cent ahead of analysts' calculations, on the back of revenues which were between two to three per cent above estimates.
1145: Market forecasts for Bank Rate to remain on hold until about the spring of next year, and then rise to around two per cent by the end of 2016, are "reasonable", the Bank of England's Chief Economist Spencer Dale said in a BBC Radio 5 interview this morning.
1130: Judged on the basis of its 'tone' Credit Suisse believes yesterday's Inflation Report is broadly consistent with an initial Bank rate hike in the first quarter of 2015.
1039: International Airlines Group announced that its Spanish subsidiary Iberia has reached an agreement, in principle, with its pilots' union SEPLA, to introduce permanent structural change and improve the airline's viability.
1038: UBS now sees first rate hike from BoE arriving in the first quarter of 2015, instead of in the third. Bank Rate is now projected to end that year at 1.5 per cent, instead of 1.0 per cent.
0910: "Deutsche Bank reckons that Rio could still manage 4 per cent dividend growth in 2015 even if iron ore prices sink to $80 a tonne, from about $120 now," the Financial Times' Lex column explains.
0828: UK shares
are down after the opening bell as shares in Tate&Lyle and Rolls Royce plummet following their latest figures. Stock in Imperial Tobacco, on the other hand, is on the up after its first quarter numbers. Kingfisher has been upgraded to 'buy' from 'neutral' at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Of great importance, Bank of England Chief Economist Spencer Dale has reportedly labelled expectations for a first interest rate hike in 2015 as 'reasonable'. Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Sanford Bernstein analysts gave a glowing review of the outlook for Rio Tinto, highlighting the company's strong cash generation. Over on the Continent, spirits maker Pernod Ricard has reported an 18 per cent drop in its sales in China. In parallel, some commentators linked weak jobs data overnight in Australia to similarly weak demand for exports out of China. FTSE 100 down 26 to 6,649.