1630: Close UK stocks staged a small rebound towards the end of the session but still finished firmly in the red on the back of worries about rising tensions between Russia and the West as leaders consider deepening sanctions on Moscow. Wall Street indices are now trading with steep losses with the Dow registering triple-digit declines with quarterly results from Amazon, Ford and Visa weighing on sentiment. The FTSE 100 closed down 24.82 points at 6,678.18.
1626: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has threatened additional sanctions against Russian officials. In parallel, several ex-Soviet republics - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - have called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the border areas near Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reports.
1455: The University of Michigan's final reading on US consumer confidence improved to the 84.1 point mark at the end of April from the preliminary reading of 82.6. The consensus estimate had been for a reading of 83. At the end of march the index had stood at 80.
1400: Top UK investors in RBS, including Legal&General, Standard Life and Prudential, are to file a 2bn dollar
lawsuit against RBS, Reuters reports.
1342: A weekly close in GBP/USD above 1.6823 may see it move to 1.7030 next...a first indication so to speak perhaps, Arek Okrasa tells Sharecast.
1221: US stock futures are pointing to losses of around 0.4 per cent on Wall Street as investors continue to scale back risk amid ongoing tensions in Ukraine. Goldman Sachs is also dampening sentiment Stateside after cutting its forecast for US economic growth in the first quarter from 1.5 per cent to 1.0 per cent. Ford shares
have fallen sharply after profits came in short of analysts' forecasts.
1031: Russia's central bank has unexpectedly raised its main policy rate by 50 basis points to 7.5 per cent.
1029: The latest retail sales numbers are supportive of expectations of quarter-on-quarter growth in UK GDP of 0.9 per cent, as the consensus has now come to expect. That would mark the quickest pace of growth since quarter two of 2010, Unicredit Research points out.
0930: UK retail sales edged higher by 0.1 per cent month-over-month in March, well above the 0.4 per cent drop expected by analysts. However, the previous month's gain was revised lower, to show a rise of 1.3 per cent, instead of the 1.7 per cent gain originally thought. Even so, the year-on-year rise came in at 4.2 per cent, also ahead of the 3.8% expected. Excluding automobiles, sales were 0.4 per cent lower over the month, versus the 0.5 per cent forecast.
0853: Stocks have begun the session moving slightly lower on the back of the simmering tensions in Ukraine. The latest reports cite Russia's Foreign Minister as having stated that his country is looking for a "synchronised" de-escalation in the stand-off. Pearson and William Hill are now doing best on the 'top-flight' index. Tullow Oil is at the bottom of the pile after announcing that it has abandoned its Tapendar-1 well. HSBC has been downgraded to 'underweight' from 'overweight' over at Morgan Stanley. The latest Japanese consumer price data out overnight has come in slightly below forecasts at first glance, although the initial reaction in the Japanese Yen
appeared to be rather muted. FTSE 100 down 22 to 6,681.