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FTSE 100 closes up but off its afternoon high; US tech stocks drive midday decline

FTSE 100 index gains 70 points
Westminster pressured to replace furlough scheme
Wall Street downshif..

  • FTSE 100 index gains 70 points
  • Westminster pressured to replace furlough scheme
  • Wall Street downshifts into negative territory

5pm: FTSE 100 recedes from afternoon highs, still finishes solidly in the green

The UK benchmark index sniffed the 6,000 point mark in afternoon trading, but slowed late in the day to end up 70 points, 1.2%, at 5,899.3.

The FTSE 250, for its part, gained 171 points, 1%, to 16,993.

Morning pessimism across the pond may have played a role in UK traders easing up.

"The slightly negative beginning to the US trading session seems to have taken some of the wind out of the bulls sails in Europe," CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote. "Earlier today, the FTSE 100 was moving towards the 6,000 mark, but now it looks as if it will retest the 5,900 area. In London, airlines, hospitality, bank, and supermarkets stocks are all showing solid gains. Mining stocks like Antofagasta and Glencore are in the red because of the negative moves seen in metals."

In the US, the major indices started up but turned sharply into the red by midday. The Dow Jones lost 109 points, 0.4%, to 27,178.5; the Nasdaq dropped 146 points, 1.4%, to 10,815; and the S&P 500 slipped 26 points, 0.8%, to 3,289.

Tech shares, as ever, are driving things: Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) fell 2.3% to $3,058.9 and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) declined 2.2% to $1,433.5.

3.25pm: Chancellor Rishi Sunak looks for furlough scheme replacement

FTSE 100 cuts its gains in late trading, rising 88 points to 5,918.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to be seeking ways to replace the furlough scheme when it expires at the end of October.

At the Prime Minister's Questions earlier, Boris Johnson was pressed to act swiftly by opposition MPs to avoid a “tsunami of job losses”.

He said Sunak was looking for “creative and imaginative” alternatives.

The new scheme may resemble those applied in France and Germany where the government tops up salaries while employees work for fewer hours, according to the BBC.

The CBI has suggested a top-up from the government if employees can work at least 50% of their hours, with staff paid for two-thirds of the lost hours.

The TUC has proposed a similar programme, with employees working even less than half their contracted hours and received at least 80% of the time lost.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Englands governor Andrew Bailey urged the government to “stop and rethink” the furlough scheme but did not provide any alternative plan.

3.15pm: Proactive North America headlines:

Japan Gold Corp (CVE:JG) (OTCQB:JGLDF) says its alliance with Barrick Gold has acquired new project on Japanese island of Hokkaido

First Cobalt Corp (CVE:FCC) (OTCQX:FTSSF) says cobalt will remain a key component of electric vehicle batteries after Tesla's Battery Day announcement

NexTech AR (OTCQB:NEXCF) (CSE:NTAR) wins $900,000 in bookings for its popular video conferencing and virtual events platform InfernoAR

CleanSpark Inc (NASDAQ:CLSK) receives contract to provide intelligent switchgear upgrades and support for a US Embassy located on the African continent

Humanigen Inc (NASAQ:HGEN) inks partnership with Thermo Fisher to speed production of coronavirus drug lenzilumab

Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC), wins Japanese patent for its Primer-Switch technology to detect rare mutations and cancer biomarkers

Thoughtful Brands Inc (CSE:TBI) (OTCQB:PEMTF) raises $600K in private placement to settle debts and fund JV

CytoDyn Inc (OTCQB:CYDY) selected to make oral presentation at the “Special isirv-AVG Virtual Conference on Therapeutics for COVID-19”

Co-Diagnostics' detection of infectious disease has led it to join the coronavirus fight with flagship test

International Montoro Resources (CVE:IMT)(FRA:O4T1) acquires two high grade gold projects in potential district scale camp in Newfoundland

2.42pm: Wall Street opens on a mixed footing

Wall Street has started on something of a mixed footing on Wednesday, with the tech-dominated Nasdaq proving to be the laggard among the main three indices.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Nasdaq Composite index was down 0.06% at 10,956, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.52% to 27,429 and the S&P 500 rose 0.12% to 3,319.

One of the weights on the Nasdaq is Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), which saw its shares tumble 4.6% to US$404 in the early minutes of trading after its much anticipated Battery Day failed to deliver the announcements investors had expected.

READ: Tesla shares plunge as much-lauded 'Battery Day' fails to provide badly needed spark[hhmc]

Back in London, the FTSE 100 has lost some of its gains into late afternoon and was up 117 points at 5,946.

1.05pm: Wall Street to open higher

FTSE 100 held its gains at lunchtime, rising 128 points to 5,958.

On the other side of the pond, Wall Street expected to add to Tuesdays gains at open.

European and US stocks are recovering following Mondays losses amid worries of stricter restrictions over the winter, and despite todays PMIs readings not exactly optimistic.

The economic recovery was better than expected but short-lived, analysts point out, and the winter months ahead are forecast to be tough ones.

The Fed may find itself under more pressure to use its powers and the newly agreed framework soon, supporting the work done by the central bank.

“The only upside as far as markets are concerned is that more stimulus won't be far behind,” noted Craig Erlam, analyst at OANDA.

“This was certainly the message on Tuesday from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, although the fiscal side of the equation is proving problematic and may not come until after the election. A lot of damage can occur in the interim.”

12.10pm: Government warns of 7,000-truck queues post Brexit

FTSE 100 kept climbing at noon, adding 134 points to 5,965.

The government has been warned that exporters to the EU are facing queues of 7,000 trucks as well as delays of two days from January onwards once Brexit is set in stone.

Michael Gove wrote a letter to the freight industry, seen by BBC News, outlining this as the reasonable worst-case scenario.

“Both imports and exports could be disrupted to a similar extent,” the letter read, due to 70% of freight trucks travelling to the EU unprepared for the new rules.

The disruption would build in the beginning of January and potentially last for three months or longer.

Gove is one of the responsible ministers for preparing for a no-deal outcome.

10.50am: FTSE 100 shrugs off PMI reading

The Footsie shrugged off a not-so-optimistic PMI reading for September, shooting up 129 points to 5,959. Meanwhile, sterling was flat at US$1.2731.

The flash purchasing managers surveys pointed to a loss of momentum in September, but still an improvement over the third quarter.

The EY ITEM Club predicted a 15% GDP growth in the period on the back of the new data, as the economy benefitted from reduced lockdown restrictions and the release of pent-up demand.

But analysts expect UK restrictions to hinder recovery and cause the GDP to stagnate in the fourth quarter, with potential new measures threatening the economy even further.

As Capital Economics points out, a two-week national lockdown could reduce the level of GDP by 5% and set back the economic recovery by a year.

“Economic activity in the fourth quarter is expected to lose substantial momentum given the likely rise in unemployment at the end of the furlough scheme in October and as the boost from pent-up demand wanes,” analysts at EY ITEM Club noted.

“Increased restrictions on activity due to rising COVID-19 cases are also now set to have some dampening impact on the economy. Uncertainties over the future UK-EU trade relationship could also fuel business caution and weigh on investment.”

10:30am: IG sees pub and travel shares in COVID firing line

As the UK government adds additional COVID-19 measure, IG analyst Joshua Mahony reckons the rebound in Mitchells & Butlers may only be short-term given the impending curfew, whilst further downside is seen for airlines such as International Consolidated Airlines Group.

Mahony said the rise in Covid-19 cases increasing the likeliness that other nations will impose quarantine restrictions on the UK visitors, which would be hugely detrimental to the British Airways parent.

“While Boris Johnson had previously sought to revive the economy by encouraging visits to restaurants, pubs, and workplaces, we are seeing that advice gradually reversed to the dismay of many business owners,” the IG analyst said.

“However, from a government perspective, the one thing that needs to be avoided is a detrimental second lockdown.” Mahony added: “Traders will begin to watch the numbers very closely in the coming weeks as we are likely to see further hardline steps taken if the current trajectory is maintained.”

9.40am: UK PMIs signal recovery setback amid fall in confidence

FTSE 100 nearly doubled its earlier gains in mid-morning, rising 117 points to 5,947.

The latest UK PMI reading pointed to a setback for the recovery in UK private sector output, with the rate of expansion easing from August's 72-month high.

The slowdown reflected weaker rises in both manufacturing production and service sector activity, while the private sector showed another drop in business expectations for the year ahead, with the degree of optimism falling to its lowest since May.

The Flash UK Composite Output Index came in at 55.7, still above the 50.0 no-change mark for the third consecutive month, but below Augusts reading of 59.1.

The Flash UK Manufacturing PMI registered 54.3 in September, down from 55.2 in August.

Meanwhile, the Flash UK Services PMI had the weakest performance in three months, coming in at 55.1 in September down from 58.8 in August.

“It was not surprising to see that the slowdown was especially acute in services, where the restaurant sector in particular saw demand fall sharply as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was withdrawn,” said Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

“Demand for other consumer-facing services also stalled as companies struggled amid new measures introduced to fight rising infection rates and consumers often remained reluctant to spend.”

“Encouragingly, robust growth in manufacturing, business services and financial services has offset weakness in consumer-facing sectors, meaning the overall rate of expansion remained comfortably above the surveys long-run average, which adds to expectations that the third quarter will see a solid rebound in GDP from the collapse seen in the second quarter.”

8.50am: Strong opening performance

The FTSE 100 opened firmly in positive territory on Wednesday with much of the fresh coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown gloom priced into the market.

The index of UK blue-chip shares rose 63 points to 5,892.56.

The reality of new restrictions announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to be slightly more palatable than the prospect, which wiped more than 200 points off the index on Monday.

According to the Financial Times, chancellor Rishi Sunak is now assessing a son-of-furlough support scheme for businesses.

“Markets have generally stemmed the declines of recent trading sessions, although any relief could be short-lived given overarching concerns which have not gone away,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“The potential for Covid to wreak further economic damage was brought into sharp focus as the UK announced further restrictive measures. In the US, deteriorating relations with China and political distractions add to an economy which is still being hampered by the effects of the virus.”

In other words, the same narrative that has kept global markets in check for the last six weeks.

Later, well receive results of an important economic litmus test in the form of UK and Eurozone purchasing managers indexes (PMIs).

These sentiment indexes provide a reliable gauge on activity levels and theres a nervousness ahead of the latest slew of data.

On the market, there was a modest bounce back after for IAG (LON:IAG), which rose 2.7% after the recent lockdown inspired sell-off of shares in the airline group.

Down 4%, silver miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES) tracked precious metals prices lower.

The mornings big riser was engineer Diploma PLC (LON:DPLM), which rose 18% after successfully completing a £190mln share placing.

Proactive news headlines:

Applied Graphene Materials PLC (LON:AGM) shares jumped higher on Wednesday on news the firm is to launch a new graphene-enhanced car polishing product in partnership with Infinity Wax, a specialist car care distributor. Infinity Wax will start to market the ground-breaking QDX Graphene Detailing Spray in the fourth quarter of 2020, Applied Graphene Materials said. Detailing sprays enhance the shine of a vehicle and make it much easier to wipe any dirt away. This new product is enhanced with Applied Graphene Materials' market-leading G enable graphene/dispersions and will be available to car owners of all types, Applied Graphene Materials added.

LoopUp Group PLC (LON:LOOP) has reported soaring earnings in the first half of its current year as the migration to remote working during the coronavirus pandemic sparked a surge in demand for its conference call and remote working services. For the six months ended June 30, 2020, the AIM-listed firm reported adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £12.2mln, 247% higher year-on-year, while revenues jumped 43% to £31.9mln. The company highlighted a “material increase” in demand for its core products, revenues from which grew 54% in the period to £27.9mln. LoopUp also reported that volumes for its professional services (PS) grew 90% to 335mln minutes, while volumes at its Event by LoopUp division climbed 88% to 3,596 events.

4D pharma PLC (LON:DDDD) said it has appointed a new independent director to help guide the business to the “next stages of global development”. Dr Katrin Rupallas arrival was announced as 4D also said non-executive director David Norwood would be retiring from the board at the end of the month after six years with the drug developer. Rupalla is currently head of regulatory affairs, medical documentation and R&D quality at Lundbeck, the Danish drug group. She has also held senior positions at Roche, Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

88 Energy Limited (LON:88E) (ASX:88E) has given investors an exploration update on Project Peregrine on Alaska's North Slope, which is an area picked up in the recent acquisition of XCD Energy. The explorer told investors that seismic reprocessing and analysis – including amplitude vs offset or AVO studies – has identified several similarities between the key prospects at Project Peregrine and existing discovered fields nearby. It said that the findings are very encouraging. Specifically, the companys Harrier and Merlin prospects are described as analogous to Conocos large Willow oil field which is located to the north of exploration area.

Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR) (ASX:THR) has said that following the receipt of a resignation letter from the company's incumbent auditor, Chapman Davis , Thor has today formalised the appointment of PKF Littlejohn LLP as its new auditor. The group said the resignation letter received from Chapman Davis noted "no circumstances connected with our resignation which we consider should be brought to the notice of the members or creditors of the Company". The appointment of PKF Littlejohn will be put to a shareholder's vote at the company's next AGM, it added.

Blue Star Capital PLC (LON:BLU) has expanded its interest in the esports sector with a new investment in FORMATION Esports, a firm with a focus on esports opportunities within contact sports. The firm said it has invested €125,000 (£115,500) in a subscription for 12.5mln new shares in Formation, providing the investment group with a 9.6% stake in the company, which is incorporated in France with the support of the UNIQORN incubator-accelerator. Blue Star said the fundraising will provide Formation with cash to launch a dedicated esports platform aimed at providing contact sports clubs with revenue and sponsorship generating opportunities and increased exposure.

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) said it has signed a collaboration to profile samples from Genentech's rheumatology clinical trials, broadening the "commercial footprint” of its ImmunoINSIGHTS service business. Oncimmunes NavigAID arrays will be used to characterise the auto-antibody profiles of patients taking part in studies for rheumatological diseases, including the autoimmune disease lupus. Following the projects completion, Genentech, which is now part of Swiss giant Roche, has the option to expand the contract to profile additional samples.

Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY) said profits rose in the year to end June 2020, as sales in Germany and elsewhere in Europe stayed strong despite coronavirus disruption. Net profits jumped to £7.1mln, up from £3.5mln a year earlier, though the increase was helped by a legal settlement worth £3.2mln the hay fever treatment specialist said. Allergy had flagged already that revenues for the year had risen by 7% to £78.2mln. Sales in Germany, which accounts for 61% of revenues, rose by 8%, Spain by 10%, the Netherlands 22% and Switzerland 18%.

ECSC Group PLC (LON:ECSC) has confirmed a swing to profit in the first half of its current year amid what it said were record levels of recurring revenues and orders for its managed detection and response (MDR) division. In its results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, the cybersecurity firm reported adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £52,000, swinging from a £184,000 loss in the prior year, while revenues remained relatively steady at £2.61mln compared to £2.63mln in 2019.

Panther Metals PLC (LON:PALM) told investors it is confident that the current phase of exploration at the Big Bear gold project, in Ontario, will result in a pipeline of potential new discoveries. The company noted that ground-truthing and sampling follow-up are progressing for 39 priority geophysical targets. Systematic grid soil sampling and outcrop sampling has so far defined a further five areas of interest within the Big Bear Project including Cook Lake East and Big Duck Creek, Panther noted. At Cook Lake East a broad linear target has been identified, with strike length presently seen at around 600 metres, and up to 250 metres width.

ANGLE PLC (LON:AGL) (OTCQX:ANPCY) said its technology has proved central to breakthrough research that could completely transform the understanding of metastatic cancer. The process of metastasis is where cancer starts to spread to other parts of the body, lodging in vital organs such as the liver or lungs. This is critical because over 90% of patients who succumb to cancer die of the metastatic spread of the disease, not because of the primary tumour. The research, by Professor Nicola Aceto of the University of Basel, has done much to characterise the process by which cancer begins to travel around the body.

European Metals Holdings Ltd (LON:EMH) said it has hired SMS Group Process Technologies GmbH as lead engineer at the Cinovec project in Czech Republic. SMS will be working on the minerals processing and lithium battery-grade chemicals production, to provide a complete Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) study for Cinovec. The FEED is a key component in the ongoing workstreams for the mine projects definitive feasibility study. Under the agreement, SMS will design the full process integration, from the receipt of ore to the underground crusher to the delivery of finished battery-grade lithium chemicals product.

Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) announced that the first contract for Paddington Bear has been signed with the White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds. The live events and entertainment specialist said it is the second time it has partnered with the White Rose Centre, which will showcase the Paddington Bear Models during the Christmas period 2020. The firm is producing a touring interactive experience based on the Paddington Bear brand, a well-known character in childrens literature created by Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum.

Inspiration Healthcare Group PLC (LON:IHC) has appointed Dr Peter Reynolds as the group's Vice President for Clinical Innovation and Compliance. Reynolds is a Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician at St Peter's Hospital in Chertsey and is heavily involved in research, quality improvement and teaching, Inspiration Healthcare said, with his speciality the treatment of premature and sick babies and their outpatient management. In 2018, he won the "Who Cares Wins" award for Best Neonatal Specialist in the UK.

BB Healthcare Trust PLC (LON:BBH) has announced the appointment of Professor Tony Young as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect. Professor Young is a practising frontline NHS Consultant Urological Surgeon, Director of Medical Innovation at Anglia Ruskin University, President of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences, and National Clinical Director for Innovation for the NHS. He has founded four Med-Tech start-ups and also co-founded the £500mln Anglia Ruskin Med-Tech Campus. In 2014, he was appointed as National Clinical Director for Innovation at NHS England, and in February 2016 became the first National Clinical Lead for Innovation. Randeep Grewal, BBHealthcares chairman, commented: "I am delighted to welcome Professor Young to the Board as a Non-Executive Director. He brings a wealth of experience in medical innovation, which will further strengthen our Board and we look forward to working with him."

Mosman Oil and Gas Limited (LON:MSMN) the oil exploration, development, and production company, said it has received a notification to exercise warrants over a total of 70,000,000 new ordinary shares of no par value in the share capital of the company at a price of 0.15p per share. The group said the funds from the exercise of the warrants of circa AS185,000 will be added to Mosman's existing cash reserves.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) the AIM-listed metals exploration and development company has said it was notified on Tuesday that Value Generation Limited, a company beneficially owned by Paul Johnson, the companys chief executive officer purchased on market 1,000,000 ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the company at a price of 1.2p each (£12,000 invested). Following the purchase, the group noted that Johnson has a beneficial interest in a total of 56,000,000 Power Metals ordinary shares, representing approximately 6.91% of the issued share capital of the company.

Power Metal Resources said it was also notified on Tuesday that Andrew Bell, the companys chairman undertook the following transactions: purchased on market 1,481,877 ordinary shares at a price of 1.196p each; sold on market 1,480,000 ordinary shares at a price of 1.2p each. The group said the transactions represent a transfer of 1,480,000 from Bell's personal share account into his Self-Invested Personal Pension and the acquisition of a further 1,877 shares. Following the purchase, Bell has a beneficial interest in a total of 22,282,403 Power Metals ordinary shares, representing approximately 2.78% of the issued share capital of the company.

Sensyne Health PLC (LON:SENS), the Clinical AI company, has said it will announce its full-year results for the 12 months ended April 30, 2020, on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. It added that Lord Drayson, the groups chief executive officer, and Michael Norris, its interim chief financial officer, will host a virtual briefing for analysts and investors at 2.00pm BST on the day of the results. Details of the webcast, and the presentation slides, will be available via the Company website. For more details please contact [email protected]

Amryt Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:AMYT) (LON:AMYT), a global, commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing and commercializing novel therapeutics to treat patients suffering from serious and life-threatening rare diseases. has announced its support for Global FH Awareness Day 2020 which will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2020. Dr Joe Wiley, CEO of Amryt Pharma, commented: "All of the Amryt team are pleased to support the great work of the FH Foundation in the US and FH Europe as they seek to raise awareness of FH and HoFH amongst patients, clinicians and the wider community. For our part, we are collaborating with all stakeholders to continue to deliver therapies to patients in desperate need". Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is an inherited genetic condition that leads to levels of cholesterol that are much higher than that of the general population. Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (HoFH) is a rare and severe form of FH, causing excessive levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) or 'bad cholesterol' to accumulate in the body from conception.

6.50am: Firm start predicted

The FTSE 100 index is expected to start positively on Wednesday extending the previous sessiRead More – Source




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