- FTSE 100 index erases early losses
- Morrison's update drags on supermarket sector
- Wall Street starts higher
3.30pm/ 10.30a EST: Proactive North America headlines:
Esports Entertainment Group Inc (NASDAQ:GMBL) sets revenue guidance at $13M and $25M in fiscal 2021 and 2022 respectively
Group Eleven Resources Corp (CVE:ZNG) (OTCMKTS:GRLVF) starts drilling at the Stonepark zinc project in Ireland
Empower Clinics Inc (CSE:CBDT) (OTCQB:EPWCF) starts COVID-19 testing through its Sun Valley Health operations in Arizona
3.00pm: Wall Street higher in early trading
Once again, Wall Street has upended expectations of a lower start as all three main indices posted gains in the early part of Thursdays session.
In the first 25 minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.6% higher at 28,102, while the S&P 500 was up 0.4% at 3,413 and the Nasdaq climbed 0.7% to 11,215.
Investors appear to have shrugged off the unchanged and still elevated US jobless claims figure, while the continued strength of the tech-fueled Nasdaq may have convinced many that the tech selloff is well and truly over.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was relatively flat, down just one point at 6,011 at 3pm.
2.15pm: Benchmark levels up
The Footsie has regained the 6,000 level, though is still in the red for the day, as the pound weakened below the 1.3 level against the dollar in a frenetic period on the markets.
ECB governor Christine Lagarde began her press conference while US jobless claims data was released.
Initial jobless claims, or the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits, was precisely unchanged from last weeks very elevated 884,000.
The four-week average has slipped to around 970,750 from 992,500 in the previous period.
Continuing jobless claims unexpectedly rebounded to 13.39mln from 13.29mln last time, when the market was expecting a fall to 12.93mln.
“As bad as those figures look, they are getting increasingly hard to square with the rest of the labour market data,” said Paul Ashworth at Capital Econcomics, noting that this weeks job openings data revealed that layoffs in July had fallen back to their pre-pandemic level.
Meanwhile, Lagardes ECB conference was being closely watched as the euro spiked higher and the central banks economists revised their forecasts for a smaller decline this year but slightly lower growth of 5% for next year.
But there was drama as an “ECB source” story dropped via Bloomberg in the middle of the conference, counter to what Lagarde was saying in her remarks.
November 2019: Lagarde appointed to bring harmony to the Governing Council:
September 2020: https://t.co/YxKB4B3oAB
— Adam Linton (@Adamlinton1) September 10, 2020
Extremely suspect story
*ECB SAID TO AGREE THERE IS NO NEED TO OVERREACT TO EURO GAINS
If the source was someone who knew, it should not have been leaked anywhere close to an official presser.
If it was based on a quote made earlier, why release it during a presser?
— Ranko Berich (@rankoberich) September 10, 2020
1:31pm: FTSE cutting losses
The FTSE 100 has moved back towards parity for the day, down 14 points at 5,999.
Shell (LON:RDSB) and a switch from red to green for the banks helped the index cut losses.
The ECB left policy unchanged at todays meeting, but all eyes will be on the press conference beginning now.
"We expect President Lagarde to reiterate that policymakers are ready to do more if required, but to stop short of any new policy pledges,” said Capital Economics.
Over in New York, the Dow and S&P 500 are both still expected to start lower, but the Nasdaq Composite is now seen rising.
12.10pm: Expected US stock retreat weighs
The Footsie slipped lower just before noon as traders prepared for Wall Streets opening bell, with the main indices stateside expected to open lower.
Following a long weekends break, US stocks have whipsawed lower and then rebounded this week, with Thursday set to mark another day splashed with red.
The Dow Jones is predicted to fall around 160 points or around 0.6%, with similar declines for the broader S&P 500 and the tech-powered Nasdaq Composite, having risen 1.6%, 2% and 2.7% respectively last night.
Its been a frantic week, said market analyst Craig Erlam at Oanda, with US tech stocks lurching into correction territory, with reports that Japanese behemoth Softbank is betting heavily on the sector in recent months further accelerating the decline.
Despite the previous days fight back, “we shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security” Erlam said.
“We've seen an excessive amount of volatility over the last week and the tech sector has only been set back a month. That's not to say we're definitely going to see further sharp falls but it should perhaps be approached with caution.”
This caution comes in sync with gains for gold on Thursday, gaining as the dollar continues to pare recent gains but is dragging its feet, which may be encouraging for gold bulls.
He said the ECB policy decision today may have a hand to play in things, with unfounded stimulus expectations having the potential to lead to euro rally that would put further downward pressure on the dollar and giving gold prices a boost.
But over at IG, Chris Beauchamp said the ECB meeting should make at least a passing reference to recent euro strength against the dollar, although he said firm action is unlikely this time.
“Instead we will likely see the bank lay out a path to further easing later in the year, responding as needed if and when the initial rebound from the Covid-19 economic shock begins to fade. Markets looking for a real boost may well be disappointed, bolstering the current negative price action of the past week.”
The FTSE 100 is down 48 points or 0.8% at 5,965.
11am: Mid-caps outdoing the Footsie
Londons blue chips have trimmed the worst of the mornings losses but remain on the back foot, though its smaller siblings on the FTSE 250 is in positive territory.
The mid-cap index, whose constituents are felt to better reflect the UK economy, is up 70 points or 0.4% at 17,664.92, with the gains being led by the rampaging orcs and ogres of Games Workshop (LON:GAW) as it reported strong summer trading for its Warhammer game was boosted by “healthy growth” in online and trade channels (read more here).
Also near the top risers is Dixons Carphone (LON:DC.) after the electronics retailer said it is considering a listing a minority stake of its Nordics business next year following a decade of strong performance (read more here).
Meanwhile, with relevance for several sectors, the Office for National Statistics has just reported that of UK businesses that have not permanently stopped trading, 36% of the total workforce was working remotely instead of at their normal place of work, with 49% of the workforce back at their normal place of work and 11% of the workforce were on partial or furlough.
9.45am: Retailers, bank and miners lead falls
The FTSE 100 continued to stumble lower in early trading, with retailers, banks and resources companies leading the retreat.
Asia focused banking pair HSBC (LON:HSBA) and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN), along Lloyds (LON:LLOY) and Barclays (LON:BARC), were all big fallers, along with BHP (LON:BHP), Antofagaste (LON:ANTO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL) among the bottom-10.
Fear was undermining equities, said market analyst Neil Wilson at Markets.com.
“Fear casts a long shadow. If the virus doesnt get you, the fear might,” he whispered.
“Fear is what cripples the recovery, be that fear of the virus (I wont go out) or fear of arbitrary knee jerk responses (why bother booking a holiday abroad). There is a fear stalking some companies.”
This included retailer Dunelm (LON:DNLM) warning of a “severe but plausible” scenario in which there are further lockdowns through Christmas, as well as British Airways parent IAG (LON:IAG), which has warned demand has dropped off and it now expects capacity to decline this year more than previously thought, following similar warnings from easyJet and Ryanair in recent days.
The FTSE 100 has fallen 40 points or 0.7% to 5,973.
8.50am: Early retreat for Footsie
The FTSE 100 opened in negative territory on Thursday as traders assessed the potential economic disruption that could follow in the wake of new coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and as Brexit negotiations continued to make little apparent headway.
The UK blue-chip index receded 22 points to 5,991.34.
Leading the fallers was grocer Morrison's (LON:MRW) in the wake of its interim results, which showed that increased pandemic costs and falling income from fuel sales had hobbled profitability. The shares opened 4% lower.
“Contrary to popular belief, the pandemic was not an automatic home run for the supermarkets,” said Richard Hunter of Interactive Investor.
BPs (LON:BP.) £850mln investment in wind projects owned by Norways Equinor failed to pass muster as the shares drifted 2.2% lower.
That said, with West Texas crude below US$40 a barrel and Brent fast approaching this important landmark, warning alarms were going off across an industry already hard hit by a drop off in demand.
It was bounce-back day for the builders, which are under regulatory scrutiny, led by Taylor Wimpey (LONLTW.), which rose 2.1%.
Proactive news headlines:
Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE), the London-listed vertically integrated CBD company, announced that it has signed its second international distribution contract, as well as noting continued progress with its core CBD business. The agreement will see the company's premium CBD offering reach consumers in over 15 markets across the European Union.
Iconic Labs PLC (LON:ICON) said it has completed a contract to produce research, data and insights for a multinational consumer goods firm. The media and technology firm said the deal was an “innovative type of consultation service” that it will look to offer to a range of new clients going forward. Separately, Iconic said it is continuing to work under the management services agreement with JOE Media and it is currently fulfilling a contract to manage the production and distribution of bespoke social content through JOE Media in the UK, which is expected to carry a value of over £150,000.
LoopUp Group PLC (LON:LOOP) has unveiled what it said is a “significant new contract” with one of the worlds top five law firms. The conference call and remote meeting specialist said following a successful pilot with 300 users, its LoopUp Meeting service will now be rolled out globally at the law firm, which has the potential to become one of LoopUps largest accounts. The deal follows two other top 100 global law firm wins in July and August, which the company said demonstrated its “continued success” in expanding its footprint in the professional services market.
ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) said dosing has now begun in the US for the expanded phase IIa trial of its hRPC cell therapy for the degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Up to a further nine people will be given higher dose levels under a revised protocol at sites in America and the UK. Ten patients have already taken part in this stage of the study. ReNeuron said it expects to present further data over the next 12 months and it believes it will be able to compile enough clinical evidence in that time to seek approval in the second half of next year for a single pivotal clinical trial.
Gfinity PLC (LON:GFIN) said it has been appointed by chocolate maker Cadbury to deliver a new gaming tournament, the Cadbury Heroes Parents League, which will be broadcast across the companys owned channels including Twitch and YouTube. The tournament will involve 12 teams of two players, with each team consisting of one gaming influencer playing alongside a parent or guardian. The influencers will be announced at the start of October, alongside the game used during the tournament, following which there will be a period of training for the teams before the tournament is live-streamed in early November before a final hosted at the Gfinity arena in Fulham.
Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) has said that further exploration work by Newcrest, its partner at the Havieron deposit at Paterson in Western Australia has indicated the potential for a bulk mining, open pit prospect. Step-out drilling in the north-west of Havieron identified the breccia target and additional work has now expanded it to a size of 300 metres (m) x 100m x 300m that is open at depth. Greatland noted that Newcrest also pointed out higher-grade zones related to massive sulphide mineralisation were observed, while also demonstrating geological and grade continuity.
Zaim Credit Systems PLC (LON:ZAIM), the Russia-focused microlender, has cut its store base and accelerated its move online to offset the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Moscow and elsewhere. Siro Cicconi, Zaim's chief executive said the business had proved resilient during the lockdown period and action on costs had bolstered its position. At the end of June 2020, Zaim said it had 32 stores compared to 92 in March, while its online operation was scaled up during the Russian lockdown period but demand has started to recover since restrictions in Moscow started to be lifted from May, especially online.
Strategic Minerals PLC (LON:SML) told investors it has now formally lodged its Program for Environment Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR) for the planned operations at the Leigh Creek mine, 500 kilometres north of Adelaide. The documentation was lodged with the South Australian government and it follows a prior draft submission. Strategic Minerals said that it feels confident that an approval will be forthcoming before the year-end, given the level of detail in the draft version and the encouragement it has received to date from the South Australian government.
Filta Group Holdings PLC (LON:FLTA), a provider of fryer management and other services to commercial kitchens, has announced the appointment of Brian Riordan as managing director of the company's UK division with effect from October 5, 2020. The group noted that Riordan brings over 25 years' experience of working across food services and facilities management, sales and marketing, retail and hotels. Most recently he was a divisional managing director at Aramark UK, a leading food and facilities services provider, and spent a number of years as an operations director at food service giant Compass Group.
Cadogan Petroleum PLC (LON:CAD) has confirmed a solid balance sheet and robust, cash-generative operations in Ukraine, despite a number of shut-ins and suspensions, in its interim results. The group ended June 2020, with US$11.6mln of cash, which it confirmed is sufficient to continue operations for the foreseeable future. Production for the six month period averaged 230 barrels of oil per day (bopd), down from 297 bopd in the comparative period last year due to the Blazhiv-3 and Blazhiv-Monastyrets-3 wells being offline for over five months.
[email protected] Capital PLC (LON:SYME) has updated the market on the status of its inventory funding as well as its relationship with institutional investors. The inventory monetisation specialist said, as planned, it has received offers, subject to contract, from a number of large, global institutional investors to provide funding, in the form of securitisation notes, to monetise more than €300mln of inventory. The company also said there has been strong demand from a number of investment funds which are individually requesting exclusivity for the securitisation notes issuance, and which are also remaining available for strategic support to the company for the next funding rounds.
Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) has raised £1.68mln of new capital via a share placing and said it has made progress on project financing for the Baita Plai mine. The company said it has sold 1.1bn new shares at a price of 0.15p each via the placing, arranged by broker Axis Capital Markets. It said the proceeds will be used for working capital. The funds will support the company amid a temporary pause in production due to transport infrastructure problems – a safety concern over a railway bridge between the mine and the flotation plant – which as, previously announced, has delayed first concentrate sales by three to four weeks.