Today's key US news from the Live Blog

Speaking earlier today, St Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard said the Fed would need more data before it could make a decision about whether or not to taper off the asset purchasing programme.

Well he certainly received lots to ponder. Perhaps the most important figure was US initial jobless claims, which fell nearly to pre-crisis levels at 320,000. The total number of people claiming unemployment benefits fell to a six-year low of 2.969m. Jobless claims are a key indicator of future unemployment, which the Fed has linked to the tapering timeline.

At the same time, it was reported that inflation was 0.2 per cent in June, hitting the Fed target of 2.0 per cent year-on-year, and counteracting deflationary fears that some had expressed.

Soon after, it was revealed that industrial production in July was unchanged, although analysts had been hoping to see an increase of 0.3 per cent. Notably, manufacturing output fell by 0.1 per cent. The Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing survey later showed that conditions in the sector had improved - but by less than hoped for.

The housebuilding sector, the jewel in the country's crown, did improve however, with confidence measured by the National Association of House Builder's unexpectedly rising even further.

The evidence suggested that the Federal Reserve would look to taper off its asset buying programme in the near future - probably tapering off Treasuries at a faster pace than mortgage-backed securities. Yields on the 10-year hit a two year high as investors priced in the developments, the dollar jumped, and the S&P and Dow Jones share indices plummeted.