Thursday morning snapshot

A snapshot of the early morning's equity news and key market movements.

Last night in the US: The Dow Jones closed up 26 points at 14,803, the NASDAQ finished down 17 points at 3677 and the S&P 500 ended the day flat at 1656.

This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently up 26 points at 6364.

FX and commodities: GBP/USD is down 17 pips at $1.5936, EUR/USD is down 18 pips at $1.3505 and USD/JPY is up 33 pips at ¥97.66. Brent crude is up 62 cents at $108.94 and gold is trading at $1304, down $1.

Stocks: BAE Systems has highlighted the importance of securing its contract with Saudi Arabia, stating that earnings are likely to fall by 6% should that fail to materialise. WH Smith has posted a 6% increase in profits, up to £108 million, enabling it to increase the dividend by 14% to 31p. Possibly buoyed by Royal Mail’s success, Saga has announced that it is looking to float in the first quarter next year, and aims to raise £3 billion. In a move sure to create plenty of bad PR, Scottish & Southern Energy has announced that it will be increasing average gas and electricity bills by 8.2%.

The day ahead: The Bank of England will be announcing its interest rate decision at midday, and this will be followed by US unemployment claims at 1.30pm. Later, after European markets are closed, ECB president Mario Draghi will be speaking.

All figures correct at 8.30am. All times London time.

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