1630: Close UK stocks soared back into positive territory in today's session, erasing all of yesterday's losses after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces which had been on military manouvres in Western Russia to return to their bases, calming a bit the tensions generated by its increased military presence near the border of Ukraine. In the UK, it was announced that the construction sector slipped in February, with the PMI registering 62.6, down from the 77-month high of 64.6 recorded in January, although this was only slightly below consensus forecasts. Over in the Eurozone, the producer price index fell by 0.3 per cent over the month (-1.4 per cent year-on-year) during January. The FTSE 100 ended the day up 115.42 points at 6,823.77, equal to a climb of 1.72 per cent.
1600: Shares of BP and Tullow Oil are drifting towards the bottom of the leaderboard on the top-flight index, apparently tracking Brent crude futures lower as risk aversion moves down a notch. Front month Brent crude futures are 1.7 per cent lower at 109.32 dollars per barrel on the ICE.
1559: Shares of Perform and Pace are registering sharp upside moves out on the FTSE 250.
1316: "[...] according to leaked documents, the UK government would not support sanctions that would curb trade with Russia," writes Capital Economics in a note to clients. In that analysis the think-tank goes on to explain why a sharp rise in oil prices
is not a risk that should trouble investors, citing the above report as one reason. In any case, a 10 per cent rise in oil prices would only lead to a one percentage point increase in CPI if they held at that higher level for a year.
1259: Shares of Devro are barely managing to hold on to a line of a technical support towards their most recent lows, around the 279p mark. Analysts at Panmure Gordon today downgraded the shares
to 'hold' from 'buy' and set a 350p target price.
1138: "A marked dip in producer prices in January will do little to ease concerns over persistently very low Eurozone inflation and maintains pressure for ECB action at its March 6th policy meeting," writes Dr.Howard Archer, Chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight. Dr. Archer believes the most likely course of action are measures aimed at increasing liquidity.
1115: Speaking at a press conference Russia´s President has indicated that the country does not aim to annex Ukraine. The press conference is ongoing now via RT.com.
1036: Panmure Gordon has raised its target price for Ashtead from 971p to 1,047p and retained its 'buy' rating, following 'another sparkling update' from the equipment rental business. Jefferies has done much the same, lifting its target on the stock to 1,050p from 1,000p.
1014: Credit Suisse has initiated coverage of Royal Mail with an 'underperform' rating, alongside a target price of 530p, indicating that "for multiples in line with peers and a mid-range financial performance, we see better opportunities elsewhere in the sector". FTSE 100 up 75 to 6,783.
0935: The Markit PMI for the UK´s construction sector slipped to a reading of 62.6 in February from a reading of 64.6 in the month before (consensus: 63.2).
0845: Stocks have started the day with a large bounce, following reports that Russia ordered military units which had taken part in excercises in the Leningrad region to return to their bases, as scheduled. There had apparently been fears in some quarters that a part of those forces might be redeployed towards Ukraine. Ashtead is in the lead early on after raising its full year targets. Fresnillo and Randgold are now at the bottom of the pile, with their attraction as safe havens having dimmed a little as a result of the above. BP was knocked lower by a negative appeals court ruling Stateside. Royal Mail has been started at ´underperform´by analysts at Credit Suisse. UK Construction PMI figures are due out shortly, at 09:30. FTSE 100 up 71 to 6,780.