LONDON (ShareCast) - 1236: US stock futures are are flat across the board as investors pause for breath after yet another record high on the S&P 500 last night. Volumes could rise given that today is a 'quadruple-witching' day, with various futures and options due to expire. GE is in focus ahead of the bell after Siemens launched a counterbid to the conglomerate's offer to buy Alstom (Paris: FR0010220475 - news) 's energy business.
1056: Cable is now advancing 0.09% to 1.7056, topping technical resistance at 1.7050 on an intra-day basis.
1014: Debenhams (Other OTC: DBHSY - news) has erased gains and is now trading in the red (-1.1%) as investors digest the company's third-quarter update. LFL sales were reportedly in line with analysts' forecasts, showing the impact of a later-than-usual summer sale season as expected. However, Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) has repeated its 'sell' rating on the stock, saying that the "valuation is not compelling enough given the structural pressures on the business". The broker cut its target for the shares from 64p to 62p after the company proposed a refinancing which results in a higher interest charge.
0842: Stocks have begun the session moving modestly higher, led by a surge in Shire (LSE: SHP.L - news) stock after it was revealed that US rival AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV - news) had recently launched a £27bn bid for the firm. TSB is also moving in early trading. On its first day of conditional dealing the shares are up by 12% from their initial IPO price after Lloyds opted to place a larger than expected 35% stake in reaction to stronger than expected demand from retail investors. Overnight President Obama announced that the US will be sending 300 military advisers to Iraq and that targeted air strikes are not off the table. FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,830.
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