1630: Close Blue chips ended today's session flat, tipping into slightly negative territory in the final minute or two of trading. Investors weighed a strong set of results from SABMiller alongside a negative reaction to Royal Mail's outlook, upbeat Chinese manufacturing PMI data, a rise in UK GDP and a positive start to the day over in the US. GDP was estimated to have increased by 1.7 per cent in 2013, compared with 2012, un-revised from the preliminary calculations published on April 29th. The top tier index has closed 0.48 points lower at 6,820.56.
1542: "'Capital Spreads' grey market ahead of the Saga float currently stands a 210 - 230 (where 1 point is 10m pounds). Therefore we're currently estimating the Saga market cap to be at around 2.1 to 2.3bn pounds at the end of the first day of trading," says Nick Lewis, Head of Trading at Capital Spreads.
1541: Decision by Bank of India to relax some restrictions on gold imports may be behind the rise today in the yellow metal´s share price and shares
1512: Lloyds will launch the initial public offering of its TSB unit next week, Reuters reports.
1500: US existing home sales reached an annualised rate of 4.65m in April, a tad below forecasts of 4.69m.
1432: On Thursday AstraZeneca's largest shareholder ratcheted up the pressure on its board to engage with Pfizer over a possible sale.
1330: Initial unemployment claims for the week ending on May 17th increased by 28,000 to reach 326,000, according to the Department of Labour.
The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 310,000.
1233: 20 trains and 15 planes carrying Russian troops have left the border area with Ukraine, Interfax reports.
1200: Turkey´s central bank has unexpectedly lowered its benchmark repurchase rate to 9.5% from 10% on Thursday afternoon.
1132: The Thai Army has seized control of the country´s government.
1100: The CBI´s total trends index improved in May to 0 from -1 in the month before (consensus: 3)
0931: The public sector net borrowing requirement excluding financial interventions worsened to 7.4bn pounds in April, versus the 4.5bn pound deficit forecast by analysts.
0930: The UK´s gross domestic product expanded at a 0.8 per cent quarter-on-quarter pace during the first three months of the year, according to ONS, thus confirming preliminary estimates.
0835: Although the world is supposedly in the process of rebalancing away from emerging markets someone would seem to have forgotten to tell SAB Miller and the Chinese. At first glance the latest set of annual results from the former seem to have been propped up by emerging markets, while the latest manufacturing PMI figures out of China surprised sharply on the upside, rising to a five-month high. Regarding the latter, nonetheless, it must be kept in mind that analysts´ initial comments are in fact quite cautious. To take into account as well, reports indicate that China´s central bank has restarted lending to the country´s main policy banks in a bid to prop up the housing sector. Royal Mail shares are at the bottom of the pile, despite a "promising set of results", Richard Hunter, Head of Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented, as they were eclipsed by the company's clear concerns around Universal Service pricing." FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,842.56.