1630:Close The Footsie ended today's session slightly higher after what has been a light session with Wall St closed and little out in the way of macro news. The gains were being driven by miners, with a strong performance seen by Randgold after it announced late on that the Kibali gold mine, in which it holds a 45 per cent stake, has 'more than' met its objectives. Meanwhile, it was reported that the IMF is set to upgrade its growth forecast for the UK more than any other economy, while according to Rightmove, in January UK house prices enjoyed the strongest ever start to a new year and rose year-on year at the fastest rate since November 2007. The FTSE 100 closed up 7.43 points at 6,836.73.
1531: Redburn says that Weir's share price could rise to as much as 2,600p in 12 months' time.
1529: Shares of intelligent search engine for video and audio content Blinkx are plumbing new lows for the year, and are now down by almost 8 per cent in afternoon trading, after the firm's founder, Suranga Chandratillake, announced that he is becoming a general partner at Balderton Capital. Although he will remain Chief Strategy Officer at Blinkx he will be moving back to London from Silicon Valley, where he has lived for the last 10 years. FTSE 100 up 1 to 6,831.
1458: Polymetal is tracking recent gains in the prices of precious metals. The technical aspect of its shares
has improved somewhat of late, with the stock price building successively higher lows, surmise technical analysts at Sharecast. Nonetheless, for the moment it continues to trade below its 200-day moving average, they add.
1312: In a note issued overnight analysts at Jefferies write that they do not find shares of Lloyds attractive at current levels of valuation, what with a 1.1 times' tangible book value (TBV)/share for a return on tangible equity (RoTE) of 11 per cent. They also believe the return to dividend payments on common shares "may be attenuated" when and as compared to analysts' estimates.
1308: Bank of Georgia is now leading fallers on the FSTE 250, slipping back down towards its 50-day moving average, albeit after a fantastic run.
1309: Shares of Randgold Resources are again bouncing back today, but continue to trade far below their 200-day moving average for the moment.
1143: Credit Suisse ups Hargreaves Lansdown to neutral from underpeform. The Swiss broker decision is based on its "greater certainty" about Hargreaves' ability to offset lower margins with increased net inflows, given the competitiveness of its new pricing model. Given the longer duration - or sensitivity to changes in interest rates - of the firm's assets it values the company using a discounted cash-flow model which yields a price target of 1,470p (versus 790p beforehand).
1118: Ernst and Young ITEM Club has raised its forecast for UK GDP growth in 2014 to 2.7 per cent. However, and perhaps more poignantly, the risk exists that the Bank of England might abort the recovery, before it has reached escape velocity, if it continues to focus on employment even as real wages continue to fall. FTSE 100 up 3 to 6,832.
1108: Michael van Dulken, at Accendo Markets, is attributing the advance in shares of Weir to multiple factors, including hopes of the shale revolution to be reproduced in other geographies and an announcement from US oilfield services
outfit of its biggest gain in nine months in its count of US oil rigs.
1039: Shares in platinum producer Lonmin are holding up well despite announcing that it has received a 48-hour notice from the AMCU of its intention to stage a strike starting Thursday. This follows a meeting with the union in December which failed to resolve negotiations regarding wage demands. The stock is up 0.79 per cent.
0949: Commenting on today's economic figures out of China Capital Economics concludes that growth is set to continue slowing throughout 2014 as authorities act to reign in credit growth and investment cools down. They expect GDP to end the year with an expansion of seven per cent as a substantial acceleration in consumption is unlikely over the coming year. To take into account, Capital Economics highlights how China's statistics bureau chief - Ma Jiantang - today said his team is now also using alternative methods, such as electricity production and freight volumes to cross-check the GDP data. Growth in the first quarter may be flattered by base effects, he think-tank further points out.
0850: Over the weekend some observers have been emphasising the poor performance put in by US stocks year-to-date in comparison to Treasury bonds, further musing that this might be a harbinger of what one can expect in 2014. Also worth pointing out, in its latest edition The Economist attributed part of the recent interest in Eurozone periphery bonds to deflation worries, which would be a boon to investors.
0828: UK stocks have started the day slightly lower, weighed down by falls in shares of RBS and Barclays. That follows a mixed close to trading on Wall Street, last Friday, and slightly weaker than expected economic data out of China this morning. Analysts at JP Morgan today lowered their view on stock of RBS to 'underweight' from 'neutral', although they did reiterate their 'overweight' stance on shares of Barclays. To take into account as well, European rival Deutsche bank is falling 5 per cent in opening trades after issuing a profit warning. US markets will remain closed on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King day, which should translate into lower than usual trading volumes and heightened volatility. FTSE 100 down 4 to 6,825.