1630:Close Stocks saw some slight follow-through buying from last week as investors sentiment continued to be buoyed by Friday´s solid jobs report Stateside and the decisive measures taken by the European Central Bank last Thursday. The 'bullish' case for global growth prospects was further backed up by the latest Chinese export numbers due out early on in the session. Overseas sales of goods from the Asian giant rose by a slightly better than expected 7% year-on-year in May. Nevertheless, some analysts were pointing out that Beijing is in fact quite remiss to prop up economic activity too much. London's benchmark equity index ended trading 0.24% higher at 6,875.
1530: US markets have edged higher after the opening bell, rising 0.1-0.2% as the Dow and S&P 500
extend their record highs. Sentiment has been helped by a way of deals today Stateside, including Tyson Foods' $8.6bn offer for Hillshire Brands, Merck's $3.9bn acquisition of Idenix and Carl Icahn's purchase of a large stake in Family Dollar.
1254: US pharmaceuticals giant Merck&Co. has announced the acquisition of Idenix for approximately $3.85bn, sending shares
of the latter higher by 234% before the opening bell. The takeover target is focused on the development of drugs for the treatment of Hepatitis C.
1132: UK stocks are holding on to gains - FTSE 100 up 13 at 6,872 - on a quiet day for financial markets in the absence of any major economic data. US stock futures are pointing to losses of around 0.1% ahead of the opening bell in New York at 14:30, as the Dow and S&P 500 retreat after hitting record highs on Friday. The all-time highs came on the ninth-lowest volume day of the year with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) falling to its lowest level since February 2007.
0959: "Either it's a bargain or it's a sign," said Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets, regarding Lloyds' flotation of TSB priced 3-25% below book value. He also said that the sale of just 25% may have disappointed after recent press reports suggested that a 30% stake would be sold. Van Dulken asks: "Is TSB's pricing indicative of the IPO wave being close to breaking and the promise of a one free share for every 20 (so long as you hold for a year) not just designed to offset the lack of dividend for three years but also engineer some of the share price stability lacking in so many recent listings?"
0935: Financial stocks are weak with Lloyds Banking Group leading the decline, down 1.3%, after confirming an offer price of 220p-290p for its 25% stake in TSB. At the mid-point of the price range, TSB's market capitalisation would be approximately £1.275bn, well below book value of £1.6bn.
0846: Stocks have started the morning off on a strong note, led by gains in shares of easyJet and IAG, alongside an advance in the likes of Fresnillo and Randgold Resources. Lloyds is at the bottom of the pile after having announced further details regarding the flotation of its TSB unit. Chinese export data out yesterday showed exports rising at a 7% year-on-year pace in May, up from a 0.9% increase in April (consensus: 6.7%). To take note of, Morgan Stanley now sees the MPC carrying out its first increase in Bank Rate in the first quarter of 2015, instead of in the second quarter as before. The broker also now expects the BoE to raise rates three times next year and not just two. FTSE 100 up 9 to 6,867.40.