The FTSE-100 finished yesterday's session 0.57% lower at 7,490.39, whilst the FTSE AIM All-Share index was down 0.03% at 1,068.70. In continental Europe, the CAC-40 finished 0.50% lower at 5,454.55 whilst the DAX was down 1.41% at 13,003.90.
Last night in New York, the Dow ended 37.32 points higher at 26,186.71, while the S&P 500 eased by 1.83 points to close at 2,821.98 and NASDAQ finished the session 25.62 points weaker at 7,385.86.
In Asian markets this morning,the Nikkei 225 was 191.42 points lower at 23,294.69 heading into the close.The Hang Seng was up 19.97 points at 32,662.06 but the Shanghai Composite was 14.92 points lower at 3,432.06.
In early trade today, WTI crude was 0.47% higher at $66.11 per barrel and Brent was up by 0.29% at $69.85 per barrel.
Apple sells fewer phones but profits rise
Apple sold slightly fewer iPhones in the final three months of 2017 than it did the year before, but higher prices compensated for the dip. The firm reported a record $20bn (£14bn) in quarterly profits, driven by strong growth in Japan and Europe. The results were the first official glimpse of sales figures for Apple's expensive iPhone X. Chief executive Tim Cook said demand for the product, which starts at about $1,000, had surpassed expectations. Quarterly sales at the firm climbed by 13% year-on-year to a record $88.3bn. After an initial fall, Apple shares climbed more than 3% in after-hours trade. Apple released the iPhone X in November, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the device and while the overall number of iPhones sold in the period slipped by 1% year-on-year to 77.3 million, the iPhone X had been the top-selling Apple handset every week since its launch, Mr Cook said. However the tech giant also issued a weaker-than-expected sales forecast for coming months, which appears to reinforce investor concerns that demand for Apple products may be dimming.
Source: BBC News
Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) 5.75p – Speculative Buy
Just after the market opened yesterday, Stellar announced a possible offer, where subject to various things including financing, Stellar shareholders will receive shares in an ASX listed company called Newfield Resources, equivalent to a Stellar share price of 9.8p. A 325% premium to Stellar’s share price on Wednesday. Although there is no guarantee of completion, we believe it is likely. Newfield is first raising $10m (7 of which is done), followed by $30m via a rights issue to fund construction. Until the $30m is raised and the transaction completes, Newfield will loan (unsecured) Stellar $3m to fund FEED and license fees. Note that Newfield has a supportive and well-funded shareholder base which is vital given the $40m funding required. We think it is highly unlikely Newfield will pull out of the transaction given that the FEED and licenses it is funding will add value to the project. This whole process will also highlight the Tongo-Tonguma license and its value to potential competing bidders.
Our View: Depending on when Stellar shareholders invested, this is either a great result or just a result. Certainly in current circumstances where there is a shortage of mining project finance for diamonds, we see this as a good result. All being well, Stellar shareholders will own a share in a fully funded mine. The shares closed yesterday at 5.75p and given our belief the transaction will complete, we recommend holding for now.
Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to Stellar Diamonds PLC
Premier African Minerals (LON:PREM) 0.22p – Speculative Buy
Premier African Minerals, the South and Western Africa focused mineral explorer and developer, announced today further assay results from its Zulu lithium project in Zimbabwe. Drill hole ZDD-48 intersected several pegmatite zones including: 3.8m grading 1.70% Li2O, 5.55m grading 1.13% Li2O and 10.35m grading 1.04% Li2O. The cumulative width for ZDD-48 was 26.96m with an average grade of 1.17% Li2O. Drill hole ZDD-47 also intersected several pegmatites returning 6.29m grading 1.14% Li2O and 2.94m grading 1.02% Li2O. The cumulative width for ZDD-047 was 17.16m with an average grade of 1.04% Li2O.Both holes are located 250m east of the main zone which has a current resource estimate of 20.1Mt grading 1.06%Li2O.
Our view: The above assay results are encouraging and we note that both drill holes are step-out holes intersecting multiple spodumene-rich pegmatites. We look forward to the next round of drilling which should define and delineate the wide intersections and spodumene mineralisation. In the meantime, we maintain a Speculative Buy rating on the stock.
Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to Premier African Minerals Limited