• FTSE 100 closes higher
  • BT top riser on bid chatter
  • Cineworld surges as Norges Bank gets the trading bug

5pm: FTSE closes firmly higher

FTSE 100 index raced Monday to a positive close, joining global indices in heading higher.

Britain’s index of leading shares closed up over 102 points, or 1.71% at 6,104.

Midcap FTSE 250 also went higher, adding over 107 points to close at 17,685.

“The optimism is being driven by a report that President Trump is looking to fast-track the approval of a drug that has the potential to be a vaccine for Covid-19,” noted analyst David Madden, at CMC Markets.

AstraZeneca and Oxford University are working on the drug in question, and Mr Trump is apparently keen to get the regulatory approval sped up. The move could come in October, one month ahead of the US presidential election.”

US and Canada 4.20pm/11.20am EST

Wall Street stocks were a  sea of green in early deals.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 280 points at 28,210. The S&P 500 added over 22 at 3,410. The tech heavy Nasdaq exchange was up over 33 at 11,345. In Toronto, the S&P/TSX index advanced nearly 88 points at 16,605.

4.00pm: Off the top but still a bright day for the Footsie

It has been a good day for the Footsie although it is no longer boasting a triple-digit gain.

The index of heavyweight shares was up 97 points (1.6%) at 6,099, with risers outnumbering fallers among Footstie constituents by about five-to-one.

BT PLC (LON:BT.A) was the top riser, climbing 5.9% to 107.85p after reports that private equity is sizing up a possible bid for the debt-ridden dinosaur with the massive hole in its pension plan bucket.

The general practice of private equity groups is to load the companies up with debt and use supposed guaranteed cash flow to service the debt, while syphoning money out of the business.

Some sceptics might argue that generations of management since the company was nationalised have tried that already at BT, but management at BT are taking the threat (to their jobs) seriously, according to reports, with the celebrate “vampire squid” Goldman Sachs being retained to shore up the telecoms company’s bid defences.

Just one more waffer thin poison pill, Mr Creosote?

For America’s top growth stocks click here

The mid-cap FTSE 250 has also had a good day, albeit one not as sparkling as its bigger brother. The mid-cap index was up 89 points (0.5%) at 17,659, with Cineworld Group PLC (LON:CINE) leading the way.

The cinemas operator, like BT geared up to the back-teeth but unlike BT with a main product that has been hit like a thunderclap from the mighty Thor by the coronavirus pandemic, was up 7.2% to 54.84p after Norges Bank banged out a holdings statement followed by two quick sequels.

The first announcement at 2.09pm revealed it had lowered its stake (once financial instruments such as certificates for deposit – CFDs – or options are taken into account) in Cineworld to 4.97% from 5.14% on August 11.

The second announcement (at 2.13pm) disclosed it had lowered the stake to 4.87% while increasing its stake of “real” shares (as opposed to CFDs) from 0.39% to to 1.29% on August 20.

A minute later, it announced that n August 21 it had kept its stake at 4.87% but reduced the “real shares” element to 0.6%.

Gripping stuff. I can’t wait for Holding(s) in Company IV.

3.30pm/10.30am EST: Proactive North America headlines:

Thoughtful Brands Inc (CSE:TBI) (FWB:1WZ1:GR) (OTCQB:PEMTF says its subsidiary Ecommerce Tech has acquired a key e-Commerce software platform

Nomad Royalty Company (TSE:NSR) (OTCQX:NSRXF) to buy Coral Gold Resources for US$45.8M

AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE:AGRA) (OCTMKTS:AGFAF) expects first harvest at its Delta greenhouse in fourth quarter 2020

GlobeX Data Ltd (OTCQB:SWISF) (CSE:SWIS) says SekurSafe solution selected by RE/MAX marketplace for secure email and data management

Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC) appoints Dr Michael Dugan as chief medical officer and medical director

Pacific Empire Minerals Corp (CVE:PEMC) (OTCQB:PEMSF) mobilizes geophysical crew to Jean Marie project

Benchmark Metals (CVE:BNCH) says increased financing allows it to lift drill program to 100,000 metres and begin planning feasibility study

Killi Ltd (CVE:MYID) (OTCMKTS:MYIDF) says CEO featured in ‘Dark Reading’ magazine discussing using ‘data’ for good’ to control coronavirus pandemic

Humanigen Inc (OTCPINK:HGEN) taps drug development expert Edward Jordan for chief commercial officer role ahead of lenzilumab launch

Medexus Inc (CVE:MDP) (OTCQX:PDDPF) says its joint-disease drug added to public drug plan in Quebec and will enjoy insurance coverage

2.45pm: Wall Street pushes higher

For America’s top growth stocks click here

As expected, the main US indices kicked off Monday’s session in the green amid optimism over a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.61% at 28,101 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.76% to 3,423 and the Nasdaq rose 1.18% to 11,445.

The bullish sentiment has put the Dow around 5% off its all-time high reached in February, while the other two indices both hit intraday highs at the open. Monday is also the day of record for Apple Inc’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) four-to-one stock split.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 was up 91 points at 6,093.

2.00pm: The Footsie keeps its head above 6,100

London’s leading shares moved into consolidation mode over the lunchtime trading session, with the Footsie keeping its head above the 6,100 level.

The index of leading shares was up 110 points (1.8%) at 6,112, with gaisn virtually across the board, except for hospitality related stocks, such as hotels groups Whitbread PLC (LON:WTB) and InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) and property plays, such as Land Securities PLC (LON:LAND) and British Land PLC (LON:BLND).

12.25pm: US indices to open higher

US indices are expected to add to Friday’s gains this afternoon.

The Dow Jones industrial average is tipped to open at around 28,176, up 246 points.

The S&P 500 is expected to start at 3,424, up 27 points while the NASDAQ Composite is seen starting at 11,670, up 358 points.

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) very much in the news after President Trump’s latest blast at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which he effectively accused of allowing people to die as part of a bizarre campaign to sabotage his election campaign, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported that the USA reported 34,600 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, down 17.8% on the 42,000 new cases reported a week earlier.

“Over the past week, confirmed new cases have fallen by 16%. The seven-day average number of new cases is falling steadily and now stands at 42.6K, down 37% from the July 22 peak, 67.3K,” observed Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Some of the fall in confirmed cases, however, reflects the drop in testing since its mid-July peak. The seven-day moving average number of tests has fallen by some 18% from the peak, and the proportion of positive tests appears to be stuck at just over 6%.

“Still, the reported drop in new cases is accompanied by a steady downward trend in hospitalisations, and deaths are nudging down slowly too. Hospitalisations in Arizona, at the leading edge of the second wave in the South, are down by 68% from their mid-July peak,” Shepherdson added.

In contrast, UK cases have risen steadily in recent weeks, but the national data appear to have flattened over the past week, Shepherdson noted.

“This might not last, given substantial outbreaks in some cities and the impending re-opening of schools, later than in many continental European countries,” he remarked.

Traders in the US are waiting for the Republican party’s Trumpian lovefest to start this week as well as the annual meeting – to be held virtually this year – of central bankers (not [necessarily] rhyming slang) in Jackson Hole.

“With the recent FOMC [Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee] minutes failing to ignite any spark around new stimulus measures or extraordinary measures coming into play, there is a feeling we could see Powell [the Fed’s president] lay out a strategy of average inflation targeting, which could allow for above 2% inflation to account for the below target levels we are currently seeing. Such a move to allow inflation to run above target would likely extend the amount of time the Fed could retain an ultra-easy monetary policy stance without being hamstrung by rising inflation,” suggested Joshua Mahony at IG Group.

In London, the FTSE 100 was up 114 points (1.9%) at 6,116.

11.15am: Resource stocks to the fore as Footsie racks up a triple-digit gain

Although President Trump’s record on recommending coronavirus treatments is patchy at best, his promotion of a potential treatment of COVID-19 using blood plasma has sparked markets.

Yesterday, Trump announced his administration has granted emergency use authorisation for treatment using blood plasma.

Some medical authorities have suggested there is not yet enough data to support the use of the treatment.

Be that as it may, equity investors have been hitting the ‘buy’ button this morning, with resource stocks, in particular, in demand as commodity prices head higher.

Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL), up 3.6% at 1,925.4p, led the mining sector higher.

Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) rose 2.4% to 4,799.5p despite the company holding its hand up and admitting to falling short of its obligations in the destruction of the Juukan rockshelters in May 2020 in Australia.

READ Rio Tinto executives lose bonuses for destruction of ancient aboriginal site

In the oil sector, Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB), up 2.9% at 1,106.2p, is marginally outperforming BP PLC (LON:BP.), which is up 2.7% at 280.7p, as the price of Brent crude climbs 29 cents (0.65%) to US$44.65 on futures markets.

The FTSE 100 was up 105 points (1.7%) at 6,106.

10.00am: BT leads the market higher as it braces for a bid

Having waited the whole weekend to pile into equities following Wall Street’s strong showing on Friday, traders did not hang about on Monday.

The FTSE 100 was up 97 points (1.6%) at 6,099, led by BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A), which is up 5.7% at 107.55p, on bid speculation.

“At a valuation of £10bn, the group has become a definite target and whilst BT has a lot of legacy baggage – notably £18bn in net debt and a major pension deficit – it’s also got the Openreach crown jewel, which would be worth considerably more on its own than the group is valued today,” said Neil Wilson of markets.com.

(He actually wrote Openreach would be worse considerably more on its own but I think we get his drift …)

“Of course, there is no formal offer, but shares could jump further if one emerges. Deutsche Telekom, which owns 12% in BT, is seen as a likely candidate. The question is whether there could be more bombed out UK-listed stocks that could be taken out by a timely takeover…perennial rumour-favourite ITV, for instance?” Wilson added,

The second best blue-chip performer is Bunzl PLC (LON:BNZL) after its half-year report.

Shares in the distribution group were up 3.4% at 2,486p after it reported strong first-half numbers helped by demand for coronavirus (COVID-19) related products and grocery items.

Talking of which, the US Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorisation for the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma on Sunday, which has boosted sentiment in global markets.

8.30am: Monday boost for Footsie

The FTSE 100 got off to a stronger-than-anticipated start to proceedings on Monday morning with traders inclined to ignore the negatives – coronavirus, economic worries and the Sino-American stand-off – to focus on clawing back some of the ground lost last week.

The index of UK blue-chips opened 71 points to the good at 6,072.65.

With America’s main markets at or near record highs, there is a suspicion professional investors may look for value plays here in Europe.

But Michael Hewson, of CMC Markets, provided these words of caution: “While this is a compelling narrative, it also underplays the political risks around a region where fiscal responses have been patchy at best,” he explained.

“For all the talk and optimism of the €750bn European pandemic recovery fund, the delivery of this extra money still remains months away, which leaves the European Central Bank as the only game in town.”

The rising tide in London followed a similarly positive open to the week in Asia, where a revitalised Hang Seng led the way.

Here at home, BT (LON:BT.A) was the big feature amid weekend reports it has called in Goldman Sachs to strengthen the company’s bid defence following a protracted sell-off of the shares. The stock opened 7.6% higher.

Distribution specialist Bunzl (LON:BNZL) rose 2.3% after it resumed dividend payments following a strong jump in profits. This gave a nudge to packaging firm DS Smith (LON:SMDS), up 2.2%.

AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) was also among the leaders with a 2.1% gain after Donald Trump suggested he was willing to fast-track a vaccine being developed by it and Oxford University.

Proactive news headlines:

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS) (NASDAQ:TLSA) has received a US patent for its TZLS-501 antibody technology being developed to treat the life-threatening effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Protection has been granted around the “methods and use” of anti-IL 6 and IL-6 receptor monoclonal antibodies for both protective (prophylactic) and therapeutic use. The grant of this additional patent on TZLS-501 is of “particular significance” for the potential treatment of COVID-19 and other pulmonary diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, the company said. In the case of COVID, the treatment offers the promise of providing immediate respite if the drug is inhaled directly using a handheld nebuliser.

Blackbird Plc (LON:BIRD) revealed that its cloud video editing platform was selected by production company Live X for use at the US Democratic National Convention, which was held from Monday to Thursday last week. The AIM-listed firm said Live X had chosen its platform to rapidly produce video content in the cloud during the convention, with the Live X media production team using Blackbird’s technology to “remotely and safely to edit and enrich live, engaging content from the convention and publish it ultra-fast to social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram”. Blackbird also said it had been used to make content rapidly available to media partners for re-purposing to multiple platforms and channels.

IXICO PLC (LON:IXI), the data analytics company focused on neuroscience, has raised earnings expectations for the current fiscal year. The company is benefiting from continued operational leverage, generated by revenue growth and investments made to drive scale and efficiency, it said in a trading update. The board expects revenues for the year to the end of September 2020, to be in line with, or slightly ahead of, current market expectations, representing growth of more than 20% compared to the prior year. Underlying earnings (EBITDA) are expected to be materially ahead of current market expectations.

Clipper Logistics PLC (LON:CLG) said it expects results for its current year will “comfortably exceed market expectations” after reporting “exceptionally high demand” for its e-fulfilment and returns management services. In an outlook statement accommodating its results for the year ended April 30, 2020, the company said it had experienced a “very positive start” to its current financial year, with an annualised revenues of its probability-weighted pipeline standing at over £50mln, a “significant increase” on the same period last year. The upbeat outlook accompanied a strong set of full-year results, with Clipper reporting that revenues reached a record level of £500.7mln, up 8.8% year-on-year, while earnings (EBIT) climbed 19.1% to £24.1mln.

Powerhouse Energy Group PLC (LON:PHE) told investors that Peel L&P it has completed on-schedule the engineering definition work for the DMG plant at Protos Energy Park, in Cheshire. The work allows contractors to now price their contracts for constructing the plant and the associated on-site buildings, and it has also provided the project with further technical and commercial validation. The milestone represents a significant step towards plant construction commencing in the fourth quarter and will facilitate progress to finalising project financing.

Tissue Regenix Group PLC (LON:TRX), the regenerative medical devices company, has entered into a UK distribution agreement for its OrthoPure XT knee ligament product. The distribution agreement, which comes with its first UK order for OrthoPure XT, is with a speciality supplier of orthopaedic and biologic products. The distributor was not identified but Tissue Regenix’s interim chief executive officer (CEO), Gareth Jones described the party as “an ideal partner to support the commercialisation of OrthoPure XT in the UK”.

AEX Gold (LON:AEXG) has mobilized its workforce in Greenland, with the site fully staffed since August 15, 2020. The company plans extensive exploration work in Greenland ahead of planned underground development work, which is scheduled for 2021. The current programme includes 3,000 metres of surface drilling at the Nalunaq project, including infill drilling, surface geological mapping, and underground mapping and channel sampling. In addition, AEX will commence pre-development activities at Nalunaq ahead of camp construction and underground development activities, which will commence in 2021.

Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) said it has agreed to acquire Pharm2Farm Limited, a firm developing crop nutrition products and a nanotechnology-enabled anti-viral face mask. In an announcement on Friday afternoon, AIM-listed Remote Monitored Systems said it will acquire the group through the issue of 600mln new shares, equating to around £2.37mln based on its closing price last Thursday of 0.375p. Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BRH), which owns around 51.7% of Pharm2Farm, will receive 310.3mln shares in the transaction, while the firm’s founder Gareth Cave, who owns the remaining shares, will receive 289.6mln.

Base Resources Ltd (LON:BSE) booked revenue of US$208mln during the year ended June 30, 2020, and has declared a maiden dividend of A$0.035per share. The company said its mineral sands mining operation at Kwale in Kenya maintained operational continuity during the coronavirus crisis and achieved the upper end of production guidance. Ongoing firm demand supported price improvement for ilmenite and rutile, and helped deliver overall net profits after tax of US$39.6mln. The company also continued working on its Toliara development project in Madagascar.

Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES) has agreed to raise up to £1mln of new equity. The company’s broker Peterhouse Capital has arranged a £750,000 placing – with 267.8mln shares being sold at 0.28p – and a further broker offer option could see an additional £250,000 raised at the same placing price. Proceeds are earmarked for the continuing development of the CS Pozzolan-Perlite Project in Nevada, along with initial drill work across the company’s gold and silver projects.

Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP) has executed a deal that sees the company become operator of a project to recommission and restart a chrome beneficiation plant in South Africa. The plant is located adjacent to Jubilee’s Inyoni tailings operations and the deal is a processing agreement which is backed by a guaranteed supply of a minimum of 40,000 tonnes per month, which could rise to 80,000 tonnes per month. The resultant PGM containing tails will be processed by Jubilee at the Inyoni PGM recovery plant. 

Verona Pharma PLC (LON:VRP, NASDAQ:VRNA) has said it is to present to a leading industry conference data from a phase IIb trial of its drug candidate for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Delegates at the virtual European Respiratory Society International Congress will be provided subgroup analysis from Verona’s phase IIb trials of nebulised ensifentrine. The data was first reported in January and March this year. It demonstrated the drug improves lung function in moderate to severe COPD patients regardless of smoking status or history of chronic bronchitis over four weeks.

Woodbois Ltd (LON:WBI), the African-focused forestry and timber trading company, has ranked third in the Sustainability Policy Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) ESG policy transparency assessments for the worldwide timber and pulp industries. SPOTT, the online platform created by the Zoological Society of London, annually assesses multiple worldwide timber and pulp producers and traders on the public disclosure of their policies, operations and commitments to Environmental, Social and Governance best practice. Woodbois was recognised as the highest-ranked public company.

Ashley House PLC (LON:ASH), which on July 30 advised that a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was being proposed and a creditors’ meeting followed by a members’ meeting arranged to vote on it, has said that due to ongoing discussions around proposed amendments to the proposals, the meetings have again been adjourned and are now rescheduled for Wednesday August 26 at 10.30am and 12.00pm respectively. The company said it will update the market once the meetings have been concluded.

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC), the Caribbean and Atlantic margin focused oil and gas company, with exploration, production, appraisal and development assets across the region has announced that further to the completion of the recent merger with Columbus Energy Resources Leo Koot has been appointed to the group’s board as a non-executive director, with immediate effect. Koot has over 31 years’ experience in the Energy sector and has a Master’s in Petroleum Engineering and a business accreditation from Harvard Business School. During his extensive career, he has run oil and energy businesses as well as been an active board member, including his current role as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director with Sterling Energy plc. Bill Schrader, BPC chairman commented: “I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Leo to the Board of BPC.  Leo brings a wealth of experience in both the broader industry and specifically with regards to the assets which we have recently acquired through the merger with Columbus.  His insight will no doubt prove invaluable as we seek to integrate the combined business and progress the development of our broadened portfolio of assets.”

Adamas Finance Asia Limited (LON:ADAM), the London quoted pan-Asian diversified investment vehicle focused on providing shareholders with attractive uncorrelated, risk-adjusted long-term returns has confirmed that its recent placing and open offer has now closed. It said it saw final valid applications from qualifying shareholders in respect of 494,464 open offer shares and, accordingly, the firm has raised a total of £123,616 (before expenses) via the open offer. The company added that it received binding commitments from multi-family offices from Asia, the Middle East and North America in relation to the placing for the full value of the open offer, with total proceeds to be raised under the placing amounting to £3,011,094 Total proceeds to be raised under the open offer and placing are, therefore, £3,134,710 in aggregate.

Catenae Innovation PLC (LON:CTEA), the AIM-quoted provider of digital media and technology, announced that Markops Limited, the group’s newly appointed marketing agency, has, subject to annual general meeting (AGM) headroom approval, converted £12,500 of credit with the company for services rendered. If the requisite AGM resolution is passed, this will result in 342,465 ordinary shares in the company being issued to Markops at a price of 3.65p per ordinary share. The company also announced that its AGM will be held on Friday, 25 September 2020 at 12 pm at the offices of the offices of Goodman Derrick LLP at 10 St Bride Street, London EC4A 4AD. There will be a Q&A following the AGM using the Zoom Conferencing Platform, details of which will be circulated with the AGM notices that will be sent to shareholders and will also be made available on the company website. Guy Meyer, chief executive officer of Catenae commented: “We are pleased that our newly appointed marketing agency, Markops, has chosen to take a stake in the business, which highlights its confidence in the future prospects of the Company and aligns itself with our strategy. The team at Markops is instrumental in the repositioning of Catenae’s business and brand and is helping to inject value into our product set, as well as introducing the Company to their corporate networks. We also look forward to our AGM following which, the Board will host a Q&A for our investors where there will be an opportunity to engage in, what I expect to be, productive discussions.”

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) the AIM-listed metals exploration and development company said it has received a notice to exercise warrants over 10,000,000 new ordinary shares in the company at 1.0p per share and subscription monies of £100,000 have been received by the company in respect of this exercise.

Trident Royalties PLC (LON:TRR) (FSX:5KV) has announced the appointment of Shard Capital Partners as its joint broker with immediate effect. Shard will work alongside the company’s existing Broker, Tamesis Partners; Grant Thornton UK will continue to act as the company’s Nominated Adviser. Adam Davidson, chief executive officer of Trident commented: “As demonstrated by our performance thus far, we believe there is a significant value opportunity available to Trident and we look forward to working with Shard to continue to spread the story among retail and other investors.”

Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG), the respiratory drug discovery and development company, said it was informed on August 21, 2020, that Leonard Licht, a private investor, now holds 7,375,000 ordinary shares in the company, representing 4.93% of the issued share capital

APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ) has announced that as at the close of business on July 31, 2020, its unaudited book value per ordinary share was 28.06 US cents, equivalent to 21.38p.

Corero Network Security PLC (LON:CNS), a leading provider of real-time, high-performance DDoS defense solutions, has said it will announce its results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, on Tuesday, September 15, 2020.

6.50am: Brighter start predicted 

The FTSE 100 looks set to start the week in positive territory with traders taking their cue from Asia’s main markets.

Hong Kong led the way with a 1.5% gain, followed by equities on the mainland. Japan’s move higher could be described as tentative at best.

Still fermenting in the background are worries over the shape of the recession and simmering trade hostilities between the US and China, the world’s two largest economies.

Looking ahead, we have second-quarter GDP numbers from the US, Germany and France, which should provide a sense of how quickly world output is contracting in the face of this sustained coronavirus outbreak.

The Jackson Hole symposium for world bankers, meanwhile, is taking place virtually on Thursday and Friday.

The meeting theme is ‘Navigating the Decade Ahead: Implications for Monetary Policy’.

The debate should perhaps be reframed to focus on the navigating the tricky weeks and months ahead and co-ordinating stimulus efforts.

“Investors will be looking for clues as to what steps the Federal Reserve might look to take in the event of another serious flare up in COVID-19 cases as we head into the autumn, with the added complication of a Presidential election in early November,” said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

Closer to home the corporate news flow shows little sign of slowing with updates from jet engine maker Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.), distribution specialists Bunzl PLC (LON:BNZL) and advertising and marketing giant WPP PLC (LON:WPP).

There will also be results from doorstep lender Provident Financial Group PLC (LON:PFG) and Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment PLC (LON:FLTR), while US jobless claims data and other macro smatterings will provide interest away from the corporate diary.

Around the markets:

  • Pound worth US$1.3091 (flat)
  • Gold changing hands for US$1,939.80 an ounce, down US$7.20
  • Brent crude selling for US$44.29 a barrel, down 6 cents

6.45am: Early Markets – Asia/Australia

Asia Pacific stocks were higher on Monday with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index leading the gainers with a 1.41% rise.

Mainland Chinese stocks were also higher with the Shanghai Composite gaining 0.24% and in South Korea the Kospi added 0.58%.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was down by as much as 0.3% at the open but soon recovered as iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) reported a 49% increase in annual post-tax profit to US$4.7 billion.


Proactive Australia news:

Alice Queen Limited (ASX:AQX) has received binding commitments for a strongly supported $7 million capital raising which will be used to fast-track the company’s gold exploration strategy.

Comet Resources Limited (ASX:CRL) has achieved grades and recoveries described as “excellent” in recently completed test-work on material from diamond drilling at Springdale Graphite Project in Western Australia.

Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (OTCMKTS:CBBHF) (FRA:COH) has taken another step towards establishing a pilot plant in Broken Hill with the delivery of a second batch of key equipment, including reactors, tanks, filters, pumps and spirals.

Meteoric Resources NL (ASX:MEI) has started diamond drilling at Butchers Creek prospect of the Palm Springs Gold Project within the Kimberley region of WA.

Kazia Therapeutics Ltd’s (ASX:KZA) (NASDAQ:KZIA) paxalisib treatment for malignant glioma has been granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

archTIS Ltd (ASX:AR9) has entered a contractual agreement with KPMG to provide resources to conduct several specialised security services, which includes an Information Security services contract with a Commonwealth National Security Agency.

Kin Mining NL (ASX:KIN) has discovered shallow ore-grade gold mineralisation in aircore drilling at East Lynne prospect which extends the Cardinia Gold Project (CGP) near Leonora in WA and further enhances the project’s potential.

YPB Group Ltd (ASX:YPB) has received firm commitments from sophisticated and professional investors to raise $650,000 in a placement.

Cipherpoint Ltd (ASX:CPT) is beginning to gain momentum in identified target markets with the June quarter seeing a strong uptick in digital lead generation, despite significant reductions in marketing and advertising spend.

Kingwest Resources Ltd (ASX:KWR) has plans to unlock the value of the historical Menzies Gold Project (MGP) and the Goongarrie Gold Project (GGP) in Western Australia with an aggressive drilling program to take place in the next 12 months.