Ftse live_ us federal reserve holds interest rates _ this is money

Meanwhile on the currency markets, the pound was trading down 0.48 per cent against the dollar at $1.4083 and down 0.1 per cent against the euro at €1.2735 after OBR figures showed that Osborne’s debt forecast borrowing is higher than hoped.

As a proportion to GDP it will be 82.6 per cent next year, up from 82.5 per cent this year. Gas x dosage pregnancy By 2020/21, it will be 74.7 per cent, up from previous forecasts of 71.3 per cent.

15:00: The Footsie rebounded to session highs in late afternoon trading after the Chancellor’s annual Budget statement provided a lift, and with a firmer crude price helping US stocks rally from opening falls in cautious trading ahead of the latest Federal Reserve policy decision.

With an hour and a half or trading to go in London, the FTSE 100 index was up 39.9 points, or 0.7 per cent higher at 6,179.9, just below the session peak of 6,182.2, as heavyweight oil and gas stocks and housebuilders rallied on the back of proposals in George Osborne’s latest budget.

But on currency markets, the pound fell back as part of his statement saw Mr Osborne cut Britain’s growth forecast for 2016 and 2017. Grade 9 electricity questions Against the dollar, the pound was down 0.5 per cent at $1.4075, while versus the euro it was off 0.2 per cent at €1.2715.

Feeling sick: Mr Osborne’s Budget news that Britain will introduce a new sugar levy on soft drinks had a negative impact for stocks such as Britvic, Irn-Bru market AG Barr and Vimto firm Nichols

Equity investors, however, were cheered by a halving in the rate of ‘supplementary charge’ on oil and gas produced to 10 per cent, effectively abolishing petroleum revenue tax, which gave a boost to blue chips Royal Dutch Shell, up 47.0p at 1,707.5p and BP up 9.1p at 351.1p, while mid cap Tullow Oil jumped 6 per cent or 11.9p to 204.0p.helped by positive drilling news from Kenya.

The hard-pressed sector was also buoyed by a rise in oil prices today, with Brent crude up around 4 per cent to back just below $40 a barrel following an announcement that producers will meet next month in Qatar to discuss a proposal to freeze output and on growing signs of a decline in US crude production.

Housebuilders also rose, with traders citing government plans to encourage building of new homes on ‘brownfield’ land, as well as relief that there were no additional taxes or levies announced for the sector, which is seeing stamp duty on some properties rise in April already.

Among the blue chips, Barratt Developments gained 3 per cent or 18.5p to 573.5p, while Taylor Wimpey added 6.5p at 187.9p, and Persimmon was up 58p at 2,084p.

Likewise Budget plans to increase the limit on ISA savings accounts and create a Lifetime ISA gave a boost to personal finance stocks, with blue chip St James’s Place jumping 4 per cent, or 37.5p to 937.5p, and Hargreaves Lansdown up 23p to 1,315p.

However, Mr Osborne’s news that said Britain will introduce a new sugar levy on soft drinks had a negative impact for Irn-Bru maker A.G.Barr, down 3.4 per cent or 19p to 535p, while Britvic shed 1.8 per cent or 12.5p to 696.5p, and Vimto firm Nichols, slumped 7 per cent, or 93p to 1,212p.

On Wall Street, in early trade, after starting lower the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to add 5.4 points at 1,7256.9, while the broader S&P 500 index was up 1.7 points at 2,017.6, and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite added 12.8 points at 4,741.5.

US stocks rebounded thanks to gains by energy stocks on the firmer oil price, although the advance was modest as investors awaited the Fed meeting outcome, at 6pm London time.

A batch of US data today pointed to a robust housing market and firming consumer prices, which coupled with a falling unemployment rate, could give the Fed ammunition to raise rates this year.

Investors aren’t expecting a change at today’s meeting, but policy makers will release updated projections for the economy as well as interest rates that could indicate how many rate increases could be in store this year.

Dennis de Jong, managing director at UFX.com, said: ‘The latest CPI figures show that underlying inflation in consumer prices has risen from a year ago – albeit not at the pace we saw in January.

‘Janet Yellen and her Federal Reserve colleagues have tended to keep a close eye on the CPI, and the question now is how these figures will inform interest rates.

‘Having raised the rate for the first time in almost a decade in December, the Fed may have even more good news for savers if it announces any further hikes in the coming months.’

12.00: The Footsie was up a touch at lunchtime but off session highs eyes with all eyes on the Budget statement at 12.30pm, with the Chancellor given a boost this morning by data showing UK employment and a record high and another fall in the numbers out of work.

By mid session, the FTSE 100 index was 6.5 points, or 0.1 per cent higher at 6,146.50, below the session peak of 6,171.61 but above the day’s low of 6,136.91.

Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst at IG, said: ‘Today’s eighth budget from the chancellor will offer both opportunity and risk in almost equal measure.

On currency markets, the pound was lower against the dollar at $1.4128 and fell back against the euro at €1.2741 after the latest UK economic data failed to revive hopes that a UK rate hike could be possible this year.

UK employment reached a record high of 31.4 million after an increase of 116,000 in the latest quarter, while the jobless rate held steady at 5.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, average earnings including bonuses rose by 2.1 per cent in the year to January, better than the 2.0 per cent forecast, but only 0.2 per cent higher on the previous month.

Oil majors led the FTSE 100 index higher as crude prices bounced back, with BP up 5.8p at 347.8p and Royal Dutch Shell ahead 23.5p at 1,684.0p.

Explorer Tullow Oil shares was a top FTSE 250 gainer, up rose 7.0p at 199.1p after the firm said it had encountered ‘good oil shows’ from a test well in the Kerio Valley Basin of northern Kenya.

10.00: The Footsie held firm as the morning session progressed but eased off highs with all eyes on today’s Budget, with the Chancellor given a boost by data showing record UK employment, although even more important will be the latest Federal Reserve rate decision due after the London close.

By mid morning, the FTSE 100 index was up 10.9 points, or 0.2 per cent at 6,150.9 having closed 34.60 points lower yesterday when investors fretted over global growth as the oil price fell back towards $38 a barrel.

But sterling was a touch higher against the euro at €1.2741 as the latest UK economic data revived hopes that a UK rate hike could still be possible later this year.

UK unemployment was 28,000 lower in the three months to January at 1.68 million, the sixth consecutive quarterly fall, with the jobless rate remaining steady at a 10 year low of 5.1 per cent, as expected.

Employment reached a record high of 31.4 million after an increase of 116,000 in the latest quarter. Gas constant in atm The number of people in work has now risen by almost half a million over the past year.

Meanwhile, average earnings including bonuses rose by 2.1 per cent in the year to January, better than the 2.0 per cent forecast, but was just 0.2 per cent higher on the previous month.

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said: ‘Once again the latest quarterly figures show continuing high employment levels but no significant pick-up in earnings growth.’

Among equities, London Stock Exchange shares were 7p lower to 2,899p as the FTSE 100 firm and German rival Deutsche Boerse said they have reached an agreement on a £21billion all-share merger, having confirmed last month they were in talks, and outlined plans to save more than £350million a year.

Their ‘merger of equals’ will create one of the biggest exchange companies in the world, with the LSE making up 45.6 per cent of the combined group and Deutsche Boerse the remaining 54.4 per cent.

Announcement of their deal now puts pressure on possible rival bidder Intercontinental Exchange to reveal if it plans to make a counter-offer.

ICE – owner of the New York Stock Exchange – has already said it is mulling making a bid for the LSE and has until March 29 to make a firm offer or walk away.

In other corporate news, generic drugs firm Hikma Pharmaceuticals shed 6 per cent or 102p at 1,619p after reporting a fall in 2015 pretax profit in to $318million, down from $362million in 2014 although it forecast a significant rise in revenue for the year ahead, helped by its recent acquisition of Roxane Laboratories.

On the upside, commodity stocks led the FTSE 100 index higher as oil prices bounced back, with miners Anglo American adding 2 per cent or 11p at 498.5p and Glencore adding 2.8p at 143.6p, while oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell were up 7.8p at 349.8p and 32p at 1,692.5p respectively.

Oil explorer Tullow Oil shares was the top FTSE 250 gainer, up rose 3.2 per cent, or 6.1p at 168.2p after the firm said it had encountered ‘good oil shows’ from a test well in the Kerio Valley Basin of northern Kenya.

Elsewhere, investment company Allied Minds gained 2.5p at 355.5p after it said its life sciences joint venture with US drugs company Bristol-Myers Squibb has signed a collaboration with New York University.

But Thomas Cook was the top FTSE 250 faller, down 6 per cent or 6.5p to 95.2p after Citigroup cut its stance on the travel firm to sell from neutral.

And shares in Moneysupermarket.com shed 4.7 per cent, or 16.2p at 327.4p after founder Simon Nixon completed the sale of his entire remaining 6.9 per cent stake in the company, with Credit Suisse placing 37.8 million shares on behalf of Nixon at 328.00p per share, raising a total of £124.0million.

08.15: The Footsie pushed higher in early trade on a very busy day for financial markets with all eyes initially on UK unemployment data followed by the Chancellor’s Budget statement, and then the focus switching swiftly across to US inflation numbers and the latest Federal Reserve rate decision.

In opening deals, the FTSE 100 index was 31.5 points, or 0.5 per cent higher at 6,171.5 having closed 34.60 points lower yesterday as investors fretted over global growth worries as the oil price fell back towards $38 a barrel.

US stocks ended higher overnight, however, with the Dow Jones Industrials up over 22 points as energy stocks bounced higher with oil prices after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed US crude stockpiles rose by less than half what analysts expected. Gas prices in texas Brent crude was pushing back up towards $39 a barrel this morning.

But Asian shares were mostly lower today as markets waited anxiously for the Federal Reserve to provide guidance on the risk of further US rate hikes this year.

‘Back in the US, Miss Yellen, the Fed Chairwomen, will have her own dilemma to face. Electricity usage by state She is not going to increment the rate hike today as the odds of such are next to none. Grade 9 current electricity test But, the economic data, which the Fed has mentioned that they are dependent off, have started to move the anchor for the rate hiker and the ship could start to sail again as soon as their next meeting.

‘The central bank has to tread this carefully, because we are in an environment where cricket empire is not only being an empire, but he has also started to play and this is not an ideal situation. Gas near me prices What I mean by such analogy is that central banks have started to play with markets rather than leave them alone and their loose monetary policy could cause enormous tumult for traders.’

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE – Deutsche Boerse and the LSE said they had reached an agreement on an all-share merger of equals and sees potential cost savings of €450million per year for the combined company.

SMITHS GROUP – The engineering conglomerate posted a better-than-expected first half profit, as growth at its medical division made up for poor performance at its largest unit John Crane.

HIKA PHARMACEUTICALS – The generics drugmaker reported a fall in pretax profit in 2015 to $318million, down from $362million in 2014, but forecast a significant rise in revenue for the year ahead, helped by its recent acquisition of the Roxane Laboratories, despite lowering its guidance for the Roxane business last month.

PAYSAFE GROUP – The mobile payments company posted a 68 per cent increase in full year 2015 revenues as more customers used its payment processing services.