LONDON (SHARECAST) - 1630: Close Today's UK employment figures showed that the number of people out of work fell by 50,000 between June and August to 2.53m. This put the unemployment rate at 7.9%, down 0.2% from the March to May figure. The day's other big economic news related to the October meeting of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). “There were some differences of view between members about the outlook and the likelihood that further easing in policy would be required,” the minutes of the meeting, released this morning, revealed. Meanwhile, the number of homes under construction in the US rose at an annualised rate of 872,000 during September, a 15% increase on the previous month’s tally and a 48% surge on year ago levels. In UK company news, miners were firmly higher, boosted by investor confidence ahead of the third quarter growth data due out from China, which is expected to increase demand for commodities. The FTSE 100 closed up 40 points at 5,911.
1600: Risk-hungry investors have pushed the FTSE 100 towards a one month high and within touching distance of a six month high. "It was news involving Spain that has been the catalyst with the credit ratings agency Moody’s showing the heavily indebted nation some mercy," said Angus Campbell, Head of Market Analysis at Capital Spreads. "By refraining from cutting its rating to junk status it gives Spain a greater chance of muddling through and continuing to tap the debt markets."
1535: BP is on the rise after people with knowledge of the matter said the company and its Russian billionaire partners are in talks to sell control of their TNK- BP venture to OAO Rosneft, Bloomberg reports. FTSE 100 at day's highs, up 42 to 5913.
1330: US housing starts for the month of September shot up to an annualised rate of 872,000 (Consensus: 770,000), well ahead of the previous month's reading of 758,000. That is the strongest reading since July 2008.
1231: Analysts at UBS have today raised their view on shares of Tesco to buy, from neutral, saying that Tesco is recalibrating the manner in which value is delivered to shareholders by lowering capital intensity and focusing on cash generation. “This has the scope to drive significant cash returns – our analysis suggests the company could feasibly buy back almost £8bn of equity and return around 60% of market cap to investors in cash, including dividends, over the period to February 2018.” FTSE 100 up 31 to 5,901.
1000: Drinks brands owner Diageo saw net organic sales growth of five per cent in the three months to the end of September, Volume was up two per cent in the quarter. Paul Walsh, Chief Executive of Diageo, said the solid start to the new financial year was in line with expectations. FTSE 100 is up 9 at 5,879.
0930: UK claimant count fell by 4,000 in September (Consensus: 0). Average weekly earnings rose by 2.0 per cent (Consensus: 2 per cent). According to the latest BoE minutes the MPC voted unanimously to maintain the size of its asset purchase facility. The minutes note that: "There were some differences of view between members about the outlook and the likelihood that further easing in policy would be required. But there was agreement that there was little to be gained at this meeting in changing the current programme of asset purchases."
0912: Shares are now giving back some ground ahead of the release of the minutes of the Bank of England's latest rate setting meeting and the latest unemployment data. Worth noting, both BAE Systems and Capital Shopping Centres both go ex-dividend today. RBS is leading gains on the top share index as investors look forward to its exit from the government's asset protection scheme. Out on the FTSE 350 the best performer now is Ashtead, following top of the range results out from one of its peers Stateside. Analysts at Seymour Pierce have reacted by raising their target on the company's shares to 400p from 350p before. Cable & Wireless Communications is in second place, the telecommunications services provider is in advanced talks to sell its controlling stake in Macau's largest telecoms group to Citic Telecom International, the Financial Times said. FTSE 100 up 2 to 5,873.
0814: London's leading stocks have opened barely changed, as attention remains focused on unfolding events in the Eurozone. Yesterday, ratings agency Moody's opted not to downgrade Spain's debt rating, while this morning there are reports that talks between the so called troika - the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - and Greek authorities on the Greek bailout might be going better than previously indicated. On the corporate front, precious metals miner Polymetal is firmer after raising full year production guidance. FTSE 100 is up 13 at 5,884.