LONDON (SHARECAST) - 1630: close Following a stint in the blue after Germany’s decision to approve the Eurozone rescue fund, the Footsie sunk firmly into the red by the close with ex-dividend stocks and mining companies providing a drag. In UK economic news, the number of people claiming unemployment insurance fell by 15,000 in August, according to the latest data out from the ONS, compared to a consunses estimate for an unchanged reading. Across the water, Spain’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose by 0.6 per cent monthly and 2.7 per cent on an annual basis, the country’s national statistics office revealed. The change for the previous month was -0.2 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively. The FTSE 100 closed down 10 points at 5,782.
1627: BAE confirms talks, would hold 40% of the combined company.
1622: France said to ask Spain to seek EU aid over German concerns, Bloomberg TV reports.
1553: Shares of aerospace manufacturer BAE Systems are rocketing higher by 10% on reports that a possible 'combination' with EADS is being studied. Randgold Resources, on the other hand, is drifting towards the bottom of the pile, tracking gold prices lower; these are now off by 2%. Nevertheless, the political news-flow coming out of South Africa continues to be quite negative. Julius Malema has called for a nation-wide strike against the mining sector, the British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting. FTSE 100 down 26 to 5,766.
1435: Corporate credit markets are indeed seeing a better tone of late it would seem. Shares in oil-field services outfit Petrofac are moving up the leader board after the successful completion and signing of a new $1.2bn syndicated five-year revolving credit facility. FTSE 100 down 1 to 5,792.
1412: Anglo American announces suspension of output at Rustenburg operation in South Africa.
1311: The South African has been put on a state of 'high alert,' for the first time since 1994, in apparent anticipation of an address from firebrand politician Julius Malema to disgruntled soldiers near Johannesburg, the British Broadcasting Corporation is reporting.
1122: There are apparently increasing worries of unrest at South African miners, with some intimidation having been reported at Amplats. Platinum prices have shot up by 4% in reaction to the news. Elsewhere on that continent, the US ambassador to Libya has been killed. FTSE 100 up 13 to 5,805.
1058: RBS completes pricing of $2bn in 3 year note issue. Lloyds is also higher, benefitting from the generally risk-positive mood so far. Large drop in the bid-to-cover ratio seen in today's auction of 5 year German debt, to 1.4 from 2.60.
1047: And this is why some analysts are watching VOD: "Vodafone and others in the sector are in focus after the Apple iPhone launch today, with some suggesting the demand may cause UK mobile phone sellers to return to subsidising smart phone purchases."
1035: ICAP is one of the biggest fallers on the benchmark index now. There is some speculation that it could get demoted out of the Footsie (another factor is that downgrade this morning out of Morgan Stanley). Credit Suisse has raised its price target on BT to 300p from 250p before. Analysts at UBS have cut Wolseley to neutral versus buy before. FTSE 100 up 14 to 5,806.
0934: UK claimant count down by 15,000 persons in August (Consensus: 0). July's estimate has been revised down. The unemployment rate has ticked up to 8.1% (Consensus: 8.0%).
0905: German Constitutional Court rejects emergency challenges to ESM, approves rescue-mechanism, but with conditions. Germany must set cap for liabilities under ESM when ratifying. Post announcement reaction in risk assets seems to be slightly to the upside. Euro/dollar at 1.2900, Spanish 10 year bond yields down 2 basis points to 5.67%. Merkel to speak at 10:40.
0832: Xstrata and Qatar are now said to be backing Glencore's bid, Bloomberg reports. Shares of Sage are higher. The Daily Mail reported yesterday on rehashed rumours of a 5.58bn pound, or 450 pence-a-share, bid from private equity players led by KKR and Blackstone. Admiral is leading on the downside in the Footsie after going ex-dividend. Hargreaves Lansdown is also going ex-dividend. FTSE 100 down 13 to 5,780.
0807: As markets nervously await Germany's big decision on the constitutional legality of the European Stability Mechanism, expected at 9:00 London time, stocks have opened slightly lower. Retailers are in focus, with DIY retailer Kingfisher getting a shoeing as the miserable summer weather and adverse exchange rates put a bigger dent in profits than the market had been expecting. Yesterday's retail victim, Burberry, makes something of a recovery today, however. Acting as a backdrop, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao late yesterday said at the World Economic Forum that there is room for fiscal and monetary measures (stimulus investors understood) to meet this year's economic goals. FTSE 100 is down 6 at 5,786.