A snapshot of the early morning's equity news and key market movements.
This morning in London: The FTSE 100 is currently up eight points at 6535.
FX and commodities: GBP/USD is down nine pips at $1.6636, EUR/USD is down 27 pips at $1.3884 and USD/JPY is up 23 pips at ¥101.58. Brent crude is down 27 cents at $107.85 and gold is trading at $1381, down $1.25.
Stocks: The Vodafone shopping spree has begun with the acquisition of Spanish cable operator Ono for €7.2 billion. UK housebuilders should benefit from this morning’s news that George Osborne and the Conservatives are planning on extending the Help to Buy scheme until 2020. Lloyds has stated a target of a further £1 billion to be lent out to small and medium-sized businesses over 2014. Press speculation is mounting over news that Royal Bank of Scotland is aiming to buy back a golden share from the government, which would enable it to start paying dividends.
The day ahead: It will be a quiet start to the day, with EU inflation figures set to be released mid-morning. Things will pick up in the afternoon, with the announcement of the US Empire State manufacturing and industrial production figures.
All figures correct at 8.15am. All times London time.