1630: Close The FTSE ended the final session of the week higher, led by the likes of EVRAZ following positive comments from Credit Suisse about the steel sector. Meanwhile, Kingfisher was weighing on the index after UBS shifted its target price on the stock from 290p to 280p, keeping a neutral rating. In economic news, UK retail sales volumes fell by 0.1 per cent month-on-month in December, the ONS said. The consensus estimate had been for an increase of 0.2%. In the US stocks have dipped after the release of weaker than expected consumer confidence data and a rather poor news-flow as regards fourth-quarter results from some of Wall Street's top-tier outfits. The FTSE closed up 22 at 6,154.
1615: Republicans in the US Congress are looking to push the debt ceiling deadline to mid-April, according to published reports.
1501: The University of Michigan's preliminary sentiment index for the month of January has come in at 71.3, versus a reading of 72.9 for the previous month and a consensus estimate for 75. The expectations sub-index has dropped to 62.7, after 63.8 in the previous month (Consensus: 65.2). It is only a slight fall but consumers' sentiment is being watched for signs that spending may retrench. FTSE 100 is up 34 to 6,166.
1352:"Shares of Spectris are now attempting a break-out from technical resistance near the 2,100p area, on rising trading volumes, and it is now barely registering 'over bought' readings when looking at its RSI, even if one must never lose sight of how daunting the current international macroeconomic backdrop is," comment technical analysts at Digital Look.
1351: Morgan Stanley is rising by 6.84 per cent in premarket trading.
1344: Like so many stocks within the London equity benchmark shares
of Carnival are now right at technical resistance, which in this case comes in towards 2,600p. However, "its aspect seems rather more robust than that of others, it may be one to watch if it can confirm a close above that level on decent trading volumes," comment technical analysts at Digital Look. Of interest, Norwegian Cruise Lines yesterday priced its New York IPO at 19 dollars per share, ahead of the indicative range of between 16 and 18 dollars which the company had sought.
1133: New Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ian McCafferty believes that the central bank ought to keep an 'open mind' on the use of further non-standard measures, or remain 'open to the use of unorthodox means' to use his own words. Those remarks followed on a question posed to him in an interview on Bloomberg TV regarding the relative merits of targeting nominal GDP. FTSE 100 up 32 t 6,165.
1031: The FTSE 100 has extended gains and is now up 27 points at 6,160. Carnival is topping the risers on the Footsie following yesterday's news that it had boosted its share buy-back programme and declared a quarterly divi of 25 cents per share. On the FTSE 250, oil and gas group Ophir is among the best performers after receiving a double upgrade by Nomura, from 'reduce' to 'buy'. The broker said that highly-geared exploration and appraisal drilling in 2013 could be a 'company maker': in its 'blue-sky' success scenario, drilling could be worth 500 per cent of the current share price, the highest in its coverage universe.
0930: UK retail sales fell by 0.1 per cent month-on-month in December (Consensus: +0.2 per cent). Overdue loans in Spain rose to 11.4 per cent from 11.2 per cent in November, Bank of Spain data shows.
0858: In reaction to the latest Chinese data out overnight economists at Nomura are telling clients that: "This data set reinforces our view that the growth recovery is on track. We expect GDP growth to strengthen further in the first quarter of 2013 to 8.2%." In fact, their Chief China Economist, Zhiwei Zhang, expects the authorities to focus more on controlling the risks from inflation and shadow banking. FTSE 100 up 18 to 6,150.
0857: Nomura double upgrades Ophir Energy up to 'buy' this morning. There are also reports that the South African authorities may have withdrawn its complaint against the Glencore and Xstrata merger.
0830: UK stocks have begun the day moving higher, tracking gains on Wall Street overnight. Those came on the back of stronger than expected figures on US housing and employment, although the Philly Fed manufacturing gauge missed expectations by a wide margin. As well, the initial reaction to the barrage of Chinese economic data out this morning has been positive so far. Market darlings Meggitt and Aberdeen Asset Management are continuing their ascent and now lead gains on the Footsie. Rio Tinto is benefiting from positive commentary out of Deutsche Bank. Goldman Sachs has added Sainsbury to its Conviction sell list. UBS has raised its price target on Meggitt to 440p from 370p previously. ONS will release December retail sales data later, at 09:30. The Prime Minister has cancelled today´s speech on EU membership so as to deal with the Algerian hostage crisis. FTSE 100 up 11 to 6,143.