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FTSE 100 rises for fifth session a row, buoyed by miners

The FTSE 100 continued higher on Wednesday, extending the week's winning streak.
Minerals companies were to the fore
  • FTSE 100 gains 23 points

  • UK Construction PMI beats expectations

  • Housebuilding shares stay weak

  • Pound lifts off a 4 month low

The FTSE 100 rose for the fifth session in a row on Wednesday, helped by a recovery in metal prices.

The FTSE 100, chock-full as it is with mining companies, rose 23 to close at 7,543.

Steel giant Evraz plc (LON:EVR), up 5.2%, led the advance, followed closely by mining titans Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL) and Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN).


3:15pm: FTSE 100 heading for higher close, Apple boosts Nasdaq

The FTSE 100 looked set to finish higher for a third straight day, trading at 7,554 the benchmark was up 34 points or 0.46%.

New York’s Nasdaq was bucking the trend, thanks largely to Apple, whilst the Dow Jones and S&P 500 were both lower - down 0.19% and 0.26% respectively, at 24,052 and 2,646.

The Nasdaq was, nonetheless, up only a solitary point changing hands at 7,131.

Thanks to last night’s expectation beating results Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) started Wednesday around 4.25% higher to trade at US$176.28.

1:30pm: FTSE 100 stays stubbornly positive, all eyes on Wall Street and Fed

The FTSE 100 has remained stubbornly on the front foot, up 26 points or 0.35% at 7,546, supported by some better than expected economics, but, at the same time in Wall Street futures trading appears somewhat indifferent.

With just over an hour to go until the start of trading in New York the key indices were almost flat.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the market's eyes are on the dollar, US inflation and interest rates.

“Today’s main event risk for the dollar, and potential market shaker, will be the outcome of the Federal Reserve’s meeting, which is widely expected to conclude with monetary policy left unchanged,” said Lukman Otunuga, analyst at FXTM.

“Although May’s FOMC meeting will not include a press conference or fresh economic projections, investors should not be quick to expect the meeting to be a ‘non-event’.

“Much of the attention will be directed towards the policy statement, which could offer fresh insight into the central bank’s views on inflation and the US economy.”

Whilst the day’s main event will be the Federal Reserve policy meeting, in the meantime, there was news of better than expected employment numbers - with private payrolls showing an additional 204,000 jobs, ahead of analyst forecasts for 200,000.

It’s an apparently encouraging pre-cursor to Friday’s higher profile non-farm payroll statistics.

12:01pm: FTSE 100 modestly higher in calm market as investors wait for Fed

Markets are largely calm as investors look to the Federal Reserve which later today concludes its rate policy meeting.

The FTSE 100 was modestly higher, up 26 points or 0.38% at 7,546, meanwhile, early Wall Street indicators also point to a somewhat meek open.

In New York, Dow Jones futures were up 32 points to 24,103, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also higher.

“The Fed’s monetary policy is clearly driving the Dollar’s ascent, and while interest rates in America are likely to remain unchanged for now, the recent uptick in inflation may well trigger a more hawkish rhetoric from the US central bank,” said Miles Eakers, market analyst at Centtrip.

“In my opinion, the Fed will continue tightening monetary policy and  I expect there interest rate rises this year.”

11:45am: FTSE 100 stays positive, housebuilder fail to rise despite improved construction activity

The FTSE 100 continued to keep onto the morning’s early gains, changing hands at 7,547 the index was up 28 points 0.38%.

Improved construction statistics provided a boon to the pound and was welcome news after manufacturing stats flopped.

The better-than-expected building stat didn’t translate to better share prices for London’s housebuilders.

Barratt Developments Plc (LON:BDEV), Taylor Wimpey Plc (LON:TW. and Persimmon Plc (LON:PSN)  were all trading between 0.3% and 0.6% respectively, similarly Redrow plc (LON:RDW), Berkeley Group Holdings Plc (LON:BKG) and Bellway Plc (LON:BWY).

Howard Archer, EY chief economic advisor, in a note, highlighted that whilst the figures were positive, they still weren’t that impressive.

He said: “construction activity was still far from racing ahead in April and a stronger rebound could realistically have been hoped for given the extent of March’s weakness.

“Consequently, the April purchasing managers’ survey did little to dilute underlying concerns over the softness of the construction sector.”

10:00am: FTSE 100 holds early gains, UK construction gives pound a boost

The FTSE 100 has held the morning’s early gains. Changing hands at 7,563 the benchmark was up 43 points or 0.58%.

The British economy got a welcome boost on Wednesday, with construction activity seen stronger in April.

The UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index was marked at 52.5 for the month, reflecting a sharp step up from the 20 month low of 47 points in March. Notably, the residential (i.e. housebuilding) sector was the best performing, growing the most in just over a year.

“We’ve not seen back-to-back monthly contractions in this indicator since July and August in 2016 - the 2 months following the Brexit vote - but there were concerns ahead of today’s release with a consensus forecast of 50.5 after a prior reading of 47.0,” said David Cheetham, analyst at broker XTB.

Coming so soon after manufacturing marked a seventeen month low, economist will be glad to have some positive news.

It helped the pound lift off what was its lowest level for four months. At US$1.3644, sterling the pound was up 0.22%.

8:45am: FTSE 100 starts on front-foot; TSB's Pester to be grilled on IT 'clusterfudge' 

Sterling may have stabilised, but its recent pounding continued to have a beneficial effect on the FTSE 100 where the dollar earners received a boost.

The index of blue-chip shares opened 41 points higher at 7,561.35, with the miners very much in demand.

The pack was led by Glencore (LON:GLEN), up 2.6%, followed by BHP Billiton (LON:BLT), Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Anglo American (LON:AAL).

Currency factors aside, the mood in the sector was optimistic ahead of trade talks between the US and China.

Eyes will be on Westminster from 2.30pm onwards as TSB chief Paul Pester and his chairman Richard Meddings receive a grilling on the IT ‘clusterfudge’ that hit millions of the bank’s customers.

Returning to the markets, bookie PaddyPower Betfair’s (LON:PPB) shares took a 6.4% bashing following the release of first-quarter figures.

Revenue and profits were hit by widespread fixture cancellations caused by the Beast from the East snow storms.

Investors were similarly unimpressed by the performance in the first three months of 2018 of Direct Line (LON:DLG), the car insurer, where gross written premiums fell 5%. The stock followed suit, losing 3.8%.

Ocoda (LON:OCDO) was in demand after it revealed more details of its international tie-up with Swedish grocer ICA. The stock nudged 5% higher.

Proactive news headlines:

Savannah Resources Plc (LON:SAV) has announced another significant increase in the mineral resource estimate at the Mina do Barroso lithium project in northern Portugal. In a statement, the AIM-listed resource development company reported a 52% increase in the JORC 2012-Compliant Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate for Mina do Barroso, which now stands at 14 metric tonnes (Mt) at 1.1% of lithium dioxide (Li₂O).

VR Education Holdings Plc (LON:VRE) said its award-winning Apollo 11 virtual reality (VR) educational experience has been selected to be part of the launch collection for Oculus Go, a new standalone VR headset from US company Oculus.

Jubilee Metals Group PLC (LON:JLP) has executed the shareholders' and operating agreement with BMR Group PLC (LON:BMR) for the Kabwe project in Zambia. The two companies had the licence for the project reinstated earlier in the month, with Jubilee to be the operator and developer.

Tissue Regenix Group PLC (LON:TRX) is building on the momentum it is gaining in the US by inking a new agreement with a leading healthcare improvement company. The three-year implantable products contract ensures the company’s flagship product DermaPure, a breakthrough wound treatment technology, maintains access to 3,900 American hospitals and over 150,000 healthcare providers.

PhotonStar LED Group PLC (LON:PSL) has released a new version of its halcyon cloudBMS product as it announced a proposed placing to raise additional working capital. The AIM-listed lighting and building control designer said the latest version of halcyon cloudBMS, Halcyon V2, is characterised by its low cost, retrofit-able wireless monitoring and control platform, halcyonPRO2.

NetScientific PLC (LON:NSCI) said its portfolio company, ProAxsis, will present data on its NEATstik test to the American Thoracic Society (ATS) conference in San Diego.

ClearStar Inc (LON:CLSU) has signed a tie-up with fellow SAP partner Veritas Prime to widen access to its staff vetting software. Veritas Prime supplies services and support to users of SAP’s HR software SuccessFactors and through the partnership will offer its clients ClearStar's mobile background screening solutions.

Plastics Capital Plc (LON:PLA) saw ‘exceptionally strong’ sales over the year just ended even though growth moderated at the end of the year. Films (food wrapping and the like) did particularly well with a record year for Flexipol, a recovery at Palagan and good performance from Synpac.

Empresaria Group plc (LON:EMR) has announced that Spencer Wreford, the international specialist staffing group’s chief operating officer, is stepping up to the role of chief executive officer, replacing current incumbent Joost Kreulen who is to retire. Wreford joined Empresaria’s board in 2010, initially as group finance director, before taking the role of chief operating officer in 2017.

Berkeley Energia Limited (LON:BKY), owner of the Salamanca Uranium Project, has announced its intention to list the business in Spain as well as moving from AIM to the main board in London. The change, according to managing director Paul Atherley, will allow the company to build support amongst European institutional investors whilst it is advancing activities on-site towards production.

Rose Petroleum PLC (LON:ROSE) has raised £1mln of new capital to support its plans in Utah’s Paradox basin. Some £633,920 of the raise is conditional upon shareholder approval, at an general meeting that will now be convened on May 21.

Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR) has told investors that technical director Dr John O’Sullivan will present a paper regarding Frontier Exploration Licence (FEL) 3/04, in the Atlantic margin, off Ireland’s west coast. FEL 3/04 includes the undrilled Lower Cretaceous "Dunquin South" carbonate exploration prospect, and is adjacent to the area which hosted the previously drilled Dunquin North well.

Highlands Natural Resources Plc (LON:HNR) told investors it has kicked off operations for the fourth well at the East Denver Niobrara shale oil and gas project. The company, in a statement, said it is sequentially drilling out the surface casing on the six new wells that are being funded by True Oil, though the actual lateral drilling work will begin once the initial sequence of work is complete.

IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) told investors it has landed four exploration licences in Côte d'Ivoire. The four licences - Marahui, Vavoua South, Vavoua North and Adzope - are allocated within the group’s gold and lithium portfolios. They form parts of the Kineta and Vavoua gold projects, and the Adzope lithium area.

Amur Minerals Corporation (LON:AMC) said its cost estimates for nickel at its planned Kun-Manie nickel copper sulphide project are below nickel industry averages. The AIM-listed miner said based on the previously reported mining potential of 73mln ore tonnes at Kun-Manie, around 6mln tonnes per annum over 12 years and 2 months of production, the Life Of Mine (LOM) C1 cost per pound of nickel is projected to range from US$2.61 to US$2.77.

Alba Minerals Resources PLC (LON:ALBA) has identified four targets at its Inglefield Land licence in Greenland. A review of historical sampling data highlighted anomalous grades of gold, copper, zinc and cobalt in samples from the four areas.

Solo Oil PLC (LON:SOLO), the natural resources investment company focused on acquiring and developing a diverse global non-operated portfolio of strategic oil and gas assets, has announced the appointment of Jon Fitzpatrick as a non-executive director. The group said Fitzpatrick is a qualified corporate lawyer and petroleum economist and has worked for over 20 years in the investment banking and energy sectors.

Liberum Capital has upgraded its rating for Primary Health Properties PLC (LON:PHP) following a recent fund-raising which it believes places the recent FTSE 250 promoted group in a strong position to be a consolidator in the UK health property market. The City broker has upped its stance on PHP to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ given upside to its unchanged 120p target price and the benefits of the placing.

6.45am: FTSE 100 expected to be in good form 

London’s FTSE 100 is expected to start Wednesday’s session in positive form, albeit not by any remarkable margin.

It is a continuation of the trading pattern seen so far this week. Trading features have, for the most part, relied on the movements of currencies as much as anything. Of course, stock-by-stock will always still play a part.

Overnight, attentions were on Apple and its expectations beating results.

The iPhone maker’s quarterly earnings report saw profit and revenue ahead of the market’s cautious forecasts.

“Fears about a slowdown in hand set sales due to slower chip sales from suppliers proved to be unfounded though it was notable that the average selling price for the number of handsets sold was below expectations at $728, suggesting that demand for the iPhone X wasn’t as strong as it could have been, with customers opting for cheaper models,” said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

“More importantly sales in the services division also improved with revenue of $9.2bn from Apple Music, the App Store and Apple Pay services.”

In New York, the Nasdaq rose 0.9% to 7,130 in anticipation of the Apple results (which are released the West coast timezone), but, the Dow Jones marked a negative close - down 64 points or 0.27% to 24,099.

The S&P 500, meanwhile, finished Tuesday’s session 0.25% higher at 2,654.

The US Federal Reserve began the first day of a two day policy meeting, and that is likely to be bigger feature for markets today.

In Asia, equity benchmarks were mostly negative. Japan’s Nikkei was down 51 points or 0.23% at 22,457, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 200 points or 0.65% at 30,608. The Shanghai Composite, meanwhile, moved 0.34% lower to 3,071.

Australia’s ASX 200 was trading in positive territory, up 35 points or 0.59% at 6,050.

In London, IG Markets sees the FTSE 100 starting Wednesday on the front foot.

The CFD and spreadbetting group predicts a gain of around 24 points to start, calling the index at 7,543 to 7,547 with just over an hour to go before the open.

Corporate earnings will be high on Wednesday’s agenda – with Next, Standard Chartered and Indivior among the names in the schedule.

Significant events expected on Wednesday May 2:

US interest rate decision

Trading updates: Next Plc (LON:NXT), Standard Chartered PLC (Q1) (LON:STAN), Paddy Power Betfair plc (LON:PPB), Direct Line Insurance Group PLC (LON:DLG), ConvaTec Group PLC (LON:CTEC), Accsys Technologies PLC (LON:AXS), Howden Joinery Group PLC (LON:HWDN), IWG PLC (LON:IWG), PPHE Hotel Group PLC (LON:PPH)

Interims: Avon Rubber PLC (LON:AVON), Indivior PLC (Q1) (LON:INDV), Inmarsat Plc (Q1) (LON:ISAT), Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE)

Economic data: UK construction PMI; EU Q1 GDP; US ADP employment report

Around the markets:

Sterling: US$1.3606, down 0.06%

Gold: US$1,309 an ounce, up 0.43%

Brent crude: US$73.20 per barrel, down 2%

Bitcoin: US$9,061, down 0.06%


Apple Allays iPhone Worries, Adds $100 Billion to Buyback Plans - Wall Street Journal

EDF plan for tallest UK onshore wind turbines prompts outcry - The Guardian

TSB bosses set for showdown with MPs - BBC News

Uber's licence renewal in Brighton turned down - Sky News

Snap's Slowdown Stirs Doubt on Redesign, Triggering Share Plunge – Bloomberg

Xerox CEO is out and Fujifilm deal is in doubt in win for Carl Icahn – CNNMoney

Tesla sued for more than $2bn, accused of copying design of Nikola hydrogen trucks – MarketWatch

Jeff Bezos dreams of a world with a trillion people living in space – CNBC

United to Allow Dogs and Cats Back Into Cargo Holds - Wall Street Journal

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