1630: Close The FTSE closed 31 points lower today, dragged down by Aberdeen Asset Management as investors engaged in a round of profit taking, and SSE as Ofgem introduced its reformed tariff policy. Gold miners were given a boost as the price of the commodity charged higher, while retailers put in a decent performance as several department stores reported strong festive trading. Meanwhile, data revealed UK manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in December; the PMI fell to 57.3 from 58.1 in November, missing the forecast of 58.2. The FTSE closed down 31.18 points at 6,717.91.
1533: The ISM manufacturing index in the US fell from 57.3 to 57 in December but still came in ahead of the 56.8 consensus forecast. Senior US Economist Paul Dale from Capital Economics said: 'Despite the tiny fall [...] the survey suggests that the economy has plenty of momentum heading into the new year.' The FTSE 100 is down 19.02 points at 6,730.07.
1400: US initial jobless claims dropped to 339,000 in the week to December 28th from 341,000 the previous week. Economists had expected 344,000 claims. Barclays Research said: "We expect further stabilisation in claims in the coming weeks as the seasonal effects continue to fade". The FTSE 100 is now down 17.87 points to 6731.22.
1300: US stocks look set to follow in the FTSE's footsteps with futures predicting a negative start across the board Stateside, retreating from new record highs achieved on Tuesday before markets shut for the New Year holiday. Investors across the globe are digesting China's unimpressive manufacturing data and are awaiting reports from the US on both manufacturing and jobless claims. The FTSE 100 is now down 19 points at 6,730.
1210: Channel 5 owner Richard Desmond is considering putting the broadcaster on the market for more than 700m pounds, reports have claimed. Desmond, whose company Northern & Shell bought the channel for 103.5m pounds in 2010, successfully returned the business to profit during the three-and-a-half years it has been under his ownership.
1119: Miners are now among the worst performers in London despite an increase in metals prices, as traders continue to digest the weak manufacturing PMIs out from the UK and China. Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Antofagasta are all firmly in the red. Ophir Energy is the big mover of the day, down over six per cent, after saying it failed to discover oil or gas in the first of its much-anticipated "high impact" wells drilled offshore Tanzania in 2014. Next is one of the highest risers ahead of its Christmas trading update tomorrow, with sentiment lifted by recent strong fashion performances by unlisted department stores John Lewis and House of Fraser. The FTSE 100 is down 34.68 at 6,714.41.
1033: Ofgem has said its 'simpler, clearer, fairer reforms' to energy tariffs will restore faith among customers. The new tariffs, under which suppliers are limited to four main types per customer, came into effect yesterday. Elsewhere, PM David Cameron revealed that more than 6,000 people applied for a mortgage via the government's Help to Buy scheme since its launch three months ago. Figures showed the average value of the houses being bought were £160,000 with monthly repayments of around 900 pounds. The FTSE 100 is down 31 points at 6,718.
0930: UK manufacturing activity slowed in December with the purchasing manager's index falling to 57.3 from 58.1 in November. Economists had pencilled in a reading of 58.2. However, it will still above the 50 level that signals expansion.
0900: Eurozone manufacturing activity grew in line with expectations last month with the purchasing managers' index (PMI) at 52.7, up from 51.6 in November. Germany's PMI jumped to 54.3 in December from 52.7 the prior month, beating the 54.2 forecast. A reading above 50 signals expansion. The FTSE was down 17.65 points to 6731.44.
0829: Markets have started the first session of 2014 in the red after two separate surveys (official government data as well as HSBC/Markit figures) showed that activity growth in China's manufacturing sector had slowed during December. Nevertheless, retailers are performing well today, recovering after a Debenhams-inspired sell-off on Tuesday following its profit warning. The company announced this morning that its CFO would be stepping down. Sentiment in the industry has recovered slightly after retail bellwether John Lewis reported strong sales in the lead-up to Christmas. The FTSE 100 is down 18.21 points at 6,730.88.