1630: Close The FTSE ended the final session of the week in positive territory after the US ISM manufacturing sector gauge increased to the 54.2 point level in February, comfortably ahead of the 52.5 reading expected. Things were looking less rosey for UK manufacturing, with output and new orders both registering falls since January. In company news, Capita was high riser having said that it has acquired debt recovery specialists iQor Holdings UK and subsidiaries (iQor UK) for an enterprise value of 42m pounds, while miners were dragging on the back of disappointing economic figures from China. The FTSE closed up 18 points at 6,379.
1500: US ISM manufacturing sector gauge increased to the 54.2 point level in February, comfortably ahead of the 52.5 reading expected. A strong rise has been seen in the new orders (up to 57.8 from 53.3), order backlog and export subindices.
1455: The University of Michigan´s final reading on consumer confidence edged up to 77.6 at the end of February (Consensus: 76.3).
1354: China's central government on Friday rolled out specific rules to further tighten the control of the property market amid expectations for climbing housing prices, according to the Xinhua news agency. FTSE 100 down 39 to 6,321.
1330: US personal incomes dropped by 3.6 per cent month-on-month (Consensus: -2.5 per cent) in January, although spending held up with a gain of 0.2 per cent, as expected.
1313: Sterling continues to be dragged lower by today´s manufacturing data and is now down by 0.84 per cent to 1.5037 versus the US dollar, its worst level since the first half of 2010. FTSE 100 47 to 6,314.
1117: Statistics out from the Bank of England today also show that sterling loans to private non-financial companies and households rose by 3bn pounds in that month. The data implies that lending to companies is finally "on the up," comment economists at Barclays Research, although they point out that the figures seem to be "somewhat at odds" with anecdotal reports, which had suggested the mortgage market would be the most immediate beneficiary of the Bank´s Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).
1022: The selling pressure is continuing to intensify ahead of the release of a barrage of economic indicators, this afternoon, Stateside, while data just out has shown Eurozone unemployment reaching a new record high of 11.9 per cent in January. Of interest, Rio Tinto Group is sliding after a person close to the matter said it plans to sell its Canadian iron-ore operations, Bloomberg reports. FTSE 100 down 26 to 6,335.
0930: The Markit/CIPS UK manufacturing sector purchasing managers´ index dropped to 47.9 points from 50.5 (revised from 50.8) in the month before. The consensus estimate was for a reading of 51. Other data releases on Friday have revealed that mortgage approvals fell to 54,700 in January (Consensus: 56,500) from 55,600 in the month before. FTSE 100 up 13 to 6,373.
0844: Some of the earliest broker commentary this morning on WPP, from Investec, is positive. Their analysts are telling clients that: "Outlook comments suggest circa +3 per cent like-for-like growth - as we expected though looks at the low end of the previous range suggested. WPP is attractive for macro bulls and given strong free-cash-flow generation which is being returned to shareholders by, amongst other things, strong dividend growth (16 per cent in fiscal year 2012)."
0824: UK stocks have managed to move slightly into the blue this morning despite the fall back seen in Chinese manufacturing sector data overnight which is now weighing on the shares
of miners. WPP is in the 'pole-position' after unveiling full year operating profits of 1.76bn pounds and confirming its full-year targets. Lloyds on the other hand is now one of the worst performers after registering a statutory loss of 570m pounds for last year mainly due to PPI provisions totalling £3.58m. FTSE 100 up 8 to 6,369.