1630 Close: The FTSE 100 ended up 3.31 points to 6,734.74 following mixed manufacturing data. The UK purchasing managers index (PMI) slipped to 56.0 in October from a revised reading of 56.3 in September, below the consensus estimate of 56.1. China and US manufacturing data, however, showed expansion. Making headlines this afternoon was Barclays, which revealed it had suspended six FX traders while it investigated allegation of global currency market manipulation - it stressed there was no evidence of wrongdoing. Also the proposed strike by Post Office staff at larger branches has been called off, with renewed talks to begin next week, the Communication Workers Union said. The top riser on the FTSE was Vodafone following a report that AT&T executives are in talks for a potential takeover of the telecoms business.
1400: The US ISM manufacturing index for the month of October has come in at 56.4 versus 56.2 in September (Consensus: 55.1). The new orders gauge edged higher to reach the 60.6 point mark, versus a reading of 60.5 in the month before. The employment gauge slipped to 53.2 from 55.4 while that for order backlogs rose to 51.5 from 49.5.
1301: Transport group National Express has been announced as a pre-qualifier in the bid for the ScotRail franchise. The group issued a short statement saying: "We are delighted to have pre-qualified for the ScotRail franchise. We are focused on delivering a strong bid that meets Scotland's rightly ambitious aspirations for excellent customer service and enhances the railway's contribution to economic, environmental and social objectives." FTSE up seven points at 6,738.
1300: The US Markit manufacturing sector PMI nudged higher to 51.8 in October, after a reading of 51.1 in the month before. The ISM´s national manufacturing sector purchasing managers´ index for the month of October will be released at 15:00.
1205: The FTSE was slightly higher by the midday point, as investors weighed up UK and Chinese PMI data releases with mixed corporate earnings news. Meggitt is very firmly in the bottom spot, and weighing heavy with a 10 per cent decline, while Vodafone led the risers on the back of renewed takeover talk. Attention will now turn to the US, where the ISM's manufacturing index is expected to fall to 55.1 in October from 56.2 a month earlier. Later today, Fed officials will speak after the central bank this week announced it was keeping its monetary policy unchanged. The FTSE is up eight points.
1131: "The sharp drop in Eurozone consumer price inflation in October means that an ECB interest rate cut from 0.50 per cent to 0.25 per cent is now a very real possibility at its November 7th policy meeting. An interest rate cut could also exert some welcome downward pressure on the euro. However, the ECB may prefer to hold fire until its December meeting when it will have available the new Eurozone GDP and consumer price inflation forecasts from its staff. Either way, we expect the ECB to cut interest rates from 0.50 per cent to 0.25 per cent before the end of this year," Dr Howard Archer, Chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight is telling his clients today.
1121: Market commentary has traders focusing on today´s ISM manufacturing index Stateside to see if it confirms yesterday´s very strong print for the regional Chicago NAPM survey.
1111: The President of the US Federal Reserve bank of Philadelphia, Charless Plosser, has been cited as having said that he "could support setting a limit for the Fed´s bond buying programme".
1015: Shares in Vodafone are being lifted by growing speculation that US giant AT&T is plotting a takeover of the UK mobile company. Executives at AT&T were putting together plans for a possible takeover of the company next year, reported Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the situation.
0930: The UK Markit manufacturing sector PMI has come in at 56.0 for the month of October, just below the previous month´s print of 56.3 (Consensus: 56.1). IHS Global Insight is calling attention to the beneficial effect of the return to growth in the Eurozone economy on UK manufacturing.
0915: Nomura has lowered its price target on shares
of Royal Dutch Shell to 2,300p.
0900: Worth pointing out, the European single currency is slipping further in morning trading, and is now down 0.35 per cent to 1.3538, as market participants increasingly wager that falling inflation will force the ECB´s hand as regards further easing measures in the Eurozone.
0845: Shares of aerospace and defence manufacturing firm Meggitt are at the bottom of the pile on the benchmark FTSE 100 index after the company cut its full-year guidance. Shares of RBS are right behind. The majority state-owned lender this morning disclosed that core operating profit fell 14 per cent to 1.28bn pounds. Shares of Meggitt have been downgraded to neutral versus buy at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. For their part analysts at SocGen have cut Shell to hold versus buy. UK manufacturing PMI survey data for October will be released at 09:28. Markit´s China manufacturing PMI index rose to 50.9 points in October from 50.2 in the month before, a tad ahead of the previous month´s reading of 50.7. The FTSE 100 is essentially flat, off by just 0.31 points to 6,730.51.