The February bounce-back continued with the Redditers’ revenge on the short-sellers now being seen as a market aberration rather than a significant ongoing threat to stock prices.
The FTSE 100 opened its account firmly in positive territory, taking its cue from Asia’s main markets, which in turn were lifted by the resilient performance of Wall Street after London’s close.
With the excitement of the GameStop ramp now fading, traders have returned to their favourite, twin pre-occupations – vaccine roll-out and US stimulus.
Topping the charts in London was Vodafone (LON:VOD) with a 4% gain after re-affirming its earnings targets.
“Any improvements in a company of Vodafone’s size are likely to be incremental, and the latest set of figures build on the progress being made,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
Not far behind the mobile phones giant with a 3.3% advance was Aviva (LON:AV.), the insurer, which benefited from a Morgan Stanley upgrade to ‘overweight’.
6.50am: Early gains forecast
The FTSE 100 is expected to start higher on Wednesday as optimism began to return to global markets following last week’s volatility.
Spread-betters IG are expecting the blue-chip index to open up 29 points after ending Tuesday’s session 50 points higher at 6,516.
Expectations for a positive start followed an upward trend on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 1.57% at 30,687 while the S&P 500 climbed 1.39% to 3,826 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.56% to 13,612.
Traders in New York appeared to have been given a boost on the back of encouraging news on the pace of vaccinations in the US as well as the prospect of new stimulus measures and a decline of volatility caused by last week’s retail trading frenzy.
After-hours also saw big news from tech giants Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), with both firms reporting better than expected sales in quarterly earnings while Amazon also unveiled that its founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos will step down from his role in the third quarter of this year.
The picture was more mixed in Asia this morning despite the rally on Wall Street, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 1% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.04%.
On currency markets, the pound was down 0.09% at US$1.365 against the dollar, although services PMI data from both the UK and the US later today could provide some catalysts for movement.
Around the markets:
- Sterling: US$1.365, down 0.09%
- Brent crude: US$57.63 a barrel, up 0.3%
- Gold: US$1,838 an ounce, up 0.01%
- Bitcoin: US$36,716, up 7.7%
6.45am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were trading mixed on Wednesday as a private survey showed China’s services sector activity growth slowing sharply in January.
Chinese stocks had edged lower by the afternoon, with the Shanghai Composite down 0.2% while South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.1%.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.11%
Proactive Australia news:
Ansila Energy NL’s (ASX:ANA) (OTCMKTS:PGNYF) has completed the transaction with the vendors of Hartshead Resources Limited to acquire the remaining 78.4% interest in Hartshead that it did not already own.
White Rock Minerals Ltd (ASX:WRM) is set to become a high-grade Victorian gold explorer and production folling entering into a binding merger implementation deed (MID) with AuStar Gold Ltd (ASX:AUL), enabling WRM to acquire 100% of the issued capital of AUL through a scheme of arrangement between the two companies and their shareholders.
Technology Metals Australia Ltd’s (ASX:TMT) (FRA:TN6) magnetic concentrate test work based on staged grinding of two large sample masses of fresh massive magnetite composites from the Yarrabubba Iron-Vanadium Project has produced high-grade magnetic concentrate.
Alice Queen Ltd (ASX:AQX) has started drilling at its Mendooran Project (EL8469), in the Lachlan Fold Belt of NSW, to test the northern extension of the highly prospective Molong Volcanic Belt for undercover large copper-gold bearing porphyry systems.
Havilah Resources Ltd (ASX:HAV) (FRA:FWL) has entered into a binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the exploration and potential development of its uranium interests in South Australia, with Aroha Resources Pty Ltd – conditional upon Aroha listing on the ASX.
Comet Resources Ltd (ASX:CRL) has identified numerous mineralised structures at surface in a recent detailed geological mapping campaign of historic drill collars, shafts, and artisanal workings at the Santa Teresa Gold Project in Baja California, Mexico.
Creso Pharma Ltd’s (ASX:CPH) (FRA:1X8) wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary, Mernova Medicinal Inc. has secured four new purchase orders with a total value of C$242,842 (A$248,6821 ) for its high-quality, indoor-grown, hand-trimmed, hang-dried, cured, artisanal, craft cannabis, in dried flower form, sold under the Ritual Green brand.
Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Ltd’s (ASX:PAR) additional data on patients who received Zilosul® under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme (SAS), brings the cumulative average WOMAC reduction in pain from baseline for the 89-patient cohort to 49.6%.
Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (FRA:3MW) (OTCMKTS:LMMFF) has been granted the US patent for its SiLeach extraction technology, which can produce a range of lithium chemicals, including lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and lithium phosphate.