Market overview: FTSE closes up 22 points at 6,572

LONDON (ShareCast) – 1630:Close The FTSE 100 regained some of the heavy losses seen over the past few sessions as GDP data came in as expected and US consumer confidence rose to a five-month high and beat forecasts. The Consumer Confidence Index increased to 80.7 in January from 77.5 the month before, ahead of the consensus forecast of 78. Q4 UK GDP expanded at a quarter-on-quarter rate of 0.7 per cent and 2.8 per cent year-on-year. Over in the States stocks are mixed after home prices showed their first monthly drop in a year, although year-on-year they gained at their quickest pace since 2006. Investors will now be watching for the Turkish lira’s reaction to Ankara’s decision on interest rates. An announcement is expected for 22:00. The FTSE 100 closed up 21.67 points at 6,572.33.

1612: All but one of 31 economists polled by Reuters expect Turkey’s monetary authority to increase its overnight interest rate when it meets tonight. The media expectation is for a 225 basis point hike, from 7.75% at present.

1548: Stock in Royal Mail (Other OTC: ROYMF – news) is bouncing off technical support at 560p.

1501: UK stocks have added to gains after an improvement in consumer confidence in the States. The Conference Board‘s closely-watched gauge of consumer confidence rose to 80.7 in January from a revised 77.5 in December, coming in ahead of the consensus forecast of 78. The FTSE 100 is up 34.63 at 6,585.29.

1420: Nomura’s Chinese economists attach a 30 per cent probability to the possibility of a ‘hard-landing’ in the Chinese economy.

1400: US durable goods orders came in well below expectations in January, falling 4.3 per cent in December after rising 2.6 per cent a month earlier. Economists had pencilled in an increase of 1.8 per cent. The data comes as the Federal Reserve reviews whether to introduce another round of stimulus tapering as it begins its two-day policy meeting today. FTSE 100 up 14 to 6,565.

1326: “[…] investors should not view too much into the terse announcement on Monday morning [from AT&T (NYSE: T – news) ]. It is best viewed as a holding statement,” the FT’s Lex column says.

1315: Lloyds has reportedly confirmed that it is to lay-off 1,080 staff.

1313: Ford and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE – news) have just released better than expected quarterly profit figures, although full-year EPS guidance at the latter seems to have undershot analysts’ estimates by a slight margin. Both stocks are moving higher in pre-market trading. Futures for the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are pointing to gains of three tenths of a percentage point at the start of trading, while the Nasdaq-100 is expected to decline by four tenths. The Turkish lira and Indian rupee are holding higher.

1213: Analysts at Nomura have today lowered their target price on shares of Antofagasta (Other OTC: ANFGF – news) , to 800p from 875p beforehand. However, they have done the opposite to those for BHP, Glencore and Rio Tinto (Xetra: 855018 – news) .

1212: “Our commodity team expects iron ore/ copper prices to fall materially in 2014/15 on increased supply, with other key commodities (coal, Al, Zn, Ni, gold etc) supported by the cost curve. Our commodity strategist is also cautious on the outlook for China and commodity demand with QE-tapering to start in Jan. In this challenging environment, we prefer Rio & BHP as they will improve free-cash-flow by high quality volume growth/capital expenditure cuts,” Citi writes today.

1211: Morgan Stanley (Berlin: DWD.BE – news) has added United Utilities (LSE: UU.L – news) to its ‘best ideas’ list.

1200: Following a trip to Kurdistan analysts at Citi write that overall the trip highlighted the positive progress towards sustainable oil exports from the region and the continued strong relationship between Kurdistan and Turkey.

1102: Smartphone shipments globally surpassed the 1bn unit mark in 2013 for the first time ever, technology consulting group IDC (Shenzhen: 002468.SZ – news) has reported. However, cheap devices – sub 150 dollars in China and India – are the segment which is really driving volumes. Bad news for margins at the likes of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL – news) and Samsung perhaps. Apple’s market share slipped further, to 15 per cent from 19 per cent, IDC said.

0958: Carnival (LSE: CCL.L – news) ‘s share price has received a boost from positive read-across from sector peer Royal Caribbean which beat expectations with its 2013 earnings yesterday. The US company said that it had reacted an ‘inflection point’. Analysts at Numis Securities this morning raised their recommendation for Carnival from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’ and hiked the target price for the shares from 2,250p to 3,000p. The FTSE 100 is up 23.91 at 6,574.57.

0930: UK GDP expanded at a quarter-on-quarter rate of 0.7 per cent in quarter four, according to preliminary estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). That followed an 0.8 per cent rate of expansion in quarter three. The reading was as expected.

0841: Investec (LSE: INVP.L – news) upgrades RBS (LSE: RBS.L – news) from ‘sell’ to ‘hold’. Ian Gordon tells clients that the time may have come to take profits on short positions, while urging would-be ‘value’ investors to keep the faith and be patient. His take on things is that yesterday’s update simply accelerates further losses into the fourth quarter of 2013. Even so, he muses, following an 11 per cent correction in the shares over eight days the extreme volatility continues to render RBS just a “trading stock”. FTSE 100 up 22 to 6,573.

0832: UK stocks have started the day with a modest bounce, possibly inspired by sharp gains in the Turkish lira this morning on hopes that country’s central bank will act decisively to forestall further losses. The above comes despite the losses seen on Wall Street yesterday evening, although the S&P 500 managed to hold above technical support at 1,775. An 8 per cent drop overnight in shares of Apple may be weighing on ARM Holdings (LSE: ARM.L – news) ‘ stock today. Miners are also doing well this morning. Not to be forgotten, several of these firms are due to put out production updates over the coming sessions. Preliminary fourth quarter GDP figures will be released by ONS at 09:30. The consensus forecast is for an 0.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter pace of expansion. FTSE 100 up 25 to 6,575.

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