1630: Close London-listed stocks closed today's session on a positive note, with gains being led by Lloyds as investors welcomed a stronger-than-expected rise in house prices and better-than-forecast UK manufacturing data. UK manufacturing PMI rose to a five-month high of 57.3 in April, up from 55.8 in March and ahead of the consensus forecast of 55.4, while house prices rose 1.2 per cent in April. In the States, consumer spending and incomes both increased in March, with growth accelerating from the prior month. The FTSE 100 closed up 28.84 points at 6,808.87.
1528: Stock in serviced office-specialist Regus is now the second worst performer on the FTSE 250 and retreating toward their 200-day moving average at around 200p.
1525: Despite all the recent goings-on stock in Bank of Georgia is today trading near its highs, around 2,702p.
1500: The US ISM manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index rose to 54.9 points in April, ahead of the previous month's reading of 53.7 (consensus: 54.3). FTSE 100 up 18 to 6,798.
1456: Analysts at Numis believe Weir Group continues to be a high quality business with leading market positions, excellent margins and strong cash generation. However, given 26 per cent year-to-date rise in the shares
the broker has downgraded the company to 'hold'.
1435: Stock in BG Group has rallied on hopes of either a corporate takeover or accelerated asset disposals. However, analysts at Investec believe that the former is unlikely while the latter may "also prove difficult though given the current glut of sellers". FTSE 100 up 25 to 6,806.
1400: There has been an unexpected rise in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US, according to Labor Department figures. The data showed a rise of 14,000 to 344,000, hitting its highest level since the end of February. Claims had been expected by the consensus to decline to 320,000. Back in the UK, Intu Properties has announced the completion of its acquisition of a shopping centre, a retail park, as well as a 50 per cent stake in the Westfield Merry Hill shopping centre. The group's target price was today lifted by broker Jefferies from 270p to 277p. The FTSE 100 was up 21.30 points at 6,801.33.
1218: Shire has jumped after the release of its first-quarter results which showed that non-GAAP diluted EPS rose 38 per cent to 2.36 dollars, ahead of the 2.21 dollars forecast. The company also increased its guidance for the full year, saying that non-GAAP EPS percentage growth will be in the mid-to-high twenties. Gains in London have been trimmed slightly but the FTSE 100 still remains near the 6,800 mark, a level which it has not closed above since March 4th. The FTSE 100 is up 14.4 at 6,794.43.
0930: The UK Markit manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index rose to 57.3 in April, from 55.3 in the month before. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 55.4. Sterling is now rising by 0.20 per cent to 1.6907 versus the US dollar.
0833: UK stocks have started the day higher, keying off of the fresh record high reached overnight by the Dow Jones Industrials. That comes after another record high in the Dow Jones Transport index, last week, a good signal for markets according to followers of the 'Dow Theory'. Nonetheless, trading conditions are expected to be rather muted today given that traders are waiting on tomorrow's key US non-farm payrolls data. As well, several European bourses will be closed for trading today. The London market, on the other hand, has seen a raft of corporate results out this morning, including from firms such as: Lloyds, BSkyB, Schroders or Weir Group. Important: Shares of Royal Dutch Shell yesterday broke through their 2012 highs on the back of respectable trading volumes. UK manufacturing survey data is due out at 09:30. Sterling is moving higher and is up by 0.15 per cent to 1.6888, as is the euro. FTSE 100 up 19 to 6,799.40.