LONDON (SHARECAST) - 1630:Close The UK manufacturing sector was weaker than expected in September, contracting for a fifth month in a row, it was revealed today. Figures from Markit's PMI showed the sector was down to 48.4 in September from 49.6 in August - anything under 50 represents a drop in activity. Meanwhile, total lending to individuals fell by £0.4bn in August, compared to the previous six-month average increase of £0.7bn, according to the ONS. The 12-month growth rate was broadly unchanged at 0.6%. It was also reported that average house prices in the UK fell for the third month in a row during September, by 0.1% versus the previous month, according to property analytics firm Hometrack. The main UK company news of the day was that merger between commodities trader Glencore and mining titan Xstrata is back on after the independent directors of the latter agreed to Glencore's terms. The FTSE 100 closed up 78 points at 5,820.
1614: NYSE Liffe announces that commodities trading in London and Paris has been halted.
1540: Shares of Supergroup are now up by 8.6% at 649p, with next technical resistance coming in near the 650p area followed by 700p afterwards. There does not seem to have been any fundamental trigger for the move, although shares had been "thrown back" towards technical support at 600p. FTSE 100 is coming off the day's best levels, now up by 86 to 5,828.
1500: The ISM manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of September has come in at 51.5 (Consensus: 49.7), after 49.6 for the month before. The new orders sub-index rose to 52.3 (after 47.1) while that for employment increased to 54.7 (after 51.6). Economists at Nomura are commenting that: "Overall, this is an encouraging sign that activity in the US manufacturing sector is stabilizing. Moreover, the increase in the employment index suggests an upside risk to the consensus expectation of no job gains in manufacturing in September. We continue to expect that Friday's jobs report will include a modest increase of about 10,000 manufacturing jobs." FTSE 100 up 72 to 5,814.
1407: Astra Zeneca has just announced its decision to suspend its share repurchase program, although it has confirmed its core earnings per share (EPS) target for the fiscal year 2012. FTSE 100 up 69 to 5,811.
1403: Britons' expectations for inflation over the next 12 months fell to 2.7% in September from 2.8% in August, a monthly survey by polling company YouGov showed on Monday.
1248: According to market reports German and French holdings of 9% in a combined EADS and BAE Systems would likely be unacceptable to the British government. For its part, EADS investor Lagardere has called the proposed terms of the combination unsatisfactory.
1238: "Spectris, Rotork, Bodycote remain our key picks in the FTSE 250. We
reiterate our Outperform ratings on Spectris (price target up to 2075p), Rotork and Bodycote. These stocks offers exposure to structural growth (ROR), selfhelp
operational improvement (our favoured theme for Q4/fiscal year 2013) and
positioning for any risk-on recovery by the market (SXS, BOY). FTSE 100 up 60 to 5,803.
1052: The International Air transport Association (IATA) has raised its global airline profit forecast for this year to 4.1bn dollars from 3bn dollars beforehand.
0930: The UK's manufacturing sector purchasing managers' index for the month of September has come in at 48.4 (Consensus: 49.0), after a reading of 49.5 for the month before. Mortgage approvals for the month of August have come in at 47,700 (Consensus: 49,200), after 47,600 in the previous month. Worth pointing out, as a backdrop, reports that Germany might be moving towards a more flexible stance as regards Greece. Wolseley is leading gainers on expectations for a special dividend. FTSE 100 up 55 to 2,746.
0806: The FTSE 100 opened with only slight gains on Monday morning after some key economic data from Asia disappointed overnight. The Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey for large manufacturers fell from -1 to -3 in September (Consensus: -3), its fourth negative reading. Meanwhile, the HSBC/Markit China manufacturing PMI stayed below 50, indicating contraction in the sector. Making headlines this morning is the news that the so-called merger of equals between commodities trader Glencore and mining titan Xtsrata is back on after the independent directors of the latter agreed to Glencore's terms. Xstrata was up early on, while Glencore fell. Shares of Taylor Wimpey are on the up following an upgrade out of Citi this morning. The Footsie is trading 12 points higher at 5,754.