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FTSE 100 to start Thursday on back foot as pandemic politics hog attentions

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The FTSE 100 is set to start Thursday on the back foot as pandemic and politics continue to monopolise the attention of traders.

CFD and spreadbetting firm IG calls the London benchmark 20 points lower, making the price 5,750 to 5,753 with just over an hour to go until the open.

It comes after another negative close on Wall Street. The Dow Jones finished Wednesday some 97 points or 0.35% lower at 28,210.

The S&P 500 marked a 0.22% decline to close at 2,435 and the Nasdaq scratched off 0.28% to end the day at 3,435. Meanwhile, the small-cap Russell 2000 index slipped 0.86% to 1,603.

“We saw another day of losses for European and US markets yesterday as investor impatience with the phoney war going on between the Democrats and Republicans continued over the prospect of a stimulus plan before the November 3 US election,” said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

“This scepticism looks set to spill over into this morning as Asia stocks also fell sharply, though a sharp IMF downgrade for the region also didn’t help sentiment, and this negative tone looks set to continue this morning with markets in Europe also set to open lower.

The analyst added: “As far as a US stimulus package is concerned the penny appears to be finally dropping that there is unlikely to be a plan that will be able to get past the Republicans in the US Senate, even if Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin were able to put something down on paper, in their various short phone calls over the past few days.”

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was down 167 points or 0.7% trading at 23,471 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng moved 0.11% lower at 24,726. The Shanghai Composite dropped 0.66% to 3,303.

Around the market

The pound: US$1.3135, down 0.11%

Gold: US$1,915 per ounce, down 0.5%

Silver: US$24.85 per ounce, down 0.88%

Brent crude: US$41.50 per barrel, down 3.8%

WTI crude: US$39.77 per barrel, down 4.6%

Bitcoin: US$12,781, up 4.4%

6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia

Shares in Asia-Pacific were lower today as the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday downgraded its growth forecast for the region.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.53% while South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.72%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were lower by 0.48% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was marginally higher, rising 0.04%.

Shares in Australia declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3%.

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Proactive Australia news:

Piedmont Lithium Ltd (ASX:PLL) (NASDAQ:PLL) has completed an underwritten US public offering of 2 million of its American Depositary Shares (ADS) each representing 100 of its ordinary shares at an issue price of US$25 per ADS for gross proceeds of US$50 million (A$70.6 million).

Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) has signed an MOU with UK-based GSA Environmental Ltd (GSAe) for commercial and technical collaboration with the aim of value-adding to AVL’s namesake project through additional vanadium sources and economies of scale.

Comet Resources Limited (ASX:CRL) has finalised an exploration access agreement (EAA) for a large portion of privately held land within Exploration Licence 8492, which hosts the highly prospective Barraba Copper Project in New South Wales.

Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) has received strong support for an oversubscribed private placement to raise C$11.4 million (A$12 million) which will further progress development of the flagship Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic.

BlackEarth Minerals NL (ASX:BEM) has identified 13 nickel-copper-PGE targets after completing the first phase of exploration on the Donnelly River Project, 240 kilometres south of Perth, Western Australia.

Sipa Resources Ltd (ASX:SRI) has started a 1,500-metre reverse circulation (RC) drilling program to test base metal targets at the Wolfe Basin Project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

CVCheck Ltd’s (ASX:CV1) has signed another international wholesale customer in UK-headquartered Vero Screening Ltd for its best-of-breed screening and verification solution.

Carnavale Resources Limited (ASX:CAV) is moving swiftly forward with a program of modern and structured exploration at the expanded Kookynie high-grade gold project in the Leonora region of WA’s Eastern Goldfields.

archTIS Ltd (ASX:AR9) achieved a strong September quarter securing $5 million in new revenue contracts as the technology company focused on protecting sensitive information executes a $15 million sales pipeline.

Pan Asia Metals Limited (ASX:PAM) has been formally awarded Special Prospecting Licence TSPL 2/2563 for the Khao Soon Tungsten Project in Thailand and is now able to resume its work program on the area.

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