Market overview: FTSE closes marginally higher despite Ukraine


LONDON (ShareCast) - 1630:Close The FTSE rose by 5.56 points to 6,825.31 on Monday, with weak economic data from Europe's manufacturing sector fueling speculation that the ECB will introduce a "quantitative easing" programme at this week's meeting. Dave Lewis took charge of Tesco (Xetra: 852647 - news) for the first time today, but the retailer's fall from grace continued as it was the third-highest faller in the FTSE 100, though rival Morrison's was the biggest faller. Meanwhile, the geopolitical crisis in Ukraine looks to be intensifying, following Vladimir Putin's latest comments on the "statehood" of regions in Eastern Ukraine, as EU leaders look set to go ahead with a new round of economic sanctions.

1515: Fund manager Neil Woodford has sold his stake in HSBC due to his fears regarding fine inflation in the industry, The Independent reported.

1458: According to the Italian edition of La Repubblica Russia's President told his EU counterpart that he could take Kiev in two weeks if he wanted to. FTSE 100 down 5 to 6,814.

1343: The FTSE 100 is broadly flat and continuing its rangebound trading in the absence of a US session (Wall Street closed for Labor Day) with very little separating its intraday low (6,798.33) and high (6,821.86).

1330: Three month copper futures are slipping 0.4% to $6,941.5/metric tonne on the LME. US mining group Newmont will restart exports of copper concentrate from Indonesia this week. This comes a week after the company withdrew an international arbitration filing against that country's government - following new export legislation introduced in January - and agreed to pay an increased royalty. The above news may weigh on copper prices "although the resumption of this source has likely been largely priced in," analysts at Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) pointed out.

1215: ITV (LSE: ITV.L - news) is up 2.5% today after weekend reports that 6.4% owner Liberty Global (NasdaqGS: LBTYA - news) , controlled by US media magnate John Malone, could be looking to make a full bid. Liberty is reportedly canvassing support from major ITV shareholders. "Investors should never buy on bid hopes alone, the old City saying goes. However, the purchase of the 6.4% stake a couple of months ago certainly appeared as if Mr Malone was 'planting a flag'," said analyst Garry White from Charles Stanley (LSE: CAY.L - news) .

1053: Shares (Frankfurt: DI6.F - news) of BAE Systems (LSE: BA.L - news) are rising on the heels of an upgrade out of analysts at Bank of America to 'buy' from 'underperform'. The broker believes the increased geopolitical tensions worldwide may provide a boost for defence budgets in countries such as the US, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. FTSE 100 slips 7 to 6,812.

1035: After recovering around 10 points in the past half an hour or so, the FTSE is once again heading downwards, dragged by supermarkets amid ongoing concerns about their earnings potential amid strong competition. Meanwhile, Heathrow's bid for a new runway appears to have been given the support of the CBI after a press release was reportedly sent to the airport before it was sent to its competitors. Over in Russia, the manufacturing sector saw headline growth between July and August, with the PMI recording a reading of 51.0, above the level of 50 which separates growth from contraction. The FTSE fell 10.04 to 6,809.71.

1019: Copper futures for three-month delivery are off by 0.6% to $6,942/metric tonne on the LME.

0930: The Markit (NasdaqGS: MRKT - news) purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the month of August slipped to a reading of 52.5 in August from 54.8 in the month before. The consensus estimate was for a reading of 55.1.

0901: Shares of Perform group (LSE: PER.L - news) are leading gains on the FTSE 250 following a take-over offer from Access Industries for the remainder of the company for 260p a share.

0845: UK stocks have begun the day moving slightly lower, weighed down by a renewed drop in shares of the main supermarket operators, perhaps following negative news-flow out over the weekend, including poor comments from the FT's Lex column on Tesco. German and French manufacturing sector purchasing managers' indices, for the month of August, have come in slightly ahead of forecasts, but no so those of those for Italy and Spain. China's PMI inched lower in August, to a reading of 51.1 from 51.7 in July (consensus: 51.2). FTSE 100 down 7 to 6,813.

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