1630: Close The FTSE closed significantly on Tuesday, led by Rolls-Royce, which was boosted after Exane BNP shifted its target price from 1,060p to 1,075p, and maintained an outperform rating. Leading the downside was InterContinental Hotels, after saying that revenue per available room (RevPAR) had fallen 5.2 per cent in 2012. In economic news, it was revealed that credit and debit card usage could be sent into decline by the rise of the mobile phone. The UK Payments Council said that while in recent times the popularity of the debit card has grown, it believes mobile phones could soon be making contactless payments in the same way certain cards do now. The FTSE closed up 61 points at 6,379.
1509: GKN has slipped into second place on the leader board after ACEA data showed that in January demand for new cars declined by 8.7 per cent in the European Union, reaching a historic low for a month of January, since the start of the series in 1990. Looking at the major markets, only the UK posted growth, of 11.5 per cent. FTSE 100 up 52 to 6,370.
1329: Some well-known commentators are of the opinion that the tone of the minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia's last policy meeting were surprisingly upbeat. That despite the explicit mention of their willingness to lower interest rates again if necessary. In any case, the following phrase from those minutes has also caught the attention of analysts at Digital Look "However, iron ore prices had run well ahead of Chinese steel prices in recent months and it was widely expected that iron ore prices would not be sustained at these high levels."
1200: Turkey's central bank has lowered its overnight interest rate to 4.5 per cent from 4.75 per cent, a level which was expected to be maintained.
1111: Insurers are doing well as a group today. Of interest in that regard may be the story out in yesterday's FT regarding how Old Mutual is considering a partial flotation of its US asset management business.
1045: Royal Dutch Shell has reached a level where it is starting to look interesting again, write technical analysts at Charles Stanley this morning. They add that "since peaking at 2365p at the end of last month the share price has shed 9.4%, which has left it looking fairly oversold and, as the chart below shows, this weakness has also brought it into contact with an uptrend that goes back to last summer. Yesterday's 10p rise suggests that traders are starting to look for value down here although we really need to see further evidence of strength before committing to a long position: a close above 2180p would look promising, however." FTSE 100 up 24 to 6,342.
1000: The ZEW Institute's economic sentiment index for the month of February has come in at 48.2, after rising for a third month in a row, and is well ahead of the 35 point reading forecast and last month's tally of 31.5. "The financial market experts have made their peace with the weak fourth quarter of 2012. In their opinion the German economy faces less headwinds from the euro crisis than throughout the last months. If this situation remains unchanged during the next months, German business activity may pick up speed moderately", says ZEW President Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Franz. FTSE 100 up 18 to 6,336
0900: The minutes of the last meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia - released overnight - show that there is scope to eas.e further if needed. Meantime, and in Europe, a fair bit of market commentary is today highlighting ECB President Draghi's mention of downside inflation risks for the Eurozone arising from euro strength which, it is thought, could eventually trigger a more accommodative stance from the central bank should that the currency rise further. Turkey's central bank is due to make a policy announcement at noon.
0859: Analysts at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch are reportedly concerned with the possibility of increased levels of investment at IHG.
0839: UK stocks began the day ever so slightly lower but have now just turned up, led by gains in Standard Chartered and RSA. The latter has been started at buy by analysts at Berenberg one day ahead of the release of its full year earnings. Intercontinental Hotels Group is the worst performer now on the Footsie despite announcing that operating profits increased by 10 per cent last year to 614m dollars. For its part Bernstein has downgraded shares
of Vodafone to underperform from market perform. Revenue was up 4 per cent at 1.84bn dollars after a strong performance in the US and as it expands into developing markets. Out on currency markets Sterling is trading higher this morning and is now at 1.55 versus the US dollar. Helping the pound is the less aggressive tone out from Japanese authorities overnight. In that same vein, analysts at Unicredit are interpreting the ECB's Draghi's comments yesterday as signalling that the euro's exchange rate
could affect the ECB's forecasts for economic growth and inflation, "suggesting that significant further gains in the euro zone's currency may prompt stimulus measures from the ECB." FTSE 100 up 10 to 6,329.