LONDON (SHARECAST) - 1630:Close It has been a while since the Footsie has racked up a triple-digit advance but it did so today, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi came up trumps, and confirmed the central bank would embark on a bond purchase programme. Miners and banks led the advance, with the former clawing back some of their recent losses. Vedanta hardened despite RBC Capital Markets cutting its target price for the miner from 1400p to 1300p. Fags maker Imperial Tobacco was a weak spot as investors fret over the Russian government's avowed attempt to tackle the country's smoking problem. FTSE 100 was up 119 at 5,777.
1532: The Footsie is now registering a triple-digit gain on the day as risk appetite is reinvigorated by the ECB bond-buying plan. FTSE 100 is up 107 points at 5,765.
1451: The Footsie is up at its best levels of the day, up 74 points at 5,732 with the mining and banking sectors providing a boost after ECB President Mario Draghi confirmed rumours that the bank would be making unlimited and sterilised purchases of bonds with maturities of one to three years. Vedanta is leading the risers on the blue chip index (up nearly eight per cent) with sector peers Antofagasta, Xstrata and Randgold following close behind. Banking groups Lloyds, RBS and Barclays are also putting in a decent performance. Just five stocks on the Footsie are in the red with Imperial Tobacco extending losses from yesterday when it was reported that France may be considering a plain packaging law and price hikes for cigarettes packets.
1423: Draghi highlights the very strict conditionality inherent in the new ECCL modality of macroeconomic adjustment.
1405: There was no discussion of an additional extraordinary financing operation or so-called LTRO. Spanish 10 year bond yields are now falling by 28 basis points, to 6.13%. German 10 year bond yields are up by 4 basis points, to 1.52%.
1357: Mr.Draghi asserts that purchases on the secondary market do not go against the ECB's mandate. As well, he reminds everyone that the central bank's statutes already allow for bond purchases.
1348: As expected the ECB has announced that it will carry out unlimited bond purchases, which will be sterilized, and that it will not have seniority over private creditors. There will apparently be two modalities of conditionality. Bond purchases for countries already under programs may be considered.
1315: US private sector employment rose by 201,000 in August (Consensus: 140,000), according to the latest report out from consultancy ADP.
1245: The European Central Bank has just announced its decision to keep its main policy rate unchanged, at 0.75 per cent, as expected. Yet what markets are truly interested in is this afternoon's press conference from Mario Draghi, at 13:30.
1200: The Bank of England has decided to keep the Bank rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent and the size of its asset purchase program at 375bn pounds; both as expected. The Committee expects the announced programme of asset purchases to take another two months to complete. The scale of the programme will be kept under review, it says. FTSE 100 up 31 to 5,689.
1045: This is what Nomura has to say today on Whitbread: "We believe it offers compelling value for a stock with impressive roll-out potential, strong asset backing and impressive trading momentum."
1038: There is some unconfirmed talk in the market that the ESM ruling from Germany's Constitutional Court could be delayed by a 'conflict of interest.'
1031: Lonmin is bouncing back a little and is now the second best perfomer on the FTSE 350 after reaching an agreement with some of its unions at the South Africa Marikana platinum mine. Credit Suisse has downgraded shares of Barclays to neutral form overweight. Acting as a backdrop, yields at today's Spanish debt auction have come down sharply, to 2.798% from 4.706% the last time around for the two year debt issued. The bid-to-cover ratios, however, have also come down by quite a bit.
0939: Footsie is on the cusp of moving back above 5700 as optimism over the European Central Bank's meeting today rises. Mining stocks are charging ahead as metal prices rise. Insurer Admiral is going the other way, however, despite the boss's wife snapping up 144,348 shares in the Confused.com owner yesterday at average price of 1,107p. FTSE 100 is up 41 at 5,699.
0805: Well-received trading updates from supermarket chain Morrisons and leisure group Whitbread sees the pair sitting at the top of the Footsie leader-board in early trading. Morrisons saw like-for-like sales growth grind to a halt in the first half of its financial year but it still managed to grow underlying profits. Whitbread, meanwhile, topped expectations on just about all like-for-like metrics. As per usual, miners are moving in lock-step and this morning the sector has decided to march forwards, ahead of the big decision by the European Central Bank later today on whether to go ahead with a government bond buying programme. FTSE 100 is up 21 at 5,679.