1630: Close UK stocks closed broadly higher on Thursday, pushing the FTSE to a five-month high, led by drug-maker Shire which increased its full-year earnings guidance from 'double digit' to 'mid-to-high teens'. The gains were aided by US markets, which were in turn boosted by upbeat corporate results. Also in the US, initial jobless claims rose to 350,000 in the week to October 18th, missing expectations for 340,000 claims. Back on this side of the Atlantic, UK car production jumped 9.9 per cent to 140,888 in September, the SMMT said. The FTSE 100 closed up 38.70 points at 6,713.18.
1533: The UK market is set to close at a five-month high today after a decent start on Wall Street, helped by upbeat corporate results from a host of stocks including Ford and 3M. Heavyweights Microsoft and Amazon.com are also in demand ahead of their earnings releases after the close this evening. The FTSE 100 is up 30.52 points at 6,705; it has not closed above this level since May 28th when it finished at 6,762.01.
1400: US manufacturing activity eased this month and factory output contracted for the first time since late 2009. Markit said its preliminary Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to 51.1, the lowest since October 2012, from 52.8 in September. Output dropped for the first time in more than four years, with the subindex dipping to 49.5 from 55.3. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
1330: US initial jobless claims rose to 350,000 in the week to October 18th, compared to 362,000 the previous week. It missed expectations for 340,000 claims.
1240: UK car production rose to 140,888 in September, up 9.9 per cent from a year ago, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. It brings total output for 2013 to 1.12m cars. The number of cars produced for export climbed 9.3 per cent year-on-year, boosted by high demand in China, Russia and the US for luxury British brands.
1130: Shire is the top riser on the FTSE 100 after reporting third quarter earnings that beat consensus. Broker Jefferies International
issued a 'buy' rating for the stock, citing strong results and a positive outlook.
1044: Sweden's central bank - the Riksbank - has kept its main policy rate unchanged this morning, at 1.0 per cent. Furthermore, the monetary authority sees it at 1.15 per cent in the fourth quarter of next year, instead of the 1.25 per cent it expected in September. Norway's own central bank has also kept its main policy rate steady, at 1.0 per cent. As Bloomberg is pointing out, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Mexico have also eased since the start of September although a few nations have tightened. "We are at the cusp of another round of global monetary easing," Joachim Fels, co-chief global economist at Morgan Stanley has reportedly said, the newswire added.
0921: Sports Direct, the High Street retailer which impressed the market with its first-half trading update yesterday, sunk sharply after revealing today that MASH Holdings, a company wholly owned by founder and Deputy Chairman Mike Ashley, sold 16m shares
in the company at 662.5p each, equal to a 2.7 per cent stake. The 106m-pound sale reduced MASH's holding to 61.7 per cent. The FTSE 100 is up 14.53% at 6,689.01.
0858: The Markit Eurozone manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of September has come in at 51.3 points, versus 51.1 for the month before (Consensus: 51.4).
0838: Stocks have begun the session moving moderately higher despite the swoon seen on Wall Street yesterday evening, buoyed by a better than expected reading on Chinese manufacturing. The HSBC/Markit Chinese manufacturing sector purchasing mangers' index for the month of October printed at 50.9, versus the 50.4 expected by analysts. However, the overnight repo-rate in China increased by 27 basis points last night, to 4.07 per cent, adding to Wednesday's 70 basis point rise. Back in the UK, the CBI industrial trends survey for October will be released at 11:00. BoE Governor Mark Carney is due to give a speech in London at 17:45, followed by a press conference. Lloyds and Rolls Royce are in the lead early on in the Footsie. Shares of Sports Direct are at the bottom of the pile at the moment. FTSE 100 up 26 points to 6,700.