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FTSE 100 edges higher while Airbus optimism lifts Rolls-Royce and Melrose Industries

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9.22am: Engineering groups lead the risers

On a day when the market is struggling to get going – pre-Bank Holiday lethargy perhaps – aircraft maker Airbus has given a lift to things.

The company has said a recovery in the aerospace industry is beginning, and it indicated an increase in production of its A320 passenger jets.

That is good news for the pandemic-hit sector, and helps explain the rise in shares of engineers Rolls-Royce PLC (LON:RR.), up 3.22% to 106.36p, and Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRO), 3.05% better at 168.8p.

The two are the top risers in the leading index, which is now in positive territory. However the move is not exactly dramatic, up 6.75 points to 7033.68.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “The FTSE 100 seems to be on a road to nowhere at the moment.

“Fears about inflation have subsided for the time being and even some volatility in Asian markets wasn’t enough to wake the index from its slumber.

“There is a relative dearth of economic data which could push markets in any particular direction in the coming days, although a second estimate of first quarter US GDP later on Thursday could renew focus on inflationary pressures, particularly if the already elevated number is revised upwards.”

And there are some concerns about pricing pressures, specifically in New Zealand where the central bank surprised markets by forecasting rate increases could begin in the second half of 2022.

Analyst Jeffrey Halley at  OANDA said: “There are many ifs and buts in that forecast, with enough Teflon to make a politician jealous. Nevertheless, New Zealand now joins Canada and Norway in a small club that is starting to talk about tapering and hiking.”

8.51am: FTSE 100 opens flat as a pancake

The FTSE 100 opened little changed with Wall Street and Asia providing little encouragement.

The inflation narrative, meanwhile, looks to be subtly altering with Federal Reserve vice chair, Richard Clarida, admitting rate-setters will have to begin talking about tapering.

Here in London, aero-engineers Rolls Royce (LON:RR.) and Melrose (LON:MRO) – up 3.8% and 3.3% respectively – were well bid.

Aviva (LON:AV.) was up 2.3% after a solid first-quarter performance, which was allied to a pledge to return a substantial slug of the £7.5bn it has garnered from selling non-core businesses.

“Progress is evident and the market consensus of the shares as a strong buy is reflective of strong confidence in Aviva’s prospects,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

The day’s big faller was Centamin (LON:CEY), which was marked 5.7% lower after updating on its west African portfolio. Broker Liberum reiterated its ‘sell’ advice.

6.50 am: FTSE 100 set open a sliver higher

The FTSE 100 looks set to start Thursday just a sliver higher as tepid volatility continues to grind on sentiments.

CFD and spread betting firm IG Markets sees the price only 5 points higher than yesterday, making the price 7,025 to 7,028.

After a quiet news day, the banks pulled the index lower on Wednesday for the index to end down 0.04% whilst the midcap FTSE 250 went higher, ending the midweek session up over 201 points, or 0.90%, at 22,640.

Ted Baker (LON:TED), Pets at Home Group PLC (LON:PETS), United Utilities Plc (LON:UU) and Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT) are among the notable names pencilled in what is another relatively quiet day in the City diary on Thursday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed Wednesday with a minuscule lead – up 10 points or 0.03% at 34,323.

The S&P 500 meanwhile marked a 0.19% improvement with a finish at 4,195. At the same time the Nasdaq managed a 0.59% gain to end the session at 13,738.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was 0.61% lower at 28,468 whilst Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.31% to 29,077. The Shanghai Composite meanwhile rose slightly, up 0.23% at 3,601.

Around the markets

The pound: US$1.4117, down 0.01%

Gold: US$1.899 per ounce, up 0.19%

Silver: US$27.69 per ounce, up 0.01%

Brent crude: US$68.47 per barrel, down 0.26%

WTI crude: US$65.89, down 0.27%

Bitcoin: US$37,741, down 4.25%

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Thursday as industrial profits in China soared 57% year-on-year in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Shanghai Composite in China gained 0.11% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.36%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.54% while South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.16%.

Shares in Australia rose, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.23% higher.

Proactive Australia news:

Nexus Minerals Ltd’s (ASX:NXM) diamond drilling at the Crusader prospect, part of the wider Wallbrook Project in Western Australia has intersected broad, porphyry mineralisation with results confirming a down-dip +5 g/t gold mineralised zone.

St George Mining Limited (ASX:SGQ) (FRA:S0G) has announced further significant exploration results at its flagship Mt Alexander Project, with high-grade nickel-copper sulphides intersected 125 metres down plunge in the first step-out hole for the MAD199 discovery.

Aeris Resources Ltd’s (ASX:AIS) diamond drill hole TAKD019 has intersected a 60-metre thick zone containing variable quantities of sulphides (pyrite with lesser chalcopyrite) from 140 metres downhole at the Constellation deposit, within the Tritton tenement package in New South Wales.

Meteoric Resources NL’s (ASX:MEI) (FRA:RNF) first deep drill hole (JUDD042) designed to test the deep high-chargeability IP anomaly at the Juruena Project in Brazil has confirmed the potential for a major copper-gold porphyry environment, closely related to the shallow epithermal deposits (Dona Maria, Crentes and Querosene, among others).

Bardoc Gold Ltd (ASX:BDC) has intersected broad zones of shallow, high-grade mineralisation within the Omega Lode at the 1.7-million-ounce Aphrodite gold deposit, which forms part of its flagship 3.07-million-ounce Bardoc Gold Project in Western Australia.

PolarX Ltd (ASX:PXX) (FRA:PX0) has received very high-grade silver assays accompanied by gold grades which verify and extend high-grade historical rock chip samples from the southern-most veins at Fourth of July in the Humboldt Range Project, Nevada, USA.

Ora Banda Mining Ltd (ASX:OBM) (FRA:M6N) continues to make progress with the ramp-up of activities at Davyhurst Gold Project in Western Australia, with actions taken to ensure delivery of definitive feasibility study (DFS) production levels of around 82,000 ounces recovered for FY22.

Brookside Energy Ltd (ASX:BRK) (FSE:8F3) has observed extensive oil and gas shows in the horizontal section of the high-impact Jewell 13-12-1S-3W SXH1 well being drilled in the SWISH Area of Interest (AOI) in Oklahoma’s world-class Anadarko Basin.

Danakali Ltd (ASX:DNK) (LON:DNK) (OTCMKTS:SBMSF) (FRA:SO3) has demonstrated economic, construction, operational and environmental optimisations at the Water Intake Treatment Area (WITA) using filtered seawater during extensive test-work in the pre-development process for Colluli Sulphate of Potash (SOP) Project in Eritrea.

Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (OTCMKTS:CBBHF) (FRA:COH) attracted plenty of local and regional attention to a Shareholder Day held in addition to a formal opening of the Broken Hill Pilot Plant.Ethereum: US$2,688, down 5.41%

 

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