1630: Close The FTSE rocketed 93 points in today's session (following three straight days of losses) as hopes build over a resolution to the political deadlock in Washington and the continuation of monetary stimulus by the Fed. Back on this side of the Atlantic, as expected the MPC opted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5 per cent and the stock of asset purchases fixed at 375bn pounds. Company wise, today's high risers included Persimmon, as optimism over the government's 'Help to Buy' scheme continues to help the stock bounce off recent lows, and Whitbread, on the back of market chatter about a potential spin-off of its Costa Coffee chain. The FTSE closed up 92.58 points at 6,430.49.
1627: John Boehner is blaiming Democrat´s refusal to talk as the cause of the shutdown. Worth pointing out, the Dow Jones Industrial average is today bouncing off of technical support at its 200-day moving average.
1614: US lower House speaker John Boehner is scheduled to begin a speech at any moment. FTSE 100 up 90 to 6,428.
1543: Under the reported plan proposed by Republicans in the House the Treasury Department wouldn't be able to use so-called "extraordinary measures" to further extend the borrowing authority, thus creating a "hard" six-week limit, said a second aide requesting anonymity to discuss the proposal, Bloomberg is reporting.
1416: US stock futures rose following reports House Republicans may agree to a short-term increase in the borrowing limit to avoid a debt default. "All this essentially means is that negotiations will be delayed by a couple of months, at best, and we'll be back in the same situation again come Christmas," said Craig Erlam, Market Analyst at Alpari. "Unfortunately though, under the circumstances that is a positive thing, not just for the financial markets but the global economy, which would suffer hugely if the US was forced to default on its debt," he added.
1415: House Republicans are reportedly considering bringing a 6.0-week debt-limit bill to the floor.
1351: Senator says 51 per cent of debt-limit hikes involved a wider budget agreement. Lew refutes that. He has previously stressed the impact of the shutdown on those for whom social security payments are their only source of income.
1338: Lew says that prioritisation [of expenditures] is a default by another name. FTSE 100 up 53 to 6,391.
1330: Initial weekly US jobless claims climbed to 374,000 last week, from 308,000 (Consensus: 307,000). It was largely the result of a backlog of claims linked to an IT upgrade in California and a wave of private sector temporary layoffs triggered by the Federal government shutdown, Capital Economics explains.
1309: US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is about to begin his testimony (at 13:30) before the Senate Finance Committee.
1200: As expected the Monetary Policy Commitee (MPC) opted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.5 per cent and the stock of asset purchases fixed at 375bn pounds. That was as expected, particularly given the recent pick-up in UK activity indicators. There are several important debates going on in the background as regards house prices and "forward guidance," to name but two. But a better understanding of BoE policymakers´ latest thinking on these subjects will have to wait until the release of the minutes. No member is thought to have voted in favour of additional easing at this time.
1130: The FTSE continues to ride high this morning, as investors await the outcome of the BoE's most recent monetary policy decision - it is widely expected that no changes will be made. Meanwhile, Land Securities has struck a deal to sell its Bankside properties on the South Bank in London to M&G Real Estate for 315m pounds, while in other company news its been revealed Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao originally tried to form a merger with Verizon Comms - rather than ultimately selling its stake in the US business. The FTSE is up 64 points at 6,402.
1100: Those hoping to take a modest stake in the Royal Mail are the most likely to be successful, it is being reported. According to the BBC, investors going after a bigger stake (above 10,000 pounds) will be disappointed, while those who applied for the minimum entitlement of 750 pounds will be granted the entire amount.
1015: Household utility giant SSE is making headlines and its shares
are on the rise after revealing that electricity and gas tariffs are to rise by an average 8.2 per cent from November as the company attempts to pass on rising wholesale energy costs (along with delivery charges and government levies) to customers. Sector peers Centrica and United Utilities are also up this morning.
0930: Asset management firm Schroders is a high riser this morning after earlier this week launching the Global Recovery Fund, a new type of fund that favours "deeply unloved" stocks that people have overlooked in the hope that they will outperform in an economic recovery. British banking giant RBS is also performing well, along with domestic peers Lloyds and Barclays.
0820: Stocks gained strongly on Thursday morning as signs of progress in Washington and hopes over a continuation of US monetary stimulus prompted bargain hunters to step in following three straight days of losses. In focus this morning will be the Bank of England's (BoE) policy meeting, with the Monetary Policy Committee likely to hold interest rates at 0.5%. The central bank has vowed to maintain the rate at its record low until the unemployment rate falls from its current level of 7.7% to 7%. During its meeting, the BoE is also expected to keep its asset purchase programme at £375bn.