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FTSE 100 rises in final hour of trading; Wall Street turns mixed

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  • FTSE 100 index gains 85 points
  • US stocks mixed at noon
  • UK government plans new laws to block foreign takeovers

5pm: FTSE cruises to nearly 6,400

The FTSE 100 ended Wednesday 85 points, 1.35%, higher at 6,382.1, and the FTSE 250 ascended 311 points, 1.6%, to 19,340.2.

“The FTSE 100 hit a five month high as the bullish sentiment on the back of a possible Covid-19 drug is still doing the rounds,” CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote Wednesday. “In London, property, banking and utility stocks are some of the biggest gainers. In the latest reporting season, UK banks set aside much smaller than expected amounts for bad debt provisions, and there was a feeling that the worst was over with respect to credit loss provisions. In light of the hope generated on the back of the potential coronavirus vaccine, traders are snapping up banking stocks because they feel the sector won’t be hit that hard after all. The travel industry enjoyed a massive rally in the past two sessions, while it is mixed today.”

Among those in the green was the sports betting company Flutter Entertainment PLC (LON:FLTR), which posted a 30% increase in revenue for the third quarter and increased its guidance as sports have resumed.

The stock gained 5% to £13,430.

In the US, the Dow was up, down and up again, improving 68 points, 0.2%, at midday. The Nasdaq Composite gained 203 points, 1.75%, to 11,756, and the S&P 500 was up nearly 28 points, 0.8%, to 3,573.5.

Investors jumped back in on tech shares that took a hit earlier this week. Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) each found themselves up more than 2.7%.

“Once again, the mood is mixed in the US as the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100 have rebounded from recent weakness, while the Dow Jones and the Russell 2000 are offside because of profit taking,” Madden wrote. “Traditional stocks like oil, mining, construction, retail and banking have the most to gain from a vaccine, while tech stocks would probably suffer a little.” 

3.51pm: FTSE 100 rises into final hour

As the final hour of Wednesday’s session began, the FTSE 100 added a to its gains from earlier in the day and was up 85 points at 6,382 shortly before 3.50pm.

Leading the blue-chip risers into late-afternoon was British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines SA (LON:IAG), which was 6.7% higher at 146.9p, while Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.) was the biggest faller with a 7.1% drop to 99.4p.

Markets around the world are continuing to bask in the positivity arising from the vaccine news on Monday, although there are some signs that the rally could be starting to run out of steam.

Despite a positive start, US markets turned mixed into mid-morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 0.07% to 29,401 shortly before 11am in New York, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were performing better, rising 0.47% and 1.2% respectively.

3.15pm: Proactive North America headlines:

Endeavour Mining Corporation (TSE:EDV) (OTCQX:EDVMF) (FRA:E5Y1) confirms that it is in discussions with Teranga regarding a potential merger of equals

NexTech AR Solutions Corp (OTCQB:NEXCF) (CSE:NTAR) (FRA:N29) virtual event platform InfernoAR selected by Canadian Electricity Association to host annual summit

Humanigen Inc (NASDAQ:HGEN) (FRA:0KB2) ends 3Q with $91.4M following positive COVID-19 trial results

CytoDyn Inc (OTCQB:CYDY) gets $25M in convertible debt deal to fund license applications, coronavirus trials for leronlimab

Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ:VUZI) (FRA:V7XN) receives multiple follow-on orders for its M400 Smart Glasses from Dutch medical services company 1Minuut Innovation

Co-Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:CODX) (FRA:C97) says its CoPrimers proved effective in COVID-19 Saliva PCR Tests without sample extraction

Mawson Gold Limited (TSE:MAW) (OTCPINK:MWSNF) (FRA:MXR) finds high grade gold at Joki East as Finnish project moves towards resource expansion

Revive Therapeutics Ltd (CSE:RVV) (OTCMKTS:RVVTF) says development milestone achieved for its orally dissolvable thin film strip for psilocybin

HealthLynked Corp (OTCQB:HLYK) appoints Arthrex Vice President Dan Hall as board director

GGX Gold set for further exploration at Gold Drop after discovery of Perky and Lively veins

2.43pm: Wall Street opens in the green

Wall Street has started Wednesday’s session on the front foot, with optimism over a potential coronavirus vaccine continuing to drive equities higher on Veterans Day.

Shortly after the opening bell in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.37% to 29,539 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.55% to 3,564 and the Nasdaq was up 0.87% at 11,653.

However, the positivity on Wall Street may be masking a less than rosy picture for the US economy, with mortgage application data for the week to November 6 showing a 0.5% week-on-week decline compared to a 3.8% rise the week before.

The sharp reversal may highlight the ongoing need for new government stimulus in the US economy, a matter that appears to have fallen by the wayside somewhat amid the fallout over the US election last Tuesday.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 was trading sideways into late-afternoon, up 55 points at 6,351 shortly before 2.45pm.

2.00pm: UK government draws up plans to block foreign takeovers

Ministers in the UK government are drawing up plans that will give them the power to block takeovers by foreign companies on national security grounds, a move that may signal a dramatic change in Britain’s approach to mergers and acquisitions.

The national security and investment bill, which is due to be published today, will allow ministers to block acquisitions retrospectively up to five years after a transaction has completed.

“The UK remains one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world and we want to keep it that way. But hostile actors should be in no doubt – there is no back door into the UK”, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement.

“This Bill will mean that we can continue to welcome job-creating investment to our shores, while shutting out those who could threaten the safety of the British people”, he added.

The government’s move comes amid heightened scrutiny over the acquisition of British firms by foreign conglomerates, particularly Chinese firms, in critical sectors of the economy such as nuclear energy, communications, defence and computer hardware.

While Chinese firms are likely to receive the greatest scrutiny, another acquisition that could find itself under scrutiny is that of Cambridge computer chip maker ARM Holdings by US graphics processor giant Nvidia Corp (NASDAQ:NVDA) in a US$40bn deal announced in September. The acquisition was greeted by objections across the UK’s political spectrum, with many voicing concerns that another jewel of British industry would be moved out of the country, taking jobs with it.

Heading into mid-afternoon in London, the FTSE 100 was consolidating its gains but had failed to make much additional headway and was up 58 points at 6,355 shortly before 2pm.

12.40pm: Wall Street to start higher

The main indices on Wall Street look set to start Wednesday’s session in the green as traders in New York continue to cling to optimism over a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Spread-betters are expecting the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open around 195 points higher, while the S&P 500 is expected to rise 30 points and the Nasdaq is predicted to jump 133 points at the opening bell.

Speaking of vaccines, pharma firm Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) may be back in focus for traders following news that the European Union has agreed to buy up to 300mln doses of its vaccine which it has developed in partnership with German group BioNTech.

The company has said that deliveries of the vaccine could begin by the end of the year, provided it secures approval from the European Medicines Agency.

“The vaccine news feels like a real game-changer for these markets. The first time in months that optimism is driven by the prospect of permanent economic reopenings and a return to normality, as opposed to emergency stimulus measures and a booming pandemic-proof tech sector. It’s far healthier for these markets in the long term”, said OANDA’s Craig Erlam.

“Huge hurdles remain, not least final approval for the vaccine once all of the data is properly analysed. But the recent development was really significant. The last few days has felt like an enormous rush of relief through the markets rather the usual FOMO surge. With other vaccine candidates in late-stage trials, more good news could follow in the final weeks of the year which could ensure that these markets end of a high. It’s far too early to throw terms like Santa rally around but December may be a very good month if certain things fall into place as they very well could”, he added.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 had added to its gains during lunchtime and was up 58 points at 6,354 shortly before 12.30pm.

11.11am: FTSE 100 holds onto gains into late morning

As Wednesday morning began to draw to a close, the FTSE 100 was still trading firmly in the green and was up 39 points at 6,336 just after 11am as vaccine optimism continued to provide an appetite for equities in London.

“Optimism surrounding the potential [coronavirus] vaccine is still lifting equity markets, but the bullish sentiment has cooled. Massive gains were racked up in the past two sessions so it is hardly surprising that the buying frenzy has faded. Commodity, banking, supermarkets, and leisure stocks are up on the day, but the gains are far more modest than what was witnessed earlier in the week”, said David Madden at CMC Markets.

However, while the prospect of a vaccine has been good news for companies in sectors battered most heavily by the pandemic and resultant lockdowns, profit taking following the initial surge has left many of those same firms in negative territory on Wednesday.

Among them is movie theatre chain Cineworld PLC (LON:CINE), which was down 1.8% at 46.9p in late-morning, while budget airline Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) also descended slightly, dipping 0.7% to 4,362p.

Back in the blue-chips, British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (LON:IAG) was leading the pack, rising 6.1% to 146p, while Holiday Inn owner Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) was the biggest faller, down 4% at 4,444p.

10.05am: FTSE 100 consolidates gains into mid-morning

As the market heading to the mid-morning portion of its trading session, the FTSE 100 had consolidated its earlier gains and was up 36 points at 6,332 shortly before 10am.

However, one blue-chip constituent having a less cheery morning is drinks giant Diageo PLC (LON:DGE) after it recalled a recently launched alcohol-free version of its Guinness brand amid concerns that some cans of the Irish stout have been contaminated.

The company said that it has recalled the product as a precaution against the possible biological contamination which it said made the drinks “unsafe to consume”. Diageo shares fell 1% to 2,948p following the news.

Other blue-chip firms having a better day included Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC), which was the FTSE 100’s biggest riser up 3.6% at 1,020p in mid-morning.

Meanwhile, down in the FTSE 250 publican JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) was having its own struggles, with the shares falling 0.8% to 1,111p  after the group recorded a steep fall in sales due to new UK lockdown restrictions over previous months.

The firm’s chairman Tim Martin also blasted the regulations as “baffling and confusing” which in turn had left the industry in “a complete muddle”.

8.55am: Predictions defied again

The FTSE 100 continued on this week’s upward trajectory on Wednesday as the injection provided by the discovery of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine reinvigorated the market.

The index of UK blue-chips nudged a further 25 points higher to 6,320.43.

After hours, Wall Street finished firmly in the green amid hopes of a return to normal over the next few months, while Asia’s markets were best described as mixed earlier on Wednesday.

Here in the UK, the message from the written media to the health secretary and foot-shooter-in-chief Matt Hancock, who has the unerring ability to snatch defeat from the jaws victory, was ‘don’t screw this up’.

The implication was clear: We have this vaccine, don’t turn this into the farce that track-and-trace has become.

In the US, Donald Trump’s desire to cling onto power has been dubbed embarrassing by Joe Biden, the next tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On the market, Flutter Entertainment (LON:FLTTR) led the charge higher after becoming the latest firm to nudge guidance higher. Shares in the betting giant advanced 3.3% in early trade.

“A number of external tailwinds have contributed, such as the return of major sporting events and the previous lifting of the lockdown which enabled the reopening of physical shops,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“However, the main driver of the turbocharged performance comes from the group’s acquisition activity coupled with targeted promotional activity in key areas.”

There was a boost of British Airways and Iberia owner IAG (LON:IAG), which benefited from a Goldman Sachs upgrade to ‘buy’. The shares nudged 2.4% higher.

Proactive news headlines:

Minds + Machines Group Limited (LON:MMX) has unveiled a share buyback programme as part of what it said is a broader strategy to deliver shareholder value. The internet domain specialist said it has approved the buyback programme up to a maximum value of £2.3mln with the price paid per share to be no more than 105% of the average middle market closing price of an ordinary share for the five business days preceding the date of purchase.  In a corporate update, the company said Tony Farrow has assumed the role of interim chief executive and has worked with interim chief financial officer Bryan Disher to review the company’s billings, cash flows and overall financial position as well as the day to day operations of the group.

Tiziana Life PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA) (LON:TILS)  is preparing to embark on a clinical study of what would be the first orally-taken home treatment for Crohn’s Disease using a monoclonal antibody (mAb). It is collaborating with Parexel Biotech, a subsidiary of the contract research giant Parexel, to conduct the phase Ib/II trial of a coated pill containing Foralumab, a fully-human mAb. In doing so, researchers from Europe and the US will assess for safety, tolerability and clinical activity of escalating doses of the treatment.

Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT), a leading global big data technology company, said it has won a three-year contract for the implementation and license of a Langdon Excise system. The group said the client is a major multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer based in the UK and with a significant presence in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). The system will provide a comprehensive end to end solution complying with existing legislation and public notices to allow the client to receive, manage and discharge duty suspended shipments from authorised suppliers under the Excise movement and control system (EMCS), as well as to make their own shipments of duty suspended goods to authorised destinations, it added.

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) said it has signed a master service agreement with California-based Augmenta Bioworks to profile patient plasma samples and assess treatment candidates discovered using the latter’s SingleCyte and DeepGrid platforms. The first project will deploy SeroTag, Oncimmune‘s oncology technology, which will be used to identify potential therapeutic antibodies that bind to human antigens found in cancer patients. The analysis will also provide insight into clinical efficacy as well as “off-target and non-specific binding” as an indicator, for example, for adverse events, Oncimmune said.

Mailbox REIT PLC said it has signed six new leases totalling 16,913 square feet of the Mailbox, the landmark central Birmingham property. The latest lettings, which were agreed above the estimated rental value, follow hard on the heels of an outline deal agreed with serviced officer provider IWG, which will run 50,000 square feet on the building’s Level-One under the Spaces co-working brand. The latter in particular is expected to help the REIT, which is listing on the International Property Securities Exchange (IPSX) next month, lift its yield from 5% to above 7% over the medium-term.

Bushveld Minerals Limited (LON:BMN) told investors it is delighted with the progress of a solar power and energy storage project at the Vametco mine site in South Africa. The ‘mini-grid’ project will comprise around 3.5 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation and 4 megawatts hours of vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) energy storage. It will boost energy security for the mining operation and also demonstrate the utility of vanadium-based energy storage solutions for industrial settings.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) has increased its stake in EnviroCopper Limited (ECL), an Australian company with an earn-in on the Kapunda gold-silver project in southern Australia. With the payment of a final A$185,000 investment tranche, completing a A$400,000 agreement, the London-listed companies interest in EnviroCopper increases to 30%. At the same time, EnviroCopper has earned its initial 50% interest in Kapunda, and, now moves into the phase that would see it earn up to 75%.

The City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) announced that Clive Watson, its executive chairman purchased 25,000 ordinary shares of 1p in the company on November 10, 2020 at an average price of 73.2p per ordinary share. Following this purchase, Watson is beneficially interested in 3,348,156 ordinary shares, representing approximately 3.17% of the company’s issued share capital.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) the AIM-listed metals exploration and development company said it has received a notice to exercise warrants over 1,000,000 new ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the company at an exercise price of 1.0p each. Subscription monies of £10,000 have been received by Power Metal in respect of this exercise.

IQ-AI Ltd (LON:IQAI) has received a conversion notice from Free Association Books Limited (FAB), converting £40,000 convertible loan notes (CLNs) and the £13,500 associated interest, issued in November 2015, at a price of 1.5p each, into 3,566,666 IQ-AI ordinary shares. FAB is a company in which Trevor Brown, who is CEO of IQ-AI, has an interest. The company has now fully converted all of the November 2020 convertible loan notes. In addition, the company has also received a conversion notice from Brown, converting £200,000 CLNs and the £20,000 associated interest, issued in March 2018, at a price of 2p each into 11,000,000 ordinary shares. In total, Brown will indirectly or directly be issued a total of 14,566,667 ordinary shares. In addition, he and FAB have in total sold 10,450,030 ordinary shares in the company. Following the above transactions, Brown will be directly and indirectly interested in 47,557,403 IQ-AI ordinary shares, representing approximately 29.63% of the company’s enlarged issued ordinary share capital.

Brunner Investment Trust PLC (LON:BUT) has noted that the investment companies team at Kepler Trust Intelligence has produced a new piece of investment bank quality research about the trust, designed to provide a clear and comprehensive reference for long term investors. This note is free to read for UK investors via the following link: http://www.trustintelligence.co.uk/investor for more high-quality independent investment trust research.

Curzon Energy PLC (LON:CZN) has requested a suspension of its shares from Wednesday, November 11, 2020, as it continues to work on a potential transaction with  Sun Seven Stars Investment Group over an envisaged reverse takeover to acquire the London Critical Metals Market. Earlier this month, an exclusivity period between the parties ended though talks and due diligence work have continued.

Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF) (TSX:APY) announced that at a meeting on November 10, 2020, the group’s board approved the appointment of Jason Gray as company secretary, who takes up his position with immediate effect. Gray takes over the position from Kevin Flynn, the company’s chief financial officer and executive director, who was appointed to the board in January 2020.

Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO), a company focused on providing specialised services to the pharmaceutical industry, has announced that Richard Barfield, its chief financial officer will present at the Jefferies Virtual London Healthcare Conference at 11.00am GMT on November 17, 2020. A live webcast of the presentation will be available on Ergomed’s website via the following link: https://www.ergomedplc.com/investor-relations/reports-and-presentations/

6.50am: Lest we forget – gains can be reversed

The FTSE 100 is expected to start Wednesday’s session slightly lower as investors look set to take a pause from recent strong gains on Remembrance Day.

Spread-better IG expects the FTSE 100 to open around 4 points lower after ending Tuesday’s session 110 points higher at 6,296.

After some strong upward surges following Monday’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine news, stocks in London now look set to hold back as investors shift focus back to the ongoing economic effects of the pandemic as the second wave of infections ravages several countries.

Expectations for a slower start follow a mixed performance for US equities overnight as traders in New York began to rotate away from tech firms and towards value stocks again following Monday’s Pfizer vaccine news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.9% higher at 29,420 while the S&P 500 fell 0.14% to 3,545 and the Nasdaq Composite sank 1.37% to 11,553.

It was a more positive session in Asia on Wednesday morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising 1.67% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.2% on more optimism for a coronavirus vaccine.

On currency markets, the pound was down 0.14% against the dollar at US$1.325 on Wednesday morning, its highest level since September as Brexit negotiations continue.

Around the markets:

  • Sterling: US$1.325, down 0.14%
  • Brent crude: US$44.06 a barrel, up 1%
  • Gold: US$1,881 an ounce, up 0.2%
  • Bitcoin: US$15,398, up 0.6%

6.45am: Early Markets – Asia/Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday as Alibaba set a new sales record for the annual Singles Day shopping event.

Total sales surpassed 372.3 billion yuan (US$56.42 billion) as of 12:30 am Beijing time on Wednesday.

However, Chinese stocks fell with the Shanghai Composite down 0.35% while Hong Kong’s Hang Sen index gained 0.19%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.78% higher and in South Korea, the Kospi added 1.31%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 1.72% as consumer confidence in Australia rose to its highest level in seven years with consumers buoyed by falling COVID-19 infections and the re-opening of Victoria.

READ OUR ASX REPORT HERE

Proactive Australia news:

Firefinch Limited (ASX:FFX) has become a gold producer after completing the acquisition of an 80% interest in the Morila Gold Mine in Mali.

Auroch Minerals Ltd (ASX:AOU) has hit massive nickel sulphides in its first diamond hole drilled at the Horn prospect within the Leinster Nickel Project in Western Australia.

King River Resources Ltd (ASX:KRR) has successfully trialled its new high purity alumina (HPA) process route using alternative aluminum chemical feedstocks.

American Rare Earths Ltd (ASX:ARR) has established a first JORC-compliant resource estimate of 128.2 million tonnes at 373.4 ppm total rare earth elements (TREE) at La Paz Rare Earth Project in Arizona, USA.

Auteco Minerals Ltd (ASX:AUT) has received strong drilling results which highlight the potential to increase the 1-million-ounce inferred resource at its Pickle Crow Gold Project in Ontario, Canada.

Piedmont Lithium Ltd (ASX:PLL) (NASDAQ:PLL) will partner with SGS Canada Inc to complete a pilot-scale spodumene concentrator test-work program using a bulk sample collected from the Piedmont Lithium Project in North Carolina.

Bellevue Gold Ltd’s (ASX:BGL) recent infill drilling at the Deacon and Bellevue North lodes has increased the indicated resource at its flagship gold project in Western Australia by 20% to 1.04 million ounces of gold at 11.4 g/t.

Red River Resources Ltd (ASX:RVR) (FRA:R1R) is higher after sampling and mapping at Orient Silver Project near Herberton defined an extensive high-grade silver-indium system at the Orient project near Herberton in northern Queensland.

European Lithium Limited (ASX:EUR) (FRA:PF8) (VIE:ELI) is preparing to hit the ground running at a newly granted tenement in Australia’s hottest gold region in Western Australia’s northwest.

Matador Mining Ltd’s (ASX:MZZ) drilling continues to expand the mineralised footprints at its Cape Ray Gold Project in Newfoundland, in Canada, with the Angus discovery mineralised area expanding by at least 120,000 square metres.

Small Cap Wrap – Jadestone Energy; Thor Mining; Tiziana Life Sciences; Rosslyn Data and more…

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