1630: Close It was an upbeat finish for UK stocks today, with financial companies leading the way on the back of strong UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter, up 0.8 per cent, although this missed expectations of 0.9 per cent. Also helping sentiment higher was an easing of the situation in Ukraine, which helped reassure investors that Russia will not cut off its gas supply. Serco was the day's notable faller after it issued a fresh profit warning. The FTSE 100 closed up 69.75 points at 6,769.91.
1512: Telecity, now up against 'bearish' gap left behind on February 11th, has slammed into its 200-day moving average.
1451: Gains for Shire have been completely wiped out by reports that potential buyer Allergan, which itself is at the centre of a takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, has contacted other companies about a sale. According to Bloomberg, Allergan has spoken to firms such as Sanofi and J&J to gauge others' interest before responding to the Valeant offer. One would assume that any potential takeover of Allergan would scupper the rumoured deal to buy Shire, which had pushed the latter's share price up by as much as six per cent earlier on today.
1450: Forecast breaches of Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk's debt covenants and the need to repay 310.5m dollars of bonds has sent shares
in the company crashing.
1332: The Head of Barclays US unit is set to leave the bank at the end of April. The bank said that Skip McGee is leaving because of a switch in focus in the CEP role as Barclays deals with new US regulations, The Wall Street Journal Europe reports. FTSE 100 up 55 to 6,755.
1331: S&P has lowered its view on Tesco's long-term credit rating to 'negative' from 'stable'.
1256: Inmarsat (734p) has staged a slight rebound after hitting a low of 682.5p early on a company spokesman was reported as saying that there is no change to the scheduled launch of its Global Xpress satellite in Russia. There had been concerns that some commercial satellite launches were at risk of being cancelled because of new sanctions against Russia.
1125: Analysts at Credit Suisse have upgraded their recommendation on shares of AstraZeneca to 'neutral' from 'underperform'. In parallel, they have lifted their price target on the stock to 4,800p from 4,000p before.
1000: The economic sentiment index (ESI) for the UK rose during the month of April to hit 119.5, in comparison with a reading of 112.8 for March, the European Commission said. The consumer confidence gauge rose further above its long-run average of -9.7, to 5.7.
0943: Mining stocks are out of favour this morning as metal prices weaken across the board. BHP Billiton, Antofagasta and Anglo American have all been hit with a HSBC downgrade to 'neutral'.
0930: Gross domestic product in the UK expanded at a 0.8 per cent clip during the first three months of the year, according to the latest figures available from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The consensus estimate had been for a rise of 0.9 per cent.
0835: UK stocks have begun the day moving moderately higher, following a late recovery on Wall Street and ahead of this morning's GDP release due out at 09:30 (consensus: 0.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter). Also on today's agenda is the start of the two-day US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee policy meeting and German consumer price data. On a longer time horizon, investors will also be keeping an eye out on a French no-confidence vote on the latest proposals for macroeconomic reforms in that country scheduled for later today. Shire is doing best on the Footsie, as investors speculate with M&A possibilities. St.James's Place is in second place after its Q1 results. Shares of Wolfson Microelectronics are soaring after receiving a buy-out proposal from US outfit Cirrus. FTSE 100 up 27 to 6,727.