The FTSE-100 finished yesterday's session 0.31% higher at 7,021.92, whilst the FTSE AIM All-Share index closed 0.39% better-off at 826.54. In continental Europe, the CAC 40 index ended the day 0.25% higher at 4,520 and the DAX closed 0.13% up at 10,646.
In New York yesterday evening, the Dow Jones gained 0.22% to stand at 18,202.62, the S&P-500 rose 0.22% to finish at 2,144.29 and the Nasdaq was up 0.05% at 5,246.41.
In Asian markets this morning, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.13% to 17,191.11, while the Hang Seng added 0.67% to stand at 23,460.89.
In early trade today, WTI crude was down 0.43% to $51.38/bbl and Brent was also down 0.27% at $52.53.
Travis Perkins says 600 jobs at risk amid branch closures
The UK's biggest builders merchant, Travis Perkins (TPK.L), is closing 30 branches, putting 600 jobs at risk. The company, which employs 28,000 people and has 2,060 stores, said it was taking the steps due to an "uncertain UK outlook" for next year. Profits will also be lower than expected this year due to weak sales in its plumbing and heating division. The firm is closing branches of Travis Perkins, Benchmarx, BSS and PTS, but not its DIY store Wickes.
Advanced Oncotherapy (LON:AVO, 115.0p) – Speculative Buy
Advanced Oncotherapy ('AVO'), the developer of a next generation proton therapy system for cancer treatment, announced that planning permission for its Harley Street site has now been granted by the Westminster City Council's Planning Committee. AVO's Executive Chairman and CEO, Dr. Michael Sinclair commented "The Harley Street Proton facility will make an important contribution to the advancement of next generation radiotherapy in the UK, and add even further lustre to the international reputation of the Howard de Walden Estate and the Harley Street Medical Area. Now that we are in a position to continue with the development, our partner, Howard de Walden Estates, plans to start work on the site as soon as possible. During the construction period every effort will be made to ensure minimal inconvenience to local residents."
Our view: The announcement placed AVO a step closer towards the development of UK's first Proton Therapy Centre using the LIGHT (Linac Image Guided Hadron Technology) system located in 141-143 Harley Street, London. Harley Street is the most prestigious medical address in the UK and recognised globally as a centre for medical excellence. The lease was agreed in January 2015 with Howard de Walden Estates who managed the planning application and bearing the total cost of the redevelopment cost of c.£7m. The c.11,800 sq ft property will comprise LIGHT system and 2 treatment rooms as well as other services required for a fully functional clinic. Back in October 2015, AVO has signed a joint venture agreement with Circle Health, owned by AIM-listed Circle Holdings Plc, to operate AVO's Harley Street Centre. Circle Health will take full responsibility for operational and clinical matters at the facility as well as the additional procurement, fit-out and facility testing requirements needed for full commissioning and beyond the testing required during the technical development of the system. Circle Health will also take responsibility for insurance provision for the Centre. Having confirmed in its interim report on 30 September 2016 that the technical development of the LIGHT system remains on track, management continues to confidently express its view that the product now presents little or no technical or commercial risk, while introducing a giant new market opportunity. Recent successful raise of £10m (before expenses) through share issuance and currently undergoing c.£4m Open Offer to existing shareholders, as well as potential implementation of a financing plan with banks and strategic partners will enables AVO to trigger £24m financing facility from Metric Capital Partners LLP for the installation of LIGHT machine in Harley Street. As has already been explained in numerous research documents, Beaufort's commercial scenario for LIGHT is that the cost, safety, operational and size advantages it brings to the world of proton therapy, will effectively render 'first generation' systems all but obsolete; its development will also have the potential to expand the international market for such systems from some US$2.5bn annually right now, to a figure potentially ten-times as large as LIGHT becomes the obvious successor to the similarly-priced but now relatively antiquated X-ray radiation systems that have a global installed base in excess of 20,000 units. In this respect, LIGHT uniquely faces a giant and accelerating global opportunity. Beaufort remains an enthusiastic supporter of Advanced Oncotherapy and repeats its Speculative Buy recommendation on the shares.
Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to Advanced Oncotherapy plc
Hummingbird Resources (LON:HUM, 24.25p) – Speculative Buy
Hummingbird Resources, the gold exploration and development company with assets in Mali and Liberia, announced today that the first concrete has been poured for foundations at its 2.2Moz Yanfolila gold project in Mali. IMARGI-SARL, a leading specialist of building, mining and industrial infrastructure in Mali, is responsible for the completion of plant civil works. Several material orders have also been placed with suppliers including crushing circuit equipment, agitators, carbon regeneration kiln and interstage screens. Management also notes that it's maintaining a good relationship with local communities by initiating a proactive Corporate Social Responsibility programme including on-going support to local teachers, nurses and market garden programmes. Hummingbird states that the project remains on schedule and within budget for first gold pour by the end of 2017.
Our view: Having secured the majority of project funding Hummingbird is now laying the ground work for full-scale construction at Yanfolila. The first concrete pour is a significant milestone for the company as it continues to target first gold pour by end of 2017 and 132,000oz of production within the first year of operation. We look forward to further developments as the construction process for Yanfolila proceeds. In the meantime, we maintain a Speculative Buy rating on the stock.
Beaufort Securities acts as corporate broker to Hummingbird Resources plc
Horizon Discovery (LON:HZD, 137.5p) - Speculative Buy
Horizon announced new bioproduction outlicense deal with a minimum value of £500,000, with an unnamed commercial partner. The novel licensing model allows early access over a 5 year period to bioproduction cell line innovations as well as for immediate use of Horizon's GS Null CHO K1 bioproduction cell line for drug manufacturing. Under the terms of the license, the Partner will gain immediate access to one of Horizon's cutting-edge engineered cell lines (CHO SOURCE GS Null cell line), for an indefinite period of time in order to manufacture their novel therapeutics. The Partner will also gain early access to Horizon's programme of continuous cell line innovation, enabling them to license, via the subscription, any follow-on cell lines developed as part of the program at a 50% discount within a 5-year period from signature. The minimum fee will be paid up front, with a significant amount to be recognised in FY2016. The license deal follows an evaluation period initiated in Q4 2015 and reflects the confidence of the Partner that Horizon will provide a number of additional cell lines over the next five years, leading to significant efficiency improvements in their biomanufacturing capability.
Our view: Horizon continues to be a disruptive influence in the bioproduction arena, using technical and commercial innovation to accelerate advancements in drug manufacturing. This new announcement further validates the Company's approach, with the Partner demonstrating their confidence by making a five-year commitment via subscription model to the program. Horizon first out-licensed the CHO SOURCE cell line in 2015 and several additional commercial licenses have been executed since, driven by the combination of top tier innovation and disruptive commercial licensing terms. Horizon's business model is focused on securing significant market share and then using continuous innovation to develop strong customer loyalty. We emphasise our Speculative Buy stance.