LONDON (SHARECAST) - 1630:Close UK stocks ended slightly lower in a very volatile session, as traders reacted to the different -and somewhat contradictory- headlines coming out of the Eurozone. Nevertheless, investors seem to have been loathe to wander too far from the unchanged mark ahead of tomorrow's European Central Bank governing council's meeting. Contributing to losses, a bevy of stocks went ex-dividend today. BP also weighed on the benchmark index on reports that US authorities may push to exact the maximum penalties possible from the oil major. Of interest, some observers are of the opinion that the Bank of England ought to hold off and wait to see what the ECB does before deciding upon its next course of action. FTSE 100 down 14 to 5,658.
1606: Analysts at Investec have today issued a bullish note on ARM Holdings, initiating the company's stock at buy (and Imagination Technologies's). In their own words: "Our analysis suggests ARM’s price implies either overly pessimistic royalty progression to FY16E or by that stage its rating will be below other European software plays when they had hit £1bn sales. In our view, licence signings to date indicate strong royalty progression is almost certain and ARM’s long-term growth dynamics do not justify mid-tier tech ratings in FY16E. Apple and Windows RT device new releases will push ARM into the spotlight, as does the increasing secular trend for power-efficient technologies." FTSE 100 down 17 to 5,655.
1529: German chancellor Angela Merkel is said to oppose unlimited bond purchases, according to German lawmaker Barthle, Bloomberg says.
1320: The European Central Bank will tomorrow announce unlimited, but sterilized, bond purchases, according to Bloomberg.
1245: There are market reports that Deutsche Bank has placed 41m shares of BG Group at 12.25 pounds.
1204: Shares of BG Group are dropping towards the bottom of the pile after analysts at Jefferies lowered their price target for the company to 1,800p from 2,000p. In their own words, "we believe BG either needs to achieve scale and significance, or take some value off the table. (...) Either BG needs to divest some Brazil exposure and crystallise value, or we also explore the potential of BG merging or acquiring to create a larger, more capable organisation (...) reducing target price to reflect aligned Lula and other pre-salt asset valuations."
1119: Share of Lonmin are now moving lower after news that around 1,000 miners at the company's Marikana site are staging a protest march as the stand-off over pay which led to the death of thirty four workers continues. Meantime, and in another asset class, the Debt Management Office has just sold 1.75bn pounds in 30 year debt below the 3 per cent level, at 2.95 per cent.
0918: After a mixed opening Footsie turned south shortly before 08:30 and has shown no sign since of stopping. Wednesday's usual plethora of ex-dividend stocks is accentuating the decline by around 6.7 points but weak mining stocks are largely responsible for the top-share index's decline. Among the mid-caps, sportswear retailer Sports Direct is in the silver medal position in the FTSE 250 are a well-received trading update. Brtivic, the Chelmsford-based soft drinks firm, is in the gold medal place, however, after confirming it is merger talks with Scottish rival AG Barr, maker of the iconic Irn-Bru. FTSE 100 is down 32 at 5,640.
0809: London has opened little changed, as expected, signifying a reluctance on the part of investors to commit ahead of the European Central Bank's monthly meeting. BP is lower on press reports that the US Department of Justice is intent on throwing the book at the integrated oil giant for its part in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, as it seeks to have the maximum possible penalties imposed on the British firm. Acting as a backdrop, overnight the HSBC China service sector purchasing managers’ index for the month of August revealed a small slowdown, although to a much lesser extent than for manufacturing, retreating to 52 points from 53.1 in the month before. As well, Bank of Japan (BoJ) board member Ryuzo Miyao has said that the odds of an extended world economic slowdown have increased and that the monetary authority must remain ready to take decisive action if necessary. FTSE 100 is down 4 at 5,668.