1630: Close The FTSE ended the final session of the week firmly in positive territory on hopes of a near-term continuation of US stimulus, and after China delivered some positive data. The gains were led by Prudential on the back of positive read-across from AIA, while mining stocks put in a strong performance following the news that Chinese GDP grew at a year-on-year rate of 7.8 per cent in the third quarter. In UK economic news, it was announced petrol prices have dropped to their lowest level in five years, while confidence amongst the country's small and medium-sized enterprises has jumped to a three-year high. The FTSE closed up 46.42 points at 6,622.58.
1332: Morgan Stanley swung to a third quarter profit of 50 US cents in terms of earnings per share, once debt valuation adjustments are taken into account, versus the 40 cents forecast by analysts. Revenues came in at 8.1bn dollars, versus the 7.7bn dollars which had been estimated by analysts. FTSE 100 up 30 to 6,606.
1245: "Leading indicators of activity suggest China's recovery ended in September," Nomura economists are telling clients. They point out how electricity production - often regarded as a better indicator of real economic activity - fell "sharply" in September, by 13.6 per cent on the month after a four per cent rise in August.
1234: The UK Financial Conduct Authority has no current plans to launch a new investigation into the alleged manipulation of LIBOR by Barclays.
1204: Life insurance and giant Prudential is a high riser after Asian peer AIA reported record quarterly results with new business up 26 per cent. 'The insurance sector was also helped by reports that an EU capital requirement could be eased compared to the initial version sought by regulators,' said Financial Sales Trader Max Cohen from Spreadex. US stock futures were pointing to even more gains when Wall Street opens later on today following a record close for the S&P 500
last night. The FTSE 100 is up 27.33 at 6,603.49.
1056: IT infrastructure services firm Computacenter is trading in the red after UBS downgraded the stock from 'buy' to 'neutral'. While the bank said that the stock's valuation is not demanding, it said the company is 'navigating a tricky path in France and Germany's turnaround is at an early stage'. 'With July's capital return behind us, we see limited upside from current levels and move to a 'neutral' rating.' UBS said that France is likely to be the main focus of the company's third-quarter trading update on October 23rd. The FTSE 100 is up 15.97 at 6,592.13.
1018: Gold futures are now slipping by 0.51 per cent to 1,316.30 dollars per ounce on COMEX following yesterday's sharp three per cent gain. Given the change in expectations for Fed tapering Craig Erlam - from Alpari UK - sees the yellow metal perhaps moving higher, towards 1,450 dollars per ounce over the coming months, but he expects it to be a slow grind.
0926: The September US non-farm payrolls report will be released on Tuesday, October 22nd, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics reports. The full schedule is available here: http://www.bls.gov/bls/updated_release_schedule.htm.
0901: Credit Suisse upgrades United Utilities to neutral from underperform. The Swiss broker has also removed HSBC from its Europe Focus List. Morgan Stanley has downgraded William Hill to underweight from overweight.
0900: Goldman Sachs has lowered its price forecast for iron ore in 2014. The broker wants more clarity on the timing of Fed tapering, Bloomberg TV reports.
0830: UK stocks have begun the session moving slightly higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. Investor sentiment also got a boost this morning from data in China showing that China's gross domestic product expanded at a 7.8 per cent pace in the third quarter. That was as expected but marked a third consecutive quarter of acceleration. Most market commentary seems to be referencing that Fed tapering is now on hold until the end of the first quarter of 2014. However, the Financial Times cites analysts who believe that a December start to tapering is still possible. Goldman Sachs has lowered its view on commodities to neutral. FTSE 100 is up by 19.47 points to 6,595.27.