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FTSE 100 makes lacklustre start on impeachment day; ASOS shines

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The FTSE 100 made a cautious start with America’s continued political turmoil expected to shape market sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic.

After vice president Mike Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allowed Trump’s cabinet to oust the president on a show of hands, the Democrats are now prepared to impeach him.

According to the BBC, a number of senior Republicans, including Liz Cheney, said they would back the vote, to be held later Wednesday.

Trump is accused of inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol building at a speech before the riot.

On the market, the Footsie’s biggest casualty was Just Eat (LON:JET), which fell 3.5% after it succumbed to profit-taking in the wake of its trading update

Remaining online, ASOS (LON:ASC), the fast-fashion group, jumped 3.5% after revealing its sales grew strongly over the crucial Christmas period.

“Even though the party season was pretty much cancelled and its existing customers had fewer reasons to shop for special occasions, ASOS attracted more than one million new shoppers who racked up the clicks as well. It’s active customer base now stands at around 24.5mln,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“ASOS, originally shorthand for As Seen On Screen, has been perfectly placed to capitalise on the accelerated shift to shopping.

“Even though fashion demand in the market may have waned overall but it’s harnessed its savvy marketing and social media prowess and invested in persuading more shoppers to turn their bedrooms into fitting rooms.”

Valued at £5.3bn, ASOS would be a strong candidate for the FTSE 100 if it were ever to give up the light-touch oversight of the AIM market.

Outside the digital arena, Persimmon (LON:PSN) fell 2% amid fears the government may start locking down its and rivals’ sites. The housebuilder reported a 9% fall in annual revenues.

Among the growth stocks, Synairgen (LON:SNG) received a 6% boost after phase III trials of its drug to treat severe Covid symptoms got underway.

6:50 am: Slow start predicted 

The FTSE 100 is expected to open slightly higher on Wednesday morning as markets braced for the US House of Representatives to vote on impeaching Donald Trump for a second time later today on charges of inciting an insurrection during last week’s riot on Capitol Hill.

Spread-better IG expects the blue-chip index will open up around 6 points after ending Tuesday’s session 44 points lower at 6,754.

With vice president Mike Pence refusing on Tuesday to invoke the 25th amendment of the US Constitution, which allows the president’s cabinet to remove him from power by a majority vote, the stage is set for Congress to proceed with impeachment charges in the House followed by a trial in the Senate at a later date.

However, the course of events means Trump is likely to run out the clock of his remaining term ahead of the inauguration of his successor Joe Biden next Wednesday.

Wall Street saw a positive session overnight despite the ongoing political instability, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 0.19% at 31,068 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.04% to 3,801 and the Nasdaq rose 0.28% to 13,072.

The picture in Asia, however, was more mixed this morning with Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 1.04% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.17%.

On currency markets, the pound was slightly higher against the dollar, up 0.12% at US$1.368, however, US inflation data due later today could provide some catalysts for movement.

Around the markets:

Sterling: US$1.368, up 0.12%

Brent crude: US$57.27 a barrel, up 1.2%

Gold: US$1,860 an ounce, up 0.3%

Bitcoin: US$33,718, down 6.8%

6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed today as investors watched developments on the COVID-19 front.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.04% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index dipped 0.10%.

Chinese stocks were lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai composite down 0.61% even as South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.58%.

Shares in Australia rose, as the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.11% higher.

READ OUR ASX REPORT HERE

Proactive Australia news:

Comet Resources Limited (ASX:CRL) has enhanced the prospectivity of its Barraba Copper Project in northern New South Wales with results of up to 4.6% copper, 4.0% zinc and 0.7% cobalt.

Golden Rim Resources Ltd (ASX:GMR) has completed the acquisition of an initial 25% interest in the Kada Gold Project in Guinea and can earn up to 75% interest in the project.

Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) has delivered the widest, high-grade gold intercepts to date from Tchaga prospect within the flagship Napié Project in Côte d’Ivoire including 41 metres at 4.51 g/t from 17 metres.

Maximus Resources Ltd’s (ASX:MXR) (FRA:M5F) reverse drilling campaign at its S5 Prospect, 300 metres south of the historic high-grade Wattle Dam Gold Mine, in Western Australia’s premier gold and nickel mining district, has intersected high-grade gold.

Musgrave Minerals Ltd (ASX:MGV) (OTCMKTS:MGVMF) (FRA:6MU) has closed its share purchase plan (SPP) early after it exceeded the targeted amount of $2 million, with subscriptions received to date in excess of $3.2 million, subject to final reconciliation.

Brookside Energy Ltd’s (ASX:BRK) Orion Project joint venture with Stonehorse Energy Ltd (ASX:SHE) has successfully brought on to production the Thelma 12-1 Well in Murray County, Oklahoma, with an initial production rate of 130 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

Chalice Mining Ltd (ASX:CHN) (OTCQB:CGMLF) was one of the ASX’s most successful companies in 2020 – its shares rose as much as 1,671 per cent across the year, and have ticked even higher less than a fortnight into 2021.

Nanollose Ltd (ASX:NC6) has filed a joint patent application with Grasim Industries Ltd (NSE:GRASIM) for a high tenacity lyocell fibre made from microbial cellulose.

Maximus Resources Ltd (ASX:MXR) (FRA:M5F) has proclaimed it will take “significant steps” towards becoming a long-term gold producer in 2021 after a “transformative” 2020.

Kin Mining NL (ASX:KIN) (FRA:8KM) enjoyed a positive December quarter, with Phase 3 drilling at the company’s 100%-owned Cardinia Gold Project (CGP) in Western Australia culminating in an interim update to the mineral resource estimate (MRE).

IronRidge Resources defines new targets at Ewoyaa Lithium Project

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