- FTSE 100 index sheds 50 points
- Gold price slides by 0.8%
- US indices mixed
5.20pm: FTSE limps to the close
The FTSE 100 ended Thursday down 50 points, 0.8%, at 6,334.4, and the FTSE 250 finished 193 points, 1%, lower at 19,506.5.16:3.
“Stock markets are set to finish the day in the red as lockdown worries have replaced the recent optimism generated on the back of the vaccine hopes,” CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote Thursday. “Traders haven’t forgotten about the hopeful news from Monderna and Pfizer-BioNTech with respect to vaccines but concerns about damage being done to the economy is in focus today.”
Among the stocks in the red was easyJet plc (LON:EZJ), which lost 4.6% to £721.80.
“In London, it is the usual suspects that are feeling the most pain because of the health concerns, as airlines, transport and hospitality stocks are under pressure,” Madden wrote. “Oil, mining and banking stocks are suffering too.”
In the US, the Dow fell 199 points, 0.4%, to 29,318.96 just after noon ET. The Nasdaq Composite rose 66 points, 0.6% to 11,868.28, and the S&P 500 was nearly flat, down 3.5 points, 0.1%, to 3,564.25.
4.10pm: Gold friendless
London’s benchmark of blue-chips shares looks set to fall for the second day in succession.
The FTSE 100 was down 56 points (0.9%) at 6,329.
“Continuing the recent trend, the markets have remained in a relatively tight range, after Wall Street ended lower for the second straight day on Wednesday, which basically reversed a two-day rally. So, while it may look like equity investors are more concerned about the new lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus than they are hopeful about prospects for a vaccine, let’s not forget that this consolidation comes on the back of a sizeable two-week rally, especially for value stocks,” said Fawad Razaqzada at ThinkMarkets.
“As the major indices remain near their recent highs, this recent price action could therefore be regarded as bullish consolidation, rather than a bearish reversal,” he added.
It is not aa if investors have been deserting equities for gold; the yellow metal was down US$15.40 (0.8%) at US$1,858.50 on futures markets.
“Gold continues to lose momentum in response to recent vaccine announcements and their potential effectiveness in combatting a not-yet-under-control Covid-19 outbreak. This development has driven a small exodus out of exchange-traded funds with total holdings down 1.7 million ounces or 1.5% to a 2 ½-month low. While the short-term outlook has turned somewhat challenging, the medium-term outlook remains favourable for gold and other investment metals,” declared Ole Hansen, the head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.
4.00pm: Proactive North America headlines:
Tinka Resources (CVE:TK) (OTCPINK:TKRFF) (FRA:TLD) adds a third drill rig at its Ayawilca zinc-silver project in Peru
Walcott Resources Ltd (CNSX:WAL) (OTCMKTS:WALRF) (FRA:WR2) engages geological consultant to steer exploration at Australian silver projects
Empower Clinics Inc (CSE:CBDT) (OTCQB:EPWCF) (FRA:8EC) hails Kai Medical Laboratory’s new test protocol that differentiates between influenza strains and coronavirus
2.45pm: Wall Street opens in the red
The main indices on Wall Street turned lower on Thursday morning as an unexpected rise in US weekly jobless claims dampened market sentiment.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.64% at 29,249, while the S&P 500 fell 0.63% to 3,545 and the Nasdaq sank 0.26% to 11,771.
“It looks as though the increase in initial claims reported today is not a one-time fluke; more likely, it captures the beginning of an upward trend which will persist until the Covid wave subsides. We hope to see the case numbers peaking by the middle of next month, though much depends on the extent of the inevitable upward kick which will be triggered by Thanksgiving gatherings, but that still means that layoffs could continue to rise through the year-end”, analysts at Pantheon Macroeconomics said of the latest set of jobless figures.
“Continuing claims will follow initial claims upwards. Strength in the goods economy could offset weakness in services in November payrolls, but the outlook for December is clearly deteriorating, making it ever-clearer that Congress needs to act very soon, unless they believe that a wasteland in the services sector is a good base for the post-Covid recovery”, they added.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 had continued to slide and was down 48 points at 6,337 at around 2.45pm.
2.09pm: US jobless claims rise
US initial jobless claims rose to 742,000 last week from 711,000 the week before.
Economists had pencilled in a figure of 707,000.
New weekly jobless claims are in. 742-thousand Americans applied for first time benefits, higher than experts predicted and blamed on resurgence of #coronavirus.
Right now, 6.8 million Americans are still receiving jobless benefits, down from 7.2 million a week earlier.
— Laura Garcia (@LauraGarciaNBC) November 19, 2020
The news has shaved a few points off the levels at which the main indices are expected to open, with the Dow Jones now tipped to start at 29,370, down 68 points, and the S&P 500 seen opening at 3,559, down 9 points.
In London, the FTSE 100 was down 44 points (0.7%) at 6,341.
12.40pm: Business confidence ebbs
After yesterday’s heavy losses, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 are set for a gentler decline while the NASDAQ Composite is tipped to open higher.
The Dow Jones is pegged to open around 49 points lower at 29,389 while the broader-based S&P 500 is expected to shed 4 points to open at 3,564.
The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite is seen rising 66 points at 11,867, although stock in Nasdaq Inc was off in pre-market trading after the bourses operator announced the US$2.75bn cash acquisition of anti-financial crime management specialist, Verafin.
Iconic department store Macy’s Inc has somewhat set the tone with a third-quarter loss of US$91mln, equivalent to 29 cents a year.
“Virus fears have hit an overextended global stock market this morning,” said Chris Beauchamp at IG.
“After the soaraway gains of the past two weeks, equities now look much more richly-valued, and thus vulnerable to an outbreak of bad news. This is precisely what we got in the form of spreading infections in the US but also in Japan, a worrying sign indeed for a country that had been successful earlier in the year in controlling the spread. Even reports of success for AstraZeneca’s new vaccine were not enough, the impact of these vaccine announcements having been on a declining trend since the first, excitedly-received news from Pfizer almost three weeks ago. There appears to be little desire to chase equities at these levels, and perhaps rightly so, with markets looking priced for perfection and still vulnerable to some short-term turbulence,” Beauchamp said.
Colorado became the most recent state to urge its residents to refrain from travelling on around next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, as it attempts to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Today’s US economic diary features a number of releases, including the weekly jobs figures and existing home sales for October.
Daiwa Capital Markets reports that sales are likely to record a slight dip in October, albeit from already elevated levels.
“Following the disappointing NY Fed manufacturing survey released earlier this week, the latest manufacturing surveys from both the Philadelphia and Kansas Fed will also be of some interest to see whether a broader slowdown in momentum might be at play. Finally, today will also bring the Conference Board’s leading indicator for October and the weekly jobless claims report,” Daiwa reported.
In London, the mood music is similarly sombre although the FTSE 100 has recovered to 6,340, down 45 points (0.7%).
Sentiment took a bit of a knock from the CBI’s industrial trends survey, which showed a fall in the orders balance to -40% in November from -34% in October.
“The CBI industrial trends survey for November showed some resilience but nevertheless indicated that manufacturers are being adversely affected by the national lockdown in England and other restrictions,” said Howard Archer, the chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club.
“The Government has stressed that it wants manufacturers to stay open during the lockdown, and lessons have been learned in keeping activity going from earlier in the year. Many factories have been adjusted to meet the social distancing requirements so employees can still work,” he added.
“The weakening in total orders in November seems to have been due to a falling back in both domestic and foreign demand.
“The export orders balance dipped to -51% in November after rising to a seven-month high of -46% in October from -56% in September and a record low of -79% in June (the series started in April 1977). Again, at -51% in November, it was substantially below the long-term average of -18%,” Archer reported.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) “Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society” report was similarly downbeat, reporting that 14% of UK businesses said they had low or no confidence that their business would survive the next three months.
11.30am: Manufacturing orders decline
A CBI survey on manufacturing orders indicated they fell at a faster pace in November.
The total orders balance retreated to -40, in line with expectations, from -34 in October. The balance is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents reporting a fall in orders from the percentage reporting a rise.
“Output volumes have declined at their slowest pace in over a year in our November survey but order books have softened again as global demand has been hit by intensified lockdowns, and manufacturers have trimmed their expectations,” said Anna Leach, the CBI’s deputy chief economist.
“Key to stabilising trading conditions for manufacturing firms will be getting the pandemic under control through further investment in mass testing, ensuring a seamless test and trace system, and an efficient vaccine roll out,” Leach added.
The FTSE 100 was down 64 points (1.0%) at 6,321.
10.15am: Supermarkets defy the trend
London’s index of leading shares is in the red and would be lower still were it not for enthusiasm for supermarket stocks.
Morrisons was up 4.1% after a broker upgrade, dragging up Tesco and Sainsbury’s by 0.9% and 1.2% respectively.
“Halma can already point to 41 consecutive increases in its annual dividend of at least 5% and the interim results suggest the FTSE 100 firm is well on track to make it 42, despite the difficult overall backdrop, as management sanctions a 5% hike in the first-half payment to 6.87p per share,” said Russ Mould, AJ Bell’s investment director.
“Although the actual forecast dividend yield of 0.7% is not going to set income investors’ pulses racing, the consistent increases in the total annual pay-out are helping to carry the share price higher. Halma’s share price was 1.9p at the start of 1979, when the dividend growth streak began, so this year’s forecast distribution of 17.04p a share looks pretty good against that,” Mould noted.
9.10am: Retreat resumes
The FTSE 100 index fell back in early morning trade on Thursday as a late sell-off in the US made for another negative open in London with rapidly rising coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates the focus of market anxiety on both sides of the Atlantic.
The index of UK blue-chips opened 58 points lower at 6,327.66.
The US has recorded a quarter of a million coronavirus deaths, while mortality rates in Spain and Italy are on the increase.
Meanwhile, a third vaccine candidate looks to have entered the race. The Oxford University-AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) developed jab showed an encouraging immune response in the older population most at risk from COVID-19.
The caveat here is the data for the Oxford-AZ drug was derived from a phase II clinical trial, where the efficacy of Pfizer’s and Monderna’s inoculations has been copper-bottomed by a much larger-scale phase III study.
We’ll get the read-out from the Oxford-AZ phase III in the coming weeks, the market has been told.
AZ stock opened higher, before giving up most of its early gains.
A 4% fall in shares of B&Q owner Kingfisher (LON:KGF) smacked of profit-taking after more than doubling in value from a pre-lockdown low. It also reported that sales growth had slowed – marginally and from fairly unsustainable levels.
Discount retailer B&M Europe (LON:BME) led the Footsie fallers with a 4.3% decline as it began trading without the entitlement to a dividend payment.
Proactive news headlines:
Naked Wines Plc (LON:WINE) has said it is upgrading its sales forecasts after a stellar first half in which revenues were up by 80%. The online retailer is raising its ‘central case’ growth assumptions to 55%-65% for the 12 months to the end of next March. “The positive trading momentum has been sustained into the start of the second half of the year, although we are mindful of significant levels of political and economic uncertainty,” the company said in the outlook statement with its half-year results. First-half revenues were £157mln with the repeat contribution growing by 89% to £36.2mln. The repeat customer profit margin increased by 3.5 percentage points to 29%.
SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) highlighted a strong period of production and cash generation as it reported results for the first three quarters of 2020. The company stated an average entitlement production rate of 6,646 barrels oil equivalent per day (boepd) for the period, representing a 90% gain on the comparative nine months in 2019. Production growth was driven by the South Disouq asset which, after coming online in late 2019, became established during the period producing some 48.6mln cubic feet of gas and 467 barrels of oil per day, equating to 4,710 boepd net to SDX.
Accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO), the ticketing and virtual queuing group has said revenues for the whole of 2020 should be comfortably ahead of previous guidance. The company had previously indicated that full-year revenues would be at least US$48mln. The second half of the year has seen the company continue to benefit from increased activity through late summer and early autumn at customer venues, albeit with reduced capacity at many venues. The group said in a full-year trading statement that it will enter 2021 with “a resilient financial position and strong, durable customer relationships”.
CMC Markets PLC (LON:CMCX) has confirmed it had an exceptional first half in its current financial year as it whacked up the interim dividend by 222%. In its results statement covering the six months to the end of September 2020, the trading platform operator said that the second half of its financial year had started strongly and there are encouraging signs regarding the staying power of recently signed-up clients. The FTSE 250-listed firm’s net operating income in the first half was £230.9mln, up 126% from the £102.3mln posted in the corresponding period of 2019 and the group said it is confident that net operating income for the full-year will top £370mln.
Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it has launched a private coronavirus (COVID-19) testing clinic inside its Goodbody Wellness store in Bath. The Aquis-listed firm said that the clinic, which opened on Thursday, will provide polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for travel and work, antigen testing providing results in 15 minutes as well as antibody testing for those who want to find out if they have had COVID-19.
Next Fifteen Communications PLC (LON:NFC) has said results this year will exceed both management and market expectations after a strong performance from its B2B businesses. In a trading update, the digital marketing specialist said: “We remain cautiously optimistic about trading as we enter the final quarter of our financial year and will continue to manage our cost base with care in what is still a highly uncertain general economic environment. We anticipate results for the year ending 31 January 2021 will be ahead of current market expectations.”
Guild Esports PLC (LON:GILD) has signed up top-ranked professional gamer ‘Flikk’, Nikolaj Andreas Frøslev, as its first player for Fortnite, the hugely popular ‘battle royale’ game. The company noted that Flikk is expected to be the first of several player appointments for Fortnite, which is now the fourth eSports game segment for Guild – alongside FIFA, Rocket League, and Valorant. Guild noted that Flikk, age 17, is ranked as the number 16 professional Fortnite player, with US$100,000 of tournament prize money won to date and is deemed ‘one-to-watch’.
Open Orphan PLC (LON:ORPH) said its hVIVO division has been selected to lead a consortium that has been tasked with generating regulatory style guidelines on the manufacture of human challenge agents for use in controlled human infection studies. In doing so it will collaborate with HIC-Vac, an international network of researchers developing human infection challenge studies to accelerate the development of vaccines against pathogens, and the international medical charity, the Wellcome Trust. hVIVO will help set international standards for challenge agent manufacture and storage, building on the current World Health Organisation guidelines.
Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE) has noted a “continued uplift” in online sales of its Chill branded products following what it said was an “overwhelmingly positive response” to the brand following its roll out in the US. In a trading update, the cannabidiol (CBD) specialist noted that Chill’s online orders increased by 190% month-on-month in October, which it said gave “strong credence” to the fact that the brand is starting to gain traction.
Adamas Finance Asia Limited (LON:ADAM) said its portfolio has remained resilient in the face of the headwinds created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with underlying valuations being mostly unaffected. In a trading update, the Asia-focused small company financier said its estimated net asset value (NAV) on September 30, 2020, was 73p/ 95 US cents (June 30, 2020: 75p/ 95 US cents). The consolidated unaudited estimated NAV on the same date was US$99.4mln (June 30, 2020: US$100.2mln).
Oriole Resources PLC (LON:ORR) has told investors that the drill rig and equipment for a planned exploration programme at the Bibemi gold project in Cameroon is now being mobilised to site. The rig is expected to arrive in Cameroon in early December, around three weeks later than originally expected as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) related border restrictions. Nonetheless, Oriole said it still expects to kick-off the drill programme before the end of 2020, as planned.
Zephyr Energy PLC (LON:ZPHR) has announced the start of operational activity at the site of the State 16-2 well, in Utah. The well is being delivered for dual-use – as a collaboration with a state-backed research project and as an exploration venture for Zephyr – and it is on track to spud before the end of 2020. Initial activity at the site sees the start of remediation work on the State 16-2 well pad and access road. This is expected to take less than five days to conclude. Rig mobilisation is anticipated in early December.
Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) says a drilling contract has now been signed for the Haneti Nickel Project in Tanzania. Power Metal holds a 35% ownership interest in Haneti, with Katoro Gold PLC (LON:KAT) owning the rest. All phases of pre-deployment activity, such as liaison and coordination with the Ministry of Mining, have been completed and the drilling rig, supporting personnel and equipment have been fully prepared and are now mobilising to the first drilling location.
Braveheart Investment Group PLC (LON:BHG) has announced that on November 18, 2020, it sold a total of 112,592,405 ordinary shares in Remote Monitored System PLC (LON:RMS) at a weighted average price of approximately 2.66p per share, realising gross proceeds of approximately £2,998,000. The group said it will consider a variety of options for the use of the net proceeds and will inform shareholders in due course and as appropriate. Following these sales, Braveheart no longer holds any RMS shares.
Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC (LON:CGNR), the gold exploration and development company focused on Ireland and Finland, announced that it has received notice to exercise warrants over a total of 325,000 ordinary shares of €0.001 each at an exercise price of 16p per ordinary share, for which funds of £52,000 have been received by the company. The warrants were issued to Anglo Asian Mining PLC as part of the proposed joint venture announced on July 21, 2020. The group said the proceeds from the exercise of the warrants will be used by the company for general working capital purposes.
Litigation Capital Management Limited (LON::LIT), an alternative asset manager specialising in dispute financing solutions internationally, announced that, at its annual general meeting held in Australia on Thursday, all resolutions were duly passed.
Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR), the specialist drug development company delivering targeted small molecule therapeutics to improve the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases announced that its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held at 10.00am on Tuesday, December 15, 2020, at the company’s registered office at 2a Langford Arch, Cambridge CB22 3FX. In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the AGM will be run as a closed meeting. Shareholders wishing to join the AGM remotely and participate in the Q&A session should register with IMC at www.investormeetcompany.com/sareum-holdings-plc/register-investor
Enteq Upstream PLC (LON:ETQ) the AIM-listed energy technology provider for directional and geo-steering services, has announced that it will hold a live investor presentation relating to its interim results for the six months ended September 30, 2020, via the Investor Meet Company (IMC) platform on November 25, 2020, at 1.00pm GMT. The online presentation is open to all existing and potential shareholders. Interested parties can register to attend the presentation at https://www.investormeetcompany.com/enteq-upstream-plc/register-investor
Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO), a minerals exploration and development company has announced the launch of its new website. With a fresh look and an active portfolio, the website development reflects the growth and strength of the company going forward and the group said it is well on the road to further positive news and success and hopes to share this with the market as it comes. The website can be accessed via www.alienmetals.uk
6.45am: Footsie called lower
The FTSE 100 was called to open around 1% lower on Thursday as global equities respond to rising fears that the coronavirus lockdown will be extended in many major economies.
CFD and spread betting firm IG Markets sees London’s blue-chip benchmark falling some 56 points, making the price 6,331 to 6,334 with just over an hour to go until the open.
Markets have been boosted recently by the promise of vaccines on the horizon but evidently, the immediate day-to-day news continues to provide reasons to be fearful.
“US markets slipped back for the second day in a row after New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure of schools in response to the rise in cases. With mortality rates starting to rise again in Spain and Italy and infection rates rising to a record in Japan this northern hemisphere winter looks like being a long and dark one,” noted CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.
“The late sell-off in the US looks set to translate into a softer open here in Europe later this morning, after another mixed Asia session, and this is where investors need to make a calculation in balancing the risks of the virus, vs the vaccine.”
The analyst added: “With infection and hospitalisation rates rising, and the risk that current lockdown restrictions either remain in place or get extended into 2021, the probability that any economic damage will become permanent is only likely to increase.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrials Average gave up 344 points or 1.16% to close Wednesday at 29,438 and similarly the S&P 500 also lost 1.16%, to finish the day at 3,567. The Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, slipped 0.8% lower to end at 11,801 and the small-cap Russell 2000 index shed 1.26% to 1,769.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was trading 93 points or 0.36% lower at 25,634 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 117 points or 0.43% at 26,433. The Shanghai Composite was marked in positive territory, however, up 0.43% at 3,361.
Around the markets:
- The pound: US$1.3232, down 0.31%
- Gold: US$1,860 per ounce, down 0.6%
- Silver: US$23.98 per ounce, down 1.38%
- Brent crude: US$44.09 per barrel, up 0.7%
- WTI crude: US$41.31 per barrel, down 0.29%
- Bitcoin: US$17,776, unchanged
6.45am: Early Markets – Asia/Australia
Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Thursday following a fall in US stocks for a second straight day, pausing a recent rally to new records.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.36% while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.13%.
In China, the Shanghai Composite was up 0.44% and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.45%.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 recovered its morning losses by rising 0.25% before the market closed.
Proactive Australia news:
Moho Resources Ltd (ASX:MOH) has hit high-grade gold from resource definition diamond drilling, designed to infill and extend gold mineralisation at the East Sampson Dam (ESD) gold prospect within the wider Silver Swan North Project in Western Australia.
Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) (FRA:E06A) has taken a key step in bringing Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic to production by placing an order for a high-purity manganese products demonstration plant.
Emyria Limited (ASX:EMD) is partnering with Mind Medicine Australia to co-develop a gold-standard and data-driven clinical model for the safe provision of psychedelic-assisted therapies in Australia.
Bardoc Gold Ltd‘s (ASX:BDC) results from recent resource definition and exploration drilling at the cornerstone Aphrodite deposit, part of its 3.03-million-ounce Bardoc Gold Project near Kalgoorlie, demonstrate growth potential in the under-explored Sigma Lode.
Red River Resources Limited (ASX:RVR) has received strong results from a maiden diamond drilling program targeting Curry’s Lode at the Hillgrove Gold Project in northern NSW with all holes intersecting gold-tungsten-antimony mineralisation.
Sipa Resources Limited (ASX:SRI) (FRA:SPO) chairman Tim Kennedy explained at the annual general meeting the company’s decision to diversify the nature of its exploration portfolio and put more weighting towards gold projects.
Musgrave Minerals Ltd (ASX:MGV) (OTCMKTS:MGVMF) (FRA:6MU) chairman Graham Ascough told the AGM today that he believes the company’s CueGold Project in the well-endowed gold-producing Murchison region of Western Australia is a game-changer.
Matador Mining Ltd (ASX:MZZ) executive chairman Ian Murray told the AGM today that the past 12 months has been transitional for Matador, as the company pursued the key objective of discovering sufficient gold resources to support annual production rates of around 100,000 ounces over an initial 10-year life of mine at Cape Ray in Newfoundland, Canada.