- FTSE 100 index gains 34 points
- Silver prices up 12% over past week
- JD Sports unveils $495mln US acquisition
8.55am: Reddit roiling recovery
The FTSE 100 got off to a marginally better than expected start to the new trading week on Monday with market jitters instigated by the Reddit day-trading hordes slowly wearing off.
The UK blue-chip index opened 34 points higher at 6,441.00.
Retail focus instead turned from stocks to precious metals and in particular, silver, which up 5% overnight and has advanced 12% over the past week.
This sent Fresnillo (LON:FRES), the Mexico-focused precious metal miner, soaring 18% in opening trade.
Gold digger Polymetal (LON:POLY) was ahead 6% in lockstep, while on the FTSE 250 Hochschild (LON:HOC) and Centamin (LON:CEY) jumped 12% and 4% respectively.
“First GameStop, next up silver seems to be the message on social media as the precious metal’s price hits a six-month high at just under $29 an ounce and traders look to storm a new market,” said Russ Mould, investment director a funds group AJ Bell.
“Whether it will be quite so easy to shunt around silver as it was GameStop remains to be seen, especially as Nelson Bunker Hunt and his brothers came a cropper in 1980 when they tried to corner the market for the precious metal, losing billions in the process.
“Regulatory intervention to cut the degree to which borrowed money (or ‘leverage’ or ‘margin’) could be used to buy silver did for the Hunt brothers and regulators may again find themselves having to address this issue, alongside the use of derivatives, should anyone lose a packet this time around as well.”
Away from the gold and silver plays JD Sports (LON:JDS) stood out after announcing the US$495mln acquisition of DTLR Villa, a Baltimore-based sportswear company. The purchase comes hard on the heels of another US deal – the US$325mln purchase of Shoe Palace. The shares jumped 7%.
Proactive news headlines:
88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) confirmed it is expected to spud the Merlin-1 exploration well in Alaska, as it has now landed approval for its permit to drill. The company said that the permit was deemed complete by the Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on the January 28, 20231, and was submitted to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. There, it was approved on January 29, ahead of an expected spud date of February 12.
e-therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) said it is in the process of securing patents to protect its advances in liver gene silencing. The application relates to GalNAc-conjugated short interfering RNA (siRNA). Additional patents will be sought for siRNA constructs that have been designed with potentially beneficial safety and potency profiles, it added. e-therapeutics said its platform will provide it with a “significant competitive advantage” in the field RNA interference, also known as co-suppression or gene silencing.
Mosman Oil and Gas Limited (LON:MSMN) has provided a further update on the Stanley project, in east Texas, which last week averaged 210 barrels of oil per day (bopd) gross. That outperforms the average rate of 139 bopd reported over the six months ended December 31, 2020. The company noted that the Stanley-3 and Stanley-4 wells continue to produce oil without artificial lift – with the former yielding 50 bopd and the latter showing 120 bopd – whilst Stanley-1 is now operating with a pump-jack and last week yielded 40 bopd.
SkinBioTherapeutics PLC (LON:SBTX) said its subsidiary AxisBiotix has expanded its food supplement study by 50 participants to 250 following a “high level of demand”. Chief executive Stuart Ashman said he was “overwhelmed” by the “extraordinary number of applicants” in a very short period of time, the majority of which were psoriasis sufferers. Enrolment began on January 14 for the self-managed assessment, which will be monitored through a mobile app that involves answering questions evaluating symptom progression.
Open Orphan PLC (AIM:ORPH) said its Venn Life Sciences drug development consultancy arm has extended its contract with client Carna Biosciences to the end of the year. The extension is expected to “deliver significant revenue for Venn over the next twelve months”, investors were told. Venn’s office in Breda, the Netherlands, will provide chemistry, manufacturing and control, non-clinical, clinical and regulatory consultancy services for two of Carna’s development programmes.
BATM PLC (LON:BVC) said strong demand for its coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostics products will mean sales and profits for the year to end-December 2020 coming in well ahead of forecasts. The London-listed tech group expects revenue for full-year 2020 to be at least US$180mln or annual growth of over 45% with underlying profits [EBITDA] to be ‘substantially ahead’ of market expectations. Growth has been driven by the Bio-Medical division and particularly orders for diagnostics testing kits, reagents and instruments, the Israeli group said.
Seeing Machines PLC (LON:SEE) said it expects to report a 14.6% year-on-year increase in revenue for the six months to December 31, 2020. The technology company, which designs artificial-intelligence-powered operator monitoring systems to improve transport safety, said the first half of its current fiscal year had been a period of growth. Despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the company said it continues to trade in line with expectations for the full-year. Revenue for the six months to the end of December 2020 rose to A$18.1mln from A$15.8mln in the same period of 2019. Annualised recurring revenues, including royalties, rose 17.4% to A$15.5mln from A$13.2mln.
Parity Group PLC (LON:PTY) said it has been awarded a three-year contract to help oversee Scotland’s roll-out of superfast digital broadband. The Scottish Government has appointed Parity as its Digital Technology Resources partner to support the Reaching 100% (R100) superfast broadband infrastructure programme. Through the contract, Parity will provide a managed service supplying Digital Technology personnel for the R100 programme’s project management and deployment offices. The total opportunity is worth up to £5mln over the next three to six years, it said.
DeepVerge PLC (LON:DVRG) has announced the pre-launch registration for its Skin Trust Club Artificial Intelligent (AI) Skincare App and Home Test Kit. Registration for the Skin Trust Club is free, as will be the downloadable app when it is ready, DeepVerge said. When the home test kits are formally launched, priority will be given to those users who have already registered their interest in receiving them. The company also announced the appointment of Fiona Joyce as its legal counsel and company secretary. Joyce has previously spent more than 20 years with IBM where she served as Country Counsel for Ireland.
Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) said it has signed a contract to design and build a fully glued 3D model representing a climate change environment with the branches of the UK Environment Agency. The AIM-listed firm said the model will feature various sites of interest including a river running into the sea, a cycle path next to a river and houses with solar panels and turning wind turbines. It will also be interactive with several moveable parts.
Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) has revealed the part it played in the development of a technology that reduces the chances of wine becoming corked. The company noted that the world’s leading producer of cork products, Corticeira Amorim has announced a technological breakthrough to remove the major cause of cork taint in wine from natural corks – a chemical compound called TCA (2,4,6 – trichloroanisole). Frontier IP said this breakthrough came about as a result of Amorim’s collaboration with the company’s partner university, NOVA University of Lisbon – NOVA School of Science and Technology.
FastForward Innovations Limited (LON:FFWD) said it has invested £250,000 in South West Brands Limited (SWB), a London-based group targeting the cannabidiol (CBD) market. The investment is by way of a two year, 6%, convertible loan note (CLN) as part of a funding round by SWB to raise £500,000. If the loan notes are converted into equity, FastForward could end up with a 5% equity stake in SWB. The funds raised will be used to launch and market SWB’s pipeline of new CBD brands in several markets, including its first new brands in the menstrual cycle care and beauty categories in April 2021
San Leon Energy PLC (LON:SLE) said there has been progress on a loan agreement to fund a fast-track redevelopment of the Oza oil field in Nigeria. Following the completion of due diligence and a technical report, loan documents are anticipated to be issued by the end of this week. As part of a deal struck in September, San Leon will invest in US$7.5mln of loan notes issued by Decklar Petroleum, a subsidiary of Asian Mineral Resources (CVE:ASN), and roughly US$4,600 for a 15% stake in Decklar.
Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) has told investors that oil is free-flowing at the Wressle field, in Lincolnshire. It comes after successful operations to recomplete the Ashover Grit reservoir interval. The well has now been placed on a continuous 24-hour production test.
Kodal Minerals PLC (LOM:KOD) has updated on progress on its gold assets in Mali and Cote d’Ivoire. Kodal said it has received a request from Resolute Mining for an additional extension of the joint venture in Cote D’Ivoire term, as Resolute’s expenditure in the joint venture of approximately US$2 million falls short of its commitment under the agreement. However, after consideration, Kodal has refused the extension request and will now retain 100% ownership of the concessions on expiry of the agreement on February 25, 2021.
United Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UOG) has said it expects production to rise further in 2021 as more of its acreage in Egypt comes onstream. A farm-out process of the Walton prospect offshore Jamaica starts shortly with first gas from Italy also due this quarter, said the AIM-listed junior. Production from the time it acquired its Egypt assets from Rockhopper at end-February 2020 averaged 2,195 barrels equivalent daily (boepd), generating total revenues of US$9-9.2mln net with an average U$37.7 price per barrel.
AEX Gold Inc (LON:AEXG) (CVE:AEX) has revealed results from its 2020 exploration campaign at the Kangerluluk property within the Nuna Nutaaq licence in Greenland. The Kangerluluk gold prospect lies 120 kilometres northeast of AEX’s Nalunaq project and within the wider Nanortalik gold belt. The prospect is deemed highly prospective by AEX and during 2020 the company carried out reconnaissance exploration designed to confirm historic grades from the main shear zone, sampling potential down-dip extensions, and capturing high-resolution images to assist with 3D modelling and future exploration planning.
Trident Royalties PLC (LON:TRR)(FSX:5KV) said it received a total of US$291,832 in royalty payments during the fourth quarter of 2020. The income came from the iron ore royalty on Koolyanobbing, and from the Mimbula copper project. Trident undertook six royalty transactions in 2020, including the acquisition of the Pukaqaqa copper royalties in the fourth quarter from Orion Resource Partners, Trident’s first all-equity deal.
Empire Metals Ltd (LON:EEE) said will focus primarily on the development of gold mining interests in Western Australia during 2021, as it moves away from its Georgian interests. The second phase of drilling at Empire’s 75%-held Eclipse gold project is now well advanced, with approximately 3,800 metres of the 4,400 metre reverse circulation programme drilled in January 2021. The drilling has intercepted a number of wide quartz veins in areas beyond and below the Eclipse old workings, and assays are awaiting laboratory analysis to determine the degree of mineralisation.
Remote Monitored Systems PLC (LON:RMS) said that two of the engineers from the Lemu Group, which is currently working on commissioning the company’s new mask manufacturing machine, have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) and are now self-isolating for 10 days. The company said the engineers received the positive test results on Saturday morning, adding that three team members at its subsidiary Pharm 2 Farm (P2F) have been recorded as close contacts of the Lemu engineers in accordance with Public Health England (PHE) guidelines and will also need to self-isolate for 10 days.
Bidstack Group PLC (LON:BIDS) said it has exceeded market expectations in terms of revenues for its 2020 financial year. In a trading update for the year to December 31, 2020, the AIM-listed in-game advertising specialist said its results for the period are expected to include revenues of £1.7mln, up from £140,000 in the prior year, while losses are forecast to be £7.18mln compared to a £5.36mln loss in 2019.
Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) has issued an update on the status of its discussions with the European High Growth Opportunities Securitization Fund (EHGOF) to settle all outstanding issues. The company said that following the failure of EHGOF to accept a revised settlement offer that the company made to settle all matters outstanding with EHGOF as well as the outstanding issues with OTT Holdings Limited and Alpha Blue Ocean (ABO), and which the group considered to be commercially acceptable and fair to all parties, directors John Quinlan, Liam Harrington and Sam Asante have considered their position in light of EHGOF, OTT Holdings and ABO’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to reach a settlement, and considered their roles to be untenable and resigned with immediate effect on January 31, 2020. In a separate announcement, Iconic said it has received notices of termination of the management service agreements between the company and Greencastle Capital in respect of the JOE Media and TheLondonEconomic businesses, which are to take immediate effect.
Impax Environmental Markets PLC (LON:IEM) has announced the appointment of Simon Fraser as an independent non-executive director of the company, with effect from March 1, 2021. The group said Fraser brings a wealth of investment trust experience and deep knowledge of global markets, having had a long and distinguished career in asset management at Fidelity International Ltd, retiring in 2008 as president, Investment Solutions Group, Fidelity Retirement Institute and having held other senior roles including president of Fidelity’s European and Institutional business and Global Chief Investment Officer. In December 2019 he retired as chair of the £3 billion F&C Investment Trust PLC. He is a former non-executive director of Barclays Bank PLC.
Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG), the provider of services and technologies for digital learning and talent management, has confirmed that all conditions relating to the acquisition of Reflektive Inc have been satisfied and that the transaction has now completed, further to the announcement of the proposed acquisition on January 20, 2021.
Blackbird PLC (LON:BIRD), the developer and seller of the market-leading cloud video editing platform, Blackbird, has said it will announce its final results for the year ended December 31, 2020, on Monday, March 22, 2021. The company said that Ian McDonough, its chief executive officer, Stephen White, its chief operating and financial officer and Stephen Streater, R&D director, will provide a live presentation relating to the final results and an update on execution against the group’s previously announced strategy, on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at 11.30am via the Investor Meet Company platform. Investors can sign up to Investor Meet Company for free and add to meet Blackbird PLC via: https://www.investormeetcompany.com/blackbird-plc/register-investor
Panthera Resources (LON:PAT), the gold exploration and development company with assets in India and West Africa has announced that the sale of the Kalaka Project (Kalaka) to Moydow Holdings Ltd (Moydow) has now been completed. On July 22, 2020, Panthera announced that it has entered into a conditional sale and purchase agreement to divest its interests in the Labola gold project in southwest Burkina Faso and the Kalaka gold project in southwest Mali to Moydow. With the transfer of Kalaka now completed, Panthera is entitled to receive the remainder of the deferred consideration (US$60,000) and refund to Panthera the 2H 2020 historical costs on Kalaka forecast at US$115,000. Furthermore, Panthera is entitled to receive 0.5 million shares in Moydow increasing its ownership interest in Moydow to 46.2%. The consideration is anticipated to be received shortly. In a separate statement, Panther noted that a presentation will be made by Moydow executive chairman, Brian Kiernan at this week’s 1 to 1 Mining Investment in Africa Conference. The presentation is available on the company’s website.
Sareum Holdings PLC (LON:SAR), the specialist small molecule drug development business, announced that its CEO, Dr Tim Mitchell, will give a company presentation at the 7th Annual LSX World Congress, which will be delivered digitally between February 1 and 5, 2021. The presentation will showcase Sareum’s two proprietary TYK2/JAK1 kinase inhibitor programmes, SDC-1801 and SDC-1802, targeting autoimmune diseases and cancers, respectively. Dr Mitchell will also highlight the emerging potential of this mechanism to modulate the severe inflammatory responses and respiratory symptoms arising from coronavirus (COVID-19) and other viral infections. The presentation will be made through the conference website and will be available to registered participants throughout the event – www.lsxleaders.com/lsx-world-congress A copy of the presentation will also be made available on Sareum’s website: www.sareum.com
Base Resources Limited (LONLBSE) (ASX:BSE), the African mineral sands producer has said its latest company presentation, an abridged version of which was made available for the 121 Mining Investment Africa Conference, is available from its website: www.baseresources.com.au
IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR), the African focused minerals exploration company has announced that it will be attending the following online conferences in the coming months: 121 Mining Investment Online Africa | 1-3 February 2021 (Digital event); Benchmark Minerals African Mining Battery supply chain special on February 4, 2021; Mining Indaba Virtual February 2-3, 2021 (Online event); PDAC One on One Meeting Virtual March 8-11, 2021 (Digital event); 121 Mining Investment Online APAC March 17-19, 2021 (Digital event); Mining Indaba Virtual Investment Programme March 30-31, 2021 (Digital event); 121 Mining Investment Online Americas April 27-29, 2021 (Digital event); 121 Mining Investment Online EMEA May 25-27, 2021 (Digital event); and Mines and Money Global (multi commodity) June 22-24, 2021 (Global digital event) IronRidge Resources chief executive officer Vincent Mascolo and chief operating officer Len Kolff will be providing an update on current projects in the group’s portfolio; company presentations can be found at https://www.ironridgeresources.com.au/presentations
AfriTin Mining Limited (LON:ATM), an African tin mining company with its flagship asset, the Uis Tin Mine in Namibia announces that Anthony Viljoen, its chief executive officer, will be presenting at an investor webinar being hosted jointly by Turner Pope Investments Ltd and Vox Markets on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 5.30pm GMT.
6.50am: Footsie called higher
The FTSE looks set to open its account in positive territory on Monday after a horrendous end to the last trading week for the UK blue-chip stocks index.
The Footsie is now below its opening level for 2021 with hope around a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, the new presidential era and US fiscal stimulus package having dissipated in a rough few days for investors.
In Asia, stocks moved higher Monday, though China’s purchasing manager’s data, while robust, was not robust enough to move the dial.
After GameStop and AMC retail activity ahead of the US open appeared to be focused on silver, with the price of the precious metal up just under 5%.
Gold, meanwhile, lacked the same momentum as it nudged up 0.93% but stalled below US$1,900 an ounce.
In the US, reporting season is still in full swing. Alphabet (LON:GOOG), the parent company of Google, and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) are the stand-outs from a packed roster.
Around the markets:
- Pound US$1.3743 (+0.26)
- Bitcoin US$33,861.79 (+0.44%)
- Gold US$1,867.40 (+0.93%)
- Brent crude US$ 55.36 (+0.53%)
6.45am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia
Stocks in Asia-Pacific were higher on Monday as Chinese manufacturing data showed growth slowing in January, with the Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 51.5, compared to 51.9 in December.
South Korea’s Kospi was among the biggest gainers regionally as it jumped 2.70% with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index following closely with a 2.36% surge.
Mainland Chinese stocks were also higher with the Shanghai composite up 0.59%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.55% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.84% higher.
Proactive Australia news:
Pan Asia Metals Limited (ASX:PAM) has completed drilling the first-ever hole at the highly prospective Bang I Tum prospect within Reung Kiet Lithium Project (RKLP) in southern Thailand.
Musgrave Minerals Ltd (ASX:MGV) (FRA:6MU) has reported strong reverse circulation (RC) assay results from the newly discovered White Heat prospect on its 100%-owned ground at its flagship Cue Gold Project in Western Australia’s Murchison district.
Havilah Resources Ltd (ASX:HAV) (FRA:FWL) has reported further economic-grade copper and gold drilling results in the last three reverse circulation (RC) drill holes from its 2020 West Kalkaroo drilling campaign.
Jinadalee Resources Ltd (ASX:JRL) has received the first assay results from 10 of 15 drill holes completed in December 2020, which have intersected substantial thickness of the flat-lying sediments hosting lithium mineralisation at the McDermitt Project in Utah, US.
K2fly Ltd (ASX:K2F) is acquiring the business assets associated with ‘Decipher for Mining’ (Decipher) from CSBP Ltd (CSBP) and Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers Ltd (WesCEF) for 3.7 million in shares, plus performance shares.
Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) has found high-grade rare earth oxide (REO) material up to 16% total REO and 3.4% critical REO at the Milenje Hills prospect, 2 kilometres from its Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi, after a preliminary low-cost exploration program.
Great Southern Mining Ltd (ASX:GSN) has cemented its position as a major gold explorer and developer in the Laverton Goldfields in Western Australia after it secured an exclusive, irrevocable option over three large exploration license applications around its Cox’s Find Gold Project in the Laverton region, Western Australia.