1630: Close Markets largely shrugged off a strong set of UK retail sales figures today, instead choosing to focus on economic data from the States (falling jobless claims, rising CPI) which continues to throw more weight behind the argument to taper quantitative easing. The ongoing violence in Egypt also continues to be a worry for markets with oil prices
higher on fears that the unrest could disrupt supplies in the Middle East. Meanwhile, a wave of car-bomb attacks in Baghdad added to the drag on investor sentiment after dozens were left dead across the Iraqi capital. Markets were also hit by disappointing results from Wal-Mart as the largest retailer in the world scaled back full-year earnings guidance. Cisco Systems was also making headlines on Wall Street after announcing it would slash its workforce 4,000. The FTSE 100 finished 104.09 points lower at 6,483.34, a fall of 1.58 per cent on the day.
1454: The FTSE 100 is down 116.40 at 6,471.03 after a sell-off in early trading on Wall Street as traders digest a flood of mixed economic data: CPI as in line with expectations; jobless claims fell more than expected; while industrial production was flat in July, missing forecasts. The mood has also been dampened by disappointing figures from the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart, and Cisco Systems.
1330The FTSE continued to edge lower despite data showing an increase in UK retail sales. Permission, easyJet and Wolseley were the biggest fallers. Economists said the slump in equities could be due to the fact that investors were speculating over whether the Federal Reserve would cut stimulus ahead of jobs and industrial data in the US.
1055:Brent oil prices were up above 111 dollars a barrel to a four-month high on Thursday on fears violence in Egypt could disrupt production. The country's government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday following riots between police and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi.
0950:UK retail sales grew at the fastest annual rate in more than two years in July as shoppers stocked up on barbecue food and outdoor items for the hot weather.The Office for National Statistics said retail sales volumes climbed 1.1 per cent on the month to give an annual rise of 3.0 per cent, the highest since January 2011.The report showed that the heatwave boosted sales of food, alcohol and clothing.
0825: The FTSE 100 has opened sharply lower as markets await a long list of economic data later on. Retail sales figures will be the only major indicator to watch here in the UK today, though traders will keep their eyes peeled for the following data in the States: CPI; jobless claims; New York and Philadelphia manufacturing; industrial production; and the NAHB housing market index. Jobless claims in particular will be closely watched given the Fed's comments linking a recovery in the labour market to the upcoming withdrawal of stimulus. Analysts are predicting a slight increase in claims to 335,000 during the week ended August 9th, up from 333,000 the week before. The FTSE 100 is down 27.23 at 6,560.20.