Market overview: FTSE closes up 10 points at 6,767

LONDON (ShareCast) – 1630: Close The FTSE 100 ended today’s session with modest gains, with gains coming from the likes of BSkyB and Shire (LSE: SHP.L – news) . Today’s big news was of course a fall in UK inflation. The ONS revealed a 0.4 per cent gain in December, and 2.0 per cent year-on-year, compared to a 2.1 per cent year-on-year rise the previous month. In the US, retail sales volumes grew by 0.2 per cent month-on-month in November, climbing to 488.7bn dollars. US stocks are currently mostly higher, erasing yesterday’s losses. The FTSE 100 closed 9.71 points higher at 6,766.86.

1613: Shire continues to barrel ahead after raising its earnings guidance for 2013 to the upper end of previous expectations.

1330: US retail sales, excluding automobile sales, grew by 0.7 per cent in December, following a rise of 0.1 per cent in the month before (consensus:0.4 per cent). Nevertheless, the previous month’s estimate was revised down significantly.

1302: Shares of Egdon Resources (LSE: EDR.L – news) are rocketing for a second day, and moving higher by 48 per cent, following French giant Total (NYSE: TOT – news) ‘s decision to ‘farm-in’ to two onshore licenses in which the firm has a working interest. IGas, which also has a stake in those licences, is also on the rise, with its stock now moving higher by a further seven per cent. FTSE 100 up 11 to 6,768.

1300: Wells Fargo (Berlin: NWT.BE – news) publishes quarterly earnings per share of 1.0 dollar (consensus: 98 cents).

1213: Quarterly net profits at US financial powerhouse JP Morgan Chase (Other OTC: JFTTL – news) dropped by 7.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, to reach 5.28bn dollars. Excluding 2.6bn dollars in settlements linked to the Madoff settlement and other ‘one-time’ charges earnings per share came in at 1.40 dollars, slightly ahead of analysts’ estimates.

1157: The latest grocery market-share figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal that in the twelve weeks ended last January 5th only Sainsbury (Berlin: SUY1.BE – news) ‘s – out of the big four – was able to resist the relentless pressure from the discounters and Waitrose, managing to hold on to its market share. FTSE 100 down 12 to 6,745.

1143: Commenting on today’s CPI (Other OTC: CPICQ – news) numbers Philip Shaw at Investec (LSE: INVP.L – news) wrote: “Today’s numbers do not have seismic implications for monetary policy […] Even so today’s numbers are a positive psychological development and at the margin should make it easier for the MPC (KOSDAQ: 050540.KQ – news) to make some qualitative adjustments to its interest rate guidance next month. Such changes would be designed to prevent a serious debate taking place over whether to raise interest rates, if and when the unemployment rate reaches the 7.0 per cent threshold over the next few months as we expect.”

1051: Strong gains from BSkyB and Hargreaves Lansdown (LSE: HL.L – news) have helped to ease the slide on the FTSE 100 this morning, which is now trading down just 18.89 at 6,738.26, well above its intraday low of 6,694.08. UBS (Xetra: UB0BL6 – news) has upgraded BSkyB to ‘buy’, saying that competitive concerns that have been hanging over the stock have already been priced in and growth opportunities are now being overlooked. It also sees M&A upside in the stock, speculating about a possible merger by Fox to create ‘Sky Europe’ and even a mobile merger with either Vodafone UK or O2 UK. Meanwhile, Hargreaves has been lifted to ‘overweight’ by Morgan Stanley (Berlin: DWD.BE – news) .

0930: UK consumer prices have surprised to the downside, slipping to a 2.0 per cent rate of change for December, versus the 2.1 per cent pace expected.

0902: In December 2013 the Italian harmonized index of consumer prices (HICP) rose by 0.3 per cent on monthly basis and was stable at 0.7 per cent on annual basis (the preliminary estimate was 0.6 per cent).

0832: The French harmonised rate of consumer price inflation increased at a 0.4 per cent month-on-month (0.8 per cent year-on-year) clip, slightly below the 0.9 per cent year-on-year rate foreseen by economists.

0831: UK shares have started the day moderately lower following the losses seen overnight on Wall Street and in Tokyo. Shares of Astra Zeneca are the top riser this morning on the Footsie after the company said it expects to return to growth sooner than analysts currently predict. Schroders (LSE: SDR.L – news) and Aberdeen Asset Management (Other OTC: ABDNF – news) are at the bottom of the pile. That comes after FTSE-250 listed peer Ashmore this morning revealed a four per cent drop in assets under management for the last quarter, sending its stock plummeting by 10 per cent. RBS (LSE: RBS.L – news) is down on the heels of a downgrade out of analysts at RBC (MCX: RBCM.ME – news) to underperform. UK CPI data is due out at 09:30 with consensus expecting an unchanged reading of 2.2 per cent year-on-year for the month of November. FTSE 100 down 40 to 6,717.

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