1630: Close The FTSE retreated on Thursday, led by Amec after it gave a cautious outlook for 2013. Heading in the other direction was Rolls-Royce after its full-year results delivered eight per cent growth in underlying revenues and a 24 per cent increase in underlying profits. In economic news, home repossessions have fallen to their lowest number in five years, a report by the Council of Mortgage Lenders found. The FTSE closed down 32 points at 6,327.
1609: PT Bumi Resources rose to the highest in more than four months in Jakarta trading last night after it requested a takeover panel to expedite inquiry into the creation of parent coal company Bumi plc. The latter, however, is now registering the largest drop on the FTSE 350 on higher than usual trading volumes.
1508: Markets are reacting favourably to Aberdeen Asset Management's decision to acquire SVG Advisers and Artio Global Investors. This is Cannacord's take on the matter "Integration will as always remain a risk but Aberdeen in hindsight has been able to produce quick integration results. We give the benefit of the doubt to management here. Aberdeen currently trades at 15.7 times estimated 2013 earnings and 13.8 times 2014 estimates. Current acquisitions being earnings accretive of 4p this year will bring the 2013 price-to-earnings ratio down to 13 times. Keeping the previous price-to-earnings rating of 15 times would imply a share price of 460p. We upgrade to a Buy given the earnings per share expansion from current acquisitions."
1340: Samruk-Kazyna, a wealth fund owned by Kazakhstan, revealed Thursday that it paid 1.65bn dollars for its newly acquired 29.8 per cent stake in Kazzinc, a zinc producer controlled by commodities giant Glencore. The transaction means that Glencore has been unable to proceed with its intention to gain full ownership of Kazzinc, and retains a 69.61 per cent stake. The FTSE is down 32 points at 6,327.
1330: Initial US weekly unemployment claims dropped by 27,000 to 341,000, well below the 360,000 expected by the consensus.
1256: Shares of Rio have turned lower, apparently following comments from the company's Chief Executive as regards recent tensions between it and the Mongolian government. The latter is asking to revise the current shareholders agreement which is in place in relation to the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine. Once opened it will be the largest contributor to the land-locked nation's economy. The commercial start-up of operations at this project - provisionally slated for June/July - had been identified by analysts as the next major catalyst for the shares. For their part, Cannacord Genuity also pointed out this morning that "guidance for iron ore and copper was a little below our current production estimates for 2013 and may lead to some estimate revisions." FTSE 100 down 43 to 6,317.
1212: Shares of Next are now the second best performer on the Footsie after analysts at HSBC upgraded their view of on the shares
to overweight from neutral. Shares of Britvic are registering another large drop on the FTSE 350 today on the back of downgrades from at least three brokers, including Societe Generale and Barclays. Bumi is now the worst performer on the FTSE 350.
1147: Rating agency Standard&Poor's Kraemer has been cited as saying that a downgrade of the United Kingdom's sovereign debt rating is not a foregone conclusion, drawing an immediate reaction from the Gilt market. The ratings of Portugal, Italy, France and Spain could be this year. FTSE 100 down 43 to 6,317.
1005: The Footsie has slumped into the red (down 16 points at 6,343) after the release of the Eurozone GDP figure. After the sharper-than-expected contraction in the French, Italian and German economies in the fourth quarter (announced earlier this morning), it came as no surprise that Eurozone GDP also missed estimates, contracting by 0.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter in the last three months of 2012, worse the 0.4 per cent decline expected. This is also substantially worse than the 0.1 per cent contraction seen in the third quarter and marks the sharpest rate of contraction since the first quarter of 2009.
0905: The FTSE 100 is currently trading flat at 6,359. Stocks continue to trade cautiously as traders digest a raft of economic data. Overnight, it was announced that Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 0.4 per cent on an annualised basis (consensus forecasts were for 0.4 per cent growth). Eurozone fourth-quarter GDP data is also due out later this morning at 10:00 and could surprise to the downside after both French and German GDP declined at a worse-than-expected rate (announced this morning).
0834: UK stocks have begun today´s session with the slightest of retreats, although investors´ eyes seem to be trained on Sterling. In its cross with the US dollar
the currency unit has lost the 1.55 level and is now moving towards key short-term levels of technical support. This is what analysts at Commerzbank had to say this morning: "GBP/USD remains under pressure following its break below the 1.5642 2009-2013 uptrend. It remains directly offered below its 20 day moving average at 1.5737 and the break lower has introduced scope to 1.5271/35, the 2012 low. This is also the 50 per cent retracement of the move since 2009 located here. This will be a key magnet for price." Back on the equities front, Rio Tinto shares are the best performers now on the Footsie, despite the company unveiling its first annual loss in at least 21 years. Nevertheless, the results beat expectations by a wide margin. AMEC, on the other hand, is leading on the downside this morning after providing a cautious outlook for the coming year. FTSE 100 down 7 to 6,352.