The FTSE 100 made a slow start to the new trading week with initial exuberance over the vaccine roll-out and US stimulus giving way to the grim reality of mounting coronavirus cases.
Almost 55,000 new infections were recorded in the UK with 573 deaths.
New, more draconian measures are reportedly being contemplated to prevent the spread of the more virulent form of Covid with the NHS close to being swamped.
“Without the artificial buzz of the new year, or a seismic event like a pair of Senate races, the markets were forced to contend with the day-to-day realities of trading in 2021,” said Connor Campbell of Spreadex.
Atop the risers was JD Sports (LON:JD.) with a 3% gain as it increased its profit forecast after enjoying strong online trading in the run-up to Christmas.
On the FTSE 250, the casualties were those worst affected by the pandemic.
6.50 am: Slow start predicted
The FTSE 100 looks set to make a subdued start to proceedings – taking its cue from Asia’s main markets which were mixed Monday.
US stock futures, meanwhile, are indicating a down day for Wall Street, which closed the first trading week of the new year in record territory.
Stimulus and vaccine hopes appear to have given way to a bout of cold hard reality as coronavirus infection rates continue to rise.
In the US, Democrats will call on vice president Mike Pence to use the 25th amendment to get Donald Trump out of office now otherwise house speaker Nancy Pelosi will begin impeachment proceedings.
Here in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly mulling even tighter restrictions on the general population with the NHS starting to become overwhelmed by Covid hospitalisations.
Among the measures being floated are compulsory masks outside and people only being allowed out once a week to exercise.
On Sunday, it was announced new infections were almost 55,000 with a further 573 people dying from the virus.
Looking ahead, it looks set to be a big week for corporate news – particularly from the retail sector.
Trading statements covering the key festive period are expected from Tesco (LON:TSCO), ASOS (LON:ASC) and Boohoo (LON:ASC) as well as JD Sports (LON:JD.) and Primark owner Associated British Foods (LON:ABF).
On the macro front, we have inflation, jobless claims and retail sales data from the US on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively and UK GDP on Friday.
On the markets
- Pound US$1.3505 (-0.46%)
- Bitcoin US$34,385,32 (-15.3%)
- Gold US$1,842.00 (+0.46%)
- Brent crude US$55.31 (-1.21%)
6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia
Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed as China’s producer price index fell 0.4% in December as compared to a year earlier, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics.
Mainland Chinese stocks slipped with The Shanghai composite declining 0.78% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.22%.
South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.12% after gaining more than 2% earlier in the day. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.90%.
Markets in Japan are closed today for a holiday.
Proactive Australia news:
Castillo Copper Ltd’s (ASX:CCZ) (LON:CCZ) (FRA:7OR) surged as much as 90% as assays for the 200 series and six drill-holes for the 300 series significantly extend known mineralisation at the high-grade Big One Deposit within the core Mt Oxide Project in northwest Queensland.
Canaccord Genuity has released its Top Australian Stock Picks for 2021, covering predictions across a range of sectors, including investment recommendations, potential catalysts and bull/base/bear target price scenarios for 22 companies.
This year, Perseus Mining Ltd (ASX:PRU) (TSE:PRU) (OTCMKTS:PMNXF), Tietto Minerals Ltd (ASX:TIE) and Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) (OTCMKTS:EROMF) (FRA:E06), have made the metals and mining list.
PolarX Ltd (ASX:PXX) (FRA:PX0) has secured an option to acquire a mining lease agreement over the highly prospective Humboldt Range Gold-Silver Project in Nevada, which comprises 177 lode mining claims.
Piedmont Lithium Ltd (ASX:PLL) (NASDAQ:PLL) (OTCMKTS:PDDTF) has established a strategic partnership with Sayona Mining Ltd (ASX:SYA) (OTCMKTS:DMNXF) (FRA:DML) by purchasing equity stakes in Sayona and its Quebec subsidiary Sayona Quebec Inc, as well as a binding supply agreement for at least 50% of Sayona Quebec’s planned spodumene concentrate production.
Twenty Seven Co Ltd (ASX:TSC) has signed the tenement sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Revolution Mining Pty Ltd to acquire two tenements, E77/2540 and E77/2539, nearly doubling and expanding the Yarbu Gold Project in Western Australia.
Anson Resources Ltd (ASX:ASN) (FRA:9MY) has engaged Novonix Battery Technology Solutions to test the performance of lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate samples extracted from the company’s flagship Paradox Brine Project in Utah, USA, in lithium-ion battery cells.