1630: Close Stocks managed to hold onto their gains by the close, but not by much as indices Stateside fell into the red, erasing earlier climbs to around 6,686. Positive news about the UK housing situation helped drive stocks higher across several stocks, namely real estate, construction and materials, with Land Securities leading the charge. Over in the US, sentiment has turned negative, particularly towards biotech and web stocks. Investors are concerned about data out from China, where trade account figures for March were notably short of expectations. However, this was partially offset by jobless claims, which came in better than expected at their lowest level in close to seven years. The FTSE ended the session up 6.36 points at 6,641.97.
1523: The FTSE 100 is trading 17 points at higher at 6,653, holding on to gains despite a weak start on Wall Street. US stocks have fallen even though jobless claims dropped more than expected to a seven-year low of 300,000. Markets may be showing caution as first-quarter earnings seasons gets into full swing. Banking heavyweights JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co were both trading lower ahead of their results on Friday. Retailer Bed Bath & Beyond disappointed is a heavy faller today after the opening bell in New York as a broadly in-line set of fourth-quarter results are overshadowed by disappointing guidance for the current quarter.
1331: Three-month copper futures are flat at 6,626.50 dollars per metric tonne. That follows remarks from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ruling out major stimulus to fight short-term slowdowns.
1330: Initial weekly US jobless claims fell to 300,000, well below the 320,000 expected by some economists.
1239: Stocks have regained their positive bias after the BoE decision with the FTSE 100 now up 30 points again at 6,665 after a temporary stint in negative territory. The index has bounced strongly after hitting an intraday low of 6,620.39.
1200:The Bank of England decided to keep its policy on hold, as expected. The central bank maintained interest rates at the record low of 0.5 per cent and asset purchases at 375bn pounds.
1129: What has the recent strength in sterling been trying to tell us? "What Governor Carney has not", Markets.com Chief Economist Bill Hubard told Sharecast in an interview. Bank Rate will go up again starting in December. Hubard also mused on the possible convenience of the BoE adopting a discount rate system, akin to that of the US Federal Reserve, to help to better attend to the specific conditions present in each region of Britain. FTSE 100 up 6 to 6,642.
1115: Greece has closed its first debt sale since its bailout in 2010 and sold more than expected at lower costs thanks to high levels of investor demand. Athens sold 3bn euros in five-year Greek bonds with a final yield of 4.95 per cent, according to Bloomberg. The order book exceeded 20bn euros.
1037: UK stocks have quickly erased earlier gains with the Footsie now trading in the red, along with all the major benchmarks across Europe. The FTSE 100 is down 4.75 points at 6,630.86, well off its intraday high of 6,688.28. Market reports have cited technical selling and profit-taking as reasons behind the sharp move, as investors show caution ahead of the BoE decision at midday and jobless claims figures later on.
0940: M&S continues to rise strong although Associated British Foods moved into the top spot as it recovered from recent concerns about sugar following a warning from rival Suedzucker. Royal Mail extended yesterday's losses after it warned of a 'period of uncertainty' in the UK postal market as Ofcom investigates the company after TNT Post UK complained about price increases. In other company news, RBS has secured a landmark deal with the European Union last night, paving the way for it to eventually begin repaying dividends to shareholders. The big news of the day so far has been that Lord Paul Myners has quit his position as an independent director at Co-operative Group following significant opposition to his reform plans for the scandal-hit mutual. The FTSE rose 34.92 points to 6,670.53.
0833: UK stocks have begun the day with a moderate move higher following the sharp gains overnight on Wall Street. Markets' initial interpretation of the last Fed minutes was that they were a fair bit more dovish than expected. Those gains come despite the weak Chinese export data out this morning, which revealed a substantial and unexpected drop in overseas sales. Marks &Spencer is an early riser after unveiling a 1.9 per cent increase in quarterly general merchandise sales. FTSE 100 up 44 to 6,679.