leadf
logo-loader

FTSE 100 closes higher as investors shun defensive plays; US traders eye stimulus talks

Vaccine optimism and possibly a sprinkling of Christmas cheer seem to be informing traders in global markets

FTSE 100 to start December on the front boot
  • FTSE 100 index gains 126 points
  • Polymetal rises after buying into a joint venture
  • Wall Street jumps on renewed, if tepid, stimulus optimism

5pm: FTSE, Dow Jones enjoy strong days

The FTSE 100 ended Tuesday up 126 points, 2%, at 6,392.5, and the FTSE 250 closed up 524 points, 2.7%, at 19,844.8.

"Today’s positive move in the FTSE 100 is largely a complete reversal of yesterday’s negative move," CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote Tuesday. "...Hopes continues to circulate in regards to vaccines being developed for Covid-19. The OECD now predicts that global GDP will contract by 4.2% this year, which is an improvement on the previous forecast of -4.5%. At the same time, it lowered its 2021 forecast to 4.2% from 5%."

Hospitality, travel and property stocks are improving as traders are beginning to see a future on the other side of the coronavirus. 

"In terms of index points, HSBC, Lloyds, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto, and BHP Billiton have contributed the most to the equity benchmark, and they were some of yesterday’s largest fallers," Madden noted.

In the US, the Dow gained 236 points, 0.8%, to 29,875.3 at roughly noon ET. The Nasdaq Composite grew 147 points, 1.2%, to 12,344.2, and the S&P 500 climbed 43 points, 1.2%, to 3,664.9 — both hitting intraday trading highs. 

"Bullish sentiment is doing the rounds in the US on the back of optimism for coronavirus drugs and hopes of a stimulus package," Madden wrote. "A bipartisan $900 billion relief package bill has been put forward but is it unlikely to get much support as too many discrepancies exist. The fact that some numbers are being bandied about is a good sign. It was reported that Nancy Pelosi of the Democrats and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, will hold stimulus package talks tomorrow." 

3.35pm: Proactive North America headlines:

Canntab Therapeutics Limited (CSE:PILL) (OTCQB:CTABF) (FRA:TBF1.F) completes first delivery of five SKUs ordered by MediPharm Labs Corp

NexTech AR Solutions Corp (OTCQB:NEXCF) (CSE:NTAR) (FRA:N29) grows Asia Pacific presence with seven new augmented reality partnerships

WeedMD Inc (CVE:WMD) (OTCQX:WDDMF) (FRA:4WE) sees higher 3Q revenue as cultivation costs decline

Avalon GloboCare Corp (NASDAQ:AVCO) featured in article running in Nature’s Biopharma Dealmaker December edition

GlobeX Data Ltd (OTCQB:SWISF) (CSE:SWIS) launches new feature to allow subscribers to move their email accounts to its Swiss-hosted SekurMail platform

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (OTCMKTS:LXRP) (CSE:LXX) encouraged by study results using its DehydraTECH platform to deliver antiviral drugs

Zinc8 Energy Solutions Inc's (CSE:ZAIR) (OTCMKTS:MGXRF) (FRA:0E9technology selected to join prestigious accelerator program; appoints new CFO

Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ:VUZI) (FRA:V7XN) M400 Smart Glasses allow PGE Group to carry out faster maintenance at windfarms

Ceylon Graphite Corp (CVE:CYL) (OTCMKTS:CYLUF) (FRA:CCY) resumes production at K1 mine in Sri Lanka as cornavirus restrictions are eased

Thunderbird Entertainment Group Inc (CVE:TBRD) (OTCQX:THBRF) (FRA:32GA) delivers strong fiscal 1Q results reflecting demand for its production content

3.10pm: Defensives get the elbow

On a day when the Footsie has powered its way towards 6,400 it is noticeable that many of the laggards are defensive plays.

The FTSE 100 was up 116 points (1.9%) at 6,382, no thanks to utility Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) or household goods makers Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) and Reckitt Benckiser PLC (LON:RB.) - stocks that normally do better on “risk off” days.Severn Trent was off 1.7% at 2,349p, while Unilever and Reckitt were both down 0.9%, the former to 4,528p and the latter to 6,522p.

Among the risers, Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLY), up 6.6% at 1,664.5p, caught the eye after its investment of US$500,000 to gain a 35% stake in joint venture with a junior holding an exploration licence for the Pekinskaya area on the Taimyr Peninsula or Russia. The move expands Polymetal’s presence in the Taimyr area.

Now that Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LON:LLOY) has announced who its new chief executive officer will be, its current boss, António Horta-Osório has indicated he will leave Lloyds at the end of April of next year.

He is hoping to become the chairman of Credit Suisse, which will bring comfort to those who wondered whether the Portuguese businessman could cope with unemployment after trousering £56.4mln in his time at Lloyds, overseeing a share price decline.

Shares in Lloyds were up 5.3% at 37.52p.

2.49pm: Wall Street rises

The main indices on Wall Street started December on a positive note as traders appeared to be in a festive mood at the opening bell on Tuesday.

In the early minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1% at 29,947 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.94% to 3,655 and the Nasdaq rose 0.61% to 12,273.

Optimism around vaccine developments appears to be overshadowing the bleak picture in the US for coronavirus cases, which are currently running at around 12.6mln cases and 268,000 deaths.

Early winners of the session included computer data specialist Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU), which rose 3.7% to US$66.44 after the company increased its profit and revenue outlook for its first quarter.

Also on the rise was Blackberry Ltd (NYSE:BB), which soared 32.5% to US$8.16 after unveiling a multi-year development agreement with Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) web services arm.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 was continuing to advance and was up 122 points at 6,388 shortly after 2.45pm.

2.00pm: Miners and air-related stocks lead the advance

London’s blue-chips had a sparkling morning, inspired by vaccine news and Chinese manufacturing data, but have rested on their laurels in the afternoon.

The FTSE 100 was up 109 points (1.7%) at 6,375, with mining stocks going well after China’s Caixin manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) jumped to 54.9 in November, from 53.6 in October; the consensus forecast was for a reading of 53.5.

The gain represented the fastest rate of expansion in 10 years.

“Overall, an upside surprise was more likely than not, following yesterday’s stronger-than-expected official manufacturing PMI for November. Chinese factories don’t look to be deterred—yet—by the increased Covid-19 headwinds in developed markets, with the new export orders sub-index rising and remaining in the black for a fourth consecutive month,” said Miguel Chanco, the senior Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Admittedly, the headline was flattered by a lengthening of suppliers’ delivery times. Unlike in the early part of the year, though, this looks to have been the result of excess demand, rather than supply issues caused by virus disruptions,” he added.

Fresnillo PLC (LON:FRES) and Polymetal International PLC (LON:POLY), up 5.4% at 1,109.5p and 4.7% at 1,635p respectively, were the stand-outs in the mining sector.

As for stocks benefiting from yesterday’s news that Moderna Inc has applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation for its COVID-19 vaccine, it is the usual suspects.

Melrose Industries PLC (LON:MRO), which owns aerospace engineer GKN, was the top blue-chip performer with a 6.7% rise to 163.7p while British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (LON:IAG) was also flying high, up 6.0% at 163.5p, on hopes that air travel will rebound next year.

12.30pm: December to get off to a flying start in the US as well

As Dinah Washington sang, what a difference a day makes! Yesterday, US indices fell as traders banked November’s handsome profits but now we’re in December …

November’s gains were fired by hopes that a vaccine to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) and December’s expected flying start for US indices is being attributed to the same cause.

Spread betting quotes suggest the Dow Jones industrial average will open 318 points higher at 29,957; the S&P 500 is expected to jump 38 points to 3,660 and the NASDAQ Composite is tipped to advance 185 points to 12,384.

Zoom Video Communications, arguably one of the hottest stocks of 2020, was on the rise in pre-market trading after posting third-quarter numbers after the bell yesterday.

“On an annualised basis, revenue surged by 367% to US$777.2 million, topping the US$694 million consensus estimate. Keep in mind, in the previous quarter the company saw revenue growth of 355% and that highlights that growth momentum is strong. EPS was 99 cents, easily topping the 76 cents consensus estimate,” reported CMC’s David Madden.

“Some people are speculating that if a vaccine is approved in the near term, it could take the shine off Zoom but in reality, it will probably take a long time for the drug to be mass-produced and rolled out. Therefore we are unlikely to see a return to pre-pandemic life anytime soon so that should keep Zoom’s demand elevated,” Madden suggested.

On the US macroeconomic side of things, most interest today will centre on the ISM manufacturing index for November.

“While the factory sector has recovered strongly in recent months, we suspect that last month’s ISM survey somewhat overstated the vigour. So mimicking the pull-back in yesterday’s Chicago PMI, we expect the headline index to decline 2.3pts to a still very respectable 57.0. The construction spending report for October and auto sales figures for November will also be of some interest. Meanwhile, Fed Chair Powell will testify on the CARES Act before the Senate Banking Committee,” said Daiwa Capital Markets.

In London, the FTSE 100 was up 120 points (1.9%) at 6,386.

11.00am: December off to a flying start

The release of a manufacturing survey that shows British manufacturing pulling out all of the stops ahead of Brexit has given further impetus to equities.

The FTSE 100 was up 119 points (1.9%) at 6,385, starting December with a bang after November was one of the best months for the stock market in decades.

The manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 35-month high of 55.6 in November (revised up from the ‘flash’ reading of 55.2), up from 53.7 in October.

“The latest purchasing managers survey points to the manufacturing sector showing considerable resilience in November amid the lockdown in England and restrictions on activity elsewhere,” said Howard Archer, the chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.

“The Government has stressed that it wants manufacturers to stay open during the lockdown and many factories have been adjusted to meet social distancing requirements so employees can still work.

“It is also evident that there was an appreciable lift to manufacturing activity in November coming from the stockpiling of critical inputs and increased demand from the EU ahead of the ending of the UK-EU transition arrangement on 31 December,” Archer said.

“Output growth picked up in November and was at a healthy level with the index at 56.3. Markit indicated that the upturn in production volumes was linked to companies reopening following COVID-19 closures earlier in the year and improving demand.

“Output growth in November was led by the intermediate and investment goods sectors; however, consumer goods production and new orders were reported to have fallen for a second month. This contrasted with the consumer sector leading the UK economy’s bounce back in the third quarter and fuels suspicions that the lockdown and other restrictions, along with increased caution, will hold back consumer spending,” Archer reported.

Earlier, the Nationwide house price index rose 0.9% in November from October. The year-on-year increased quickened to 6.5% from October’s 5.8%.

“Nationwide’s data indicate that the average house price has jumped by £13.3K, or 6.2% since June, just before the Chancellor increased the threshold for stamp duty to £500K, from £125K. The tax saving on the average house purchase is only £2.1K, so buyers currently are materially worse off than those in the first half of this year,” observed Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“What’s more, new quoted mortgage rates have jumped; the rate for a rock-solid five-year 75% LTV [loan-to-value] mortgage was 33bp [basis points – 100 bps = one percentage point] higher in October than in June. As a result, monthly mortgage repayments are much higher for current buyers than those before the pandemic,” he added.

“A relatively narrow cohort of well-off households, who already own their homes with little debt, seem to be driving the market with the savings that they have realised this year from working from home. We can tell this because the effective interest rate on all new mortgages has held steady since June, despite the sharp rise in quoted rates for high LTV loans, pointing to a decline in the leverage of the average home-buyer,” Tombs declared.

“House prices remain vulnerable to fall next year, when the trend towards working from home will be going into reverse, stamp duty will be higher, and mortgage rates still will be above their pre-Covid level, due to the weakened labour market. We think it will take further government interventions—either extending the stamp duty holiday, or establishing a new mortgage guarantee scheme—to prevent house prices from giving back some of 2020’s gains next year,” he warned.

Tombs’s warnings had little effect on Berkeley Group Holdings PLC (LON:BKG), which led the housebuilding sector higher with a 3.9% rise to 4,806p.

Market Report: FTSE kicks December off on the front boot as Moderna seeks emergency approval - YouTube https://www.youtube.com

9.50am: Manufacturers operating at full pelt in November

The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a 35-month high of 55.6 in November, up from 53.7 in October.

The PMI has now signalled expansion (i.e. been above the 50.0 level) for six successive months.

The upturn in production volumes was linked to companies reopening following COVID-19 closures earlier in the year and improving demand.

“Growth of the UK manufacturing sector picked up in November, temporarily boosted by 'Brexit-buying' among clients and the ongoing boost from economies re-opening following lockdowns earlier in the year,” said Rob Dobson, a director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

“The effects were strongest felt among firms supplying inputs to other companies as warehouses were restocked, and among producers of investment goods such as machinery and equipment. The weak point was the consumer goods industry, which saw lower output and new order intakes amid depressed household sentiment caused by mounting job losses and the UK re-entering lockdown.

“Whether the upturn of manufacturing production can be sustained into the new year is therefore highly uncertain, especially once the temporary boosts from Brexit purchasing and stock building wane. On this front, some reassurance is provided by the survey's gauge of business optimism. Confidence has risen to a level not seen since late-2014, with over three-fifths of manufacturers (61%) still expecting to raise output over the coming year. On the other hand, many manufacturers remain very concerned about the outlook and generally reluctant to expand capacity, hence employment fell for the tenth month in a row,” he added.

Manufacturing PMI for November

Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) said manufacturing companies were running at full pelt in November.

“Companies in the UK, Europe and the US were buying at speed to meet the Brexit deadline, whilst covid-related supply chain disruption and increased safety measures for returning staff continued. As a result, an extended list of shortages started to appear along with the highest cost inflation for two years and disappointing delivery times last seen when the pandemic first hit,” said Brock.

“Though the Brexit bounce continued for some, reluctant spending amongst shoppers meant that the consumer goods sector fell behind and the level of orders and production dropped. The impact of redundancies in the UK has affected consumer confidence though manufacturing positivity for the year ahead was the highest since September 2014,” he added.

The data has added some extra va-va-voom to the FTSE 100, which is up 108 points (1.7%) at 6,374.

8.50am: Optimism returns for Advent

The FTSE 100 made a better-than-expected start to proceedings on Tuesday, the first day of Advent – recouping roughly half the losses it endured on Monday.

The index of UK blue-chips started December 49 points in the green at 6,315.13.

Vaccine hopes seemed to be driving sentiment once again with Moderna preparing to file for US and European approval of its coronavirus (COVID-19) jab.

The performance of coronavirus bounce-back stocks such as IAG (LON:IAG), up 4.3%, and Mitchells & Butlers, ahead 4.3%, served to underline this point.

In Westminster, Boris Johnson looks set to receive parliamentary backing for his tier system that will replace the current UK lockdown restrictions. Labour’s abstention from the vote effectively heads off a commons revolt by backbench Tories.

Elsewhere, knife-edge Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels continue to simmer in the background with little indication that a consensus has been found.

The rise in house prices at their fastest pace in six years put a pep in the step of London’s quoted builders with Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW.), up 1.7%, leading the pack.

easyJet (LON:EZJ) rose 3.4% after a Goldman Sachs upgrade to ‘neutral’ from ‘sell’, while fellow budget airline Wizz Air (LON:WIZZ) lost 1.3% of altitude after the Wall Street bank turned seller of its stock.

Aero-engineers Melrose Industries (LON:MRO) and Rolls Royce (LON:RR.), whose fortunes are tied to the travel sector, rose 4.1% and 1.9% respectively.

Proactive news headlines:

Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has laid out the plans for its assets in Trinidad and Suriname, targeting a ramp-up that envisages US$35mln of revenue per year by the end of 2021. Driven by a campaign comprising up to 17 new wells the company aims to take production up to at least 2,500 barrels of oil per day (bopd), versus a 2020 goal rate of 500 bopd. Additionally, subject to permitting and rig availability, the company noted that it could further accelerate production growth with an expanded programme of 11 extra wells.

Deltic Energy PLC (LON:DELT) has confirmed the formal award of six licences in the North Sea. The awards come in the UK’s 32nd offshore licensing round and were initially announced in September. Each new licence takes effect from today, Deltic noted.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) said its portfolio company, Cambridge Raman Imaging Limited, has become part of CRIMSON, a €5mln pan-European project to develop bio-photonic cell and tissue imaging technology to understand the cellular origins of diseases in greater depth. The AIM-listed investment firm said Cambridge Raman, in which it owns a 25.8% stake, is part of a consortium of 10 organisations involved in the project, which is led by the Polytechnical University of Milan. Cambridge Raman will have a project budget of €468,312 and its role will be to commercialise the technology for use in a microscope.

Brickability Group Plc (LON:BRCK) has acquired West Midlands group Bathroom Barn for £645,000 – a deal that is expected to be immediately earnings accretive for the construction materials distributor. A supplier of radiator valves, elements and traditional valves to distributors and retailers, the new business will be integrated into the group's Towelrads operation. "Bathroom Barn is a perfect partner for our highly successful Towelrads business and adds significantly to our product offering in this area,” said Brickability chief executive, Alan Simpson in a statement.

Westmount Energy Limited (LON:WTE) will become the first exploration and production company to be quoted on both AIM and the OTCQB Market after listing its shares in New York. Trading under the ticker WMELF, it is using the OTC as an international stage for its investments in the fast-emerging Guyana-Suriname Basin. “We are mindful of the substantial Guyanese diaspora living in the United States, and we are hopeful that this cross-trading facility provides an additional opportunity for exposure to exploration drilling outcomes in this prolific basin and the emerging Guyanese exploration success story," said Westmount chairman Gerard Walsh in a statement.

Scotgold Resources Ltd (LON:SGZ) has poured its first gold from the Cononish mine in Scotland. The company is now focused on completing an accelerated expansion plan to increase production at the mine to 23,500 ounces per year. The current phase of production is targeting an annual rate of ore production of 36,000 tonnes and total gold production of 9,910 ounces for 2021. 

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) said cash collection in the first half of its financial year had been better than expected, considering the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impact. Adjusted for contractual rent deferrals, Custodian said 88% of rent due was collected in the six months to the end of September 2020. The cash collection rate allowed a 2p interim dividend to be announced at the end of October, which is one-third above the minimum level of 1.5p announced by the real estate investment trust (REIT) in April 2020 before the full impact of the national lockdown could be ascertained.

DeepVerge PLC (LON:DVRG), the scientific research and artificial intelligence specialist, has reiterated guidance for revenues of £4mln in 2020. In a brief update, the group pointed out that the figure excludes the contribution from Modern Water, which was acquired on November 9. With Modern Water’s revenues included, the top line is expected to rise well above £4mln.

Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP), the power project developer, has decided not to pull the trigger on the development of an iron ore asset in Guinea. Oracle said its partner, The Office of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, was on board with the decision; the sheikh's private office holds the exploration licence for the iron ore asset. The two parties will now jointly focus on additional opportunities within the natural resources sector in Africa.

Karelian Diamond Resources PLC (LON:KDR) turned in a loss of €447,000 for the year ended May 2020. During the period the company was granted additional reservations, adjacent to already held and known kimberlite bodies in Finland. A formal right of way was also granted giving vehicular access to the Lahtojoki diamond deposit and surrounding areas.

Conroy Gold and Natural Resources PLC (LON:CGNR) posted a loss of €677,000 for the year to May 31, 2020. During the period the company continued with development work on its extensive gold exploration ground in Ireland, and, after the period end, it signed a joint venture heads of terms agreement with Anglo Asian Mining (LOM:AAZ). “Work continued throughout the year on the 65-kilometre district-scale gold trend which the company has discovered,” said chairman Professor Richard Conroy in the group's final results statement released after the London market close on Monday.

OPG Power Ventures PLC (LON:OPG) boosted profit before tax from continuing operations by 32% to £12.8mln in the six months ended September 30, 2020. Diluted earnings per share increased by 48.2% to 2.92p, although power generation at the group's Chennai plant fell, in line with a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). "I am proud to say that OPG is coming out from the COVID-19 pandemic as a stronger and more resilient company,” said chairman Arvid Gupta in the results statement.

San Leon Energy PLC (LON:SLE) has said it is closer to seeing the monetisation of its historic investments in the Barryroe project, offshore Ireland, as Providence Resources PLC (LON:PVR) and Lansdowne Oil & Gas PLC (LON:LOGP) sealed a farm-out transaction. The new farm-out deal with Norway’s SpotOn Energy - which is, in turn, teamed up with service providers Schlumberger, Aker Solutions, AGR, Maersk Drilling, Keppel FELS, Aibel – sets the project up for development. It comes after a prior transaction with a Chinese investor failed to close. SpotOn will own 50% of the Barryroe field whilst Providence and Lansdowne hold 40% and 10% respectively. San Leon, meanwhile, retains a 4.5% net profit interest over Barryroe.

Honye Financial Services Limited (LON:HOYE), a London-listed special acquisition company (SPAC), said it is optimistic it will find a fintech investment opportunity but is being cautious due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit. “The company has been actively searching for and analysing potential acquisitions but has not, so far, found one which satisfies our criteria. Honye will continue to explore other possibilities and as news of our area of focus has become more widely known, potential opportunities are being brought to the company's attention,” it said alongside its annual results for the year to end July 2020. The loss for the year was £427,385, which reflected day-to-day administrative expenses and due diligence into prospective targets.

EQTEC PLC (LON:EQT) said it has appointed Jeff Vander Linden to its board as chief operating officer and strategy & operations director with immediate effect. The gasification technology company said the newly defined role will see Vander Linden focus on establishing project execution and business management disciplines, growing EQTEC's partner ecosystem and strengthening the firm’s operational platform to scale its business through 2021 and beyond.

World High Life PLC (LON:LIFE) said it has appointed Robert Payment, its current chief financial officer, as acting chairman and chief executive. The company noted that David Stadnyk has stepped down as its chairman and CEO with immediate effect to devote time to other business interests having successfully established and floated World High Life on the London stock exchange. The group said it will be looking to appoint a non-executive chairman and a full-time CEO in the near future.

NQ Minerals PLC (AQSE:NQMI) (OTCQB:NQMLF) said it has signed a US$55mln loan facility with ING. The funds from the ING Facility are being used to retire all project debt maturing in 2020. This debt was secured over the assets of, and shares in, Hellyer, the company's tailings reprocessing project in Tasmania, Australia. At the same time, Hellyer has signed life-of-mine marketing agreements with Traxys Europe S.A. for the purchase of all the metal concentrates to be produced from its tailings reprocessing activities.

Tower Resources PLC (LON:TRP) announced that Dr Mark Enfield has agreed to join its board as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect. It noted that Dr Enfield is CEO of Geoscience at EPI Group and has been an advisor to the Company's board for more than five years, first through P.D.F. Ltd, which he founded in 1994, and more recently through EPI Geoscience, which was created through the acquisition of P.D.F. Ltd by EPI in 2016. The company also announced an issue of warrants in lieu of fees to Dr Enfield, amounting to 896,379 5-year warrants at a strike price of 0.375p, being the most recent closing price of the company's shares, in lieu of director fees for the month of December 2020.  The company is also making a further issue of 4,033,704 warrants to Duncan Rushworth, who has agreed to work with the company as an ad hoc strategic advisor to the company's board. Rushworth has recently stepped down as the VP Business Development for Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB, where he has worked since 2007 across Svenska's portfolio of assets in West Africa and Europe. The company also announced that non-executive director Peter Taylor will be stepping down from the board with effect from December 31, 2020. Taylor is one of the founders of the company, together with Peter Blakey who left the board in 2016, having contributed the original Neptune Petroleum assets in Namibia and Uganda in an RTO that established Tower Resources as an exploration company in January 2006, so he is now approaching his fifteenth anniversary on the company's board. Jeremy Asher, Tower’s chairman and CEO, commented: "We are delighted to welcome Mark to the board, both for his technical expertise and also for his entrepreneurial experience in our sector. We also hope that Duncan will bring us a fresh perspective on our existing assets and perhaps more. While I wish that Peter could have stayed on Tower's board forever, that is neither possible nor appropriate for a non-executive; however, I hope and believe we will continue to be able to draw on Peter's counsel in the future."

Alien Metals Limited (LON:UFO), a minerals exploration and development company, announced that, following the receipt of exercise notices, it has issued 1,050,000 ordinary shares of no par value in the capital of the company at an issue price of 0.25p per share.

Base Resources Limited (LON:BSE) (ASX:BSE), the African mineral sands producer, has said the latest company presentation, which was given on Tuesday at the Informa Mineral Sands Conference that is being held virtually, is available from the company’s website: www.baseresources.com.au.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA) (LON:TILS), a biotechnology company focused on innovative therapeutics for oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases, has announced that its CEO and CSO Dr Kunwar Shailubhai will host a conference call on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at 4.15pm ET to provide updates on the company. It said Shailubhai will provide updates on the company's proposed move from AIM to the Standard Segment of the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, ongoing clinical trials, as well as other recent developments in Tiziana Life Sciences. Live Call: details: +1-877-425-9470 (U.S. Toll-Free) or +1-201-389-0878 (International); Webcast: http://public.viavid.com/index.php?id=142634. For interested individuals unable to join the conference call, a dial-in replay of the call will be available until December 16, 2020, and can be accessed by dialing +1-844-512-2921 (US Toll Free) or +1-412-317-6671 (International) and entering replay pin number: 13713850.

6.50am: Start of Advent to bring small gifts

The FTSE 100 is expected to start slowly but positively on the first day of December, which is traditionally a strong month for stock markets.

After a 101-point fall on the last day of November, London’s blue-chip index still enjoyed its best month since 1989 with a gain of 611 points or 10.8% to 6,266.19.

For Tuesday, spread-betters are predicting the Footsie will advance 13 points.

Overnight, however, Wall Street endured a disappointing session, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average dropping 271 points or 0.9% to 29,638.64, the S&P 500 slipping 0.5% and the Nasdaq Composite finishing just below flat.

“The bullish moves seen in the past month were fuelled by positive reports from pharma companies that have made great strides in developing potential Covid-19 vaccines,” said market analyst David Madden.

“Yesterday, Moderna requested that the FDA give emergency approval for their drug because it is 94% effective. From a health point of view it was very encouraging but it failed to boost sentiment in stocks, probably because dealers were more than happy to bank some profits from the previous month’s gains.”

A new month will bring new economic data, with Tuesday being the day for the purchasing managers' index manufacturing survey and Nationwide’s house price index.

There was a reading of 55.2 for the UK manufacturing PMI’s flash estimate in the middle of last month.

Economists at Pantheon Macroeconomics have said they do not expect this will change much: “It makes sense that manufacturers are faring much better than services businesses, given that they have not been required to shut during the second lockdown and are enjoying stronger demand ahead of the Brexit trade deal deadline.”

House prices were up 5.7% year on year in October, according to Nationwide and economists are expecting this to ease slightly.

Around the markets:

  • Pound up 0.3% to US$1.3367
  • Brent Crude Oil down 1.2% to US$47.59 per barrel
  • Gold up 0.5% to US$1,786.24

6.45am: Early Markets - Asia/Australia

Asia-Pacific markets were higher on Tuesday as investors reacted to China’s Caixin/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for November rising to 54.9 — its highest reading in a decade.

PMI readings above 50 signify expansion, while those below that level represent contraction.

The Shanghai composite rose 1.82% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.97%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.34% and in South Korea, the Kospi gained 1.66%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.08% after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) held steady on its cash rate of 0.1%.

READ OUR ASX REPORT HERE

Proactive Australia news:

Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) completed the latest lifting of Ungani crude oil from Wyndham Port on November 30 2020, with the MT NS Power lifting a total of 67,757 barrels gross with Buru’s share being 50%.

Strategic Elements Ltd (ASX:SOR) has successfully tested five battery cells capable of charging themselves through energy harvested from humidity in the air.

Miramar Resources Limited (ASX:M2R) is trading higher after beginning its first drilling campaign since listing on the ASX - a maiden aircore program at its Gidji Joint Venture Project, 15 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.

Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASX:ASM) has produced 6 kilograms of a key neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) alloy at the Korean Institute of Rare Metals (KIRAM) facility in Korea for use in permanent magnets.

Brookside Energy Ltd’s (ASX:BRK) Orion Project Joint Venture with Stonehorse Energy Limited (ASX:SHE), which recently acquired the Thelma 1-32 well, is set to establish a new area of interest (AOI) to complement Brookside’s SWISH AOI in Oklahoma's Anadarko Basin.

Australian Vanadium signs vanadium offtake, electrolyte supply and battery sales MOU with VRFB manufacturer

Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singapore-based vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) manufacturer, V-Flow Tech Pte Ltd (V-Flow).

Imugene Limited (ASX:IMU) (OTCMKTS:IUGNF), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company, has dosed the first patient in a Phase I clinical trial of its checkpoint immunotherapy candidate, PD1-Vaxx, in Melbourne, Australia.

Marvel Gold Ltd (ASX:MVL) has begun a 44-hole, 6,300-metre reverse circulation (RC) resource expansion drilling program at its Tabakorole Gold Project in southern Mali.

Legend Mining Ltd (ASX:LEG) has recorded the best diamond drill hole to date at its Mawson prospect within the Rockford Project, Fraser Range, Western Australia, with RKDD034 intersecting 43.1 metres of massive nickel-copper sulphide, including one zone of 31.1 metres.

NO INVESTMENT ADVICE

The Company is a publisher. You understand and agree that no content published on the Site constitutes a recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction, or investment strategy is...

FOR OUR FULL DISCLAIMER CLICK HERE

TomCo Energy updates on status of POSP operations and initial oil production...

TomCo Energy PLC (LON:TOM) CEO John Potter updated investors on operations and initial production at Greenfield Energy’s POSP project in Utah. Potter, along with Valkor LLC's CEO and CTO Steven Byle and Coby Crawford confirmed that the Petroteq oil sands plant (POSP) at Asphalt Ridge is...

1 hour, 36 minutes ago

30 min read