- FTSE 100 slides 27 points
- HSBC dumps on the airline sector
- Housebuilders out of favour
5.10pm: Reopening of pubs doesn't lift markets
The FTSE 100 closed down 27 points, 0.4%, at 6,889, while the FTSE 250 lost 98 points, 0.4%, to end at 22,154.
"After a good week, equities are looking a little more hesitant today, with caution prevailing as markets await the start of US earnings season..." IG Chief Market Analyst Chris Beauchamp wrote. "The reopening of shops and pubs across the UK has not produced much of a reaction in the FTSE, which has edged lower throughout the day, while curiously European markets have retained more of their poise even as the continent contemplates the extension of lockdowns in places such as Germany."
In the US, the Dow dropped 42 points, 0.1%, to 33,759 at midday. The Nasdaq Composite slid 65 points, 0.5%, to 13,836, and the S&P 500 ticked down 5 points, 0.1%, to 4,124.
"US markets will be the ‘tell’ for investors this week, and tomorrow’s inflation reading will be closely-watched," Beauchamp wrote. "After last week’s PPI bounce the market is on notice for further signs of inflation that will test the Fed’s resolve. Again, given the strength in stocks over the past few weeks the figure may have more impact than at other times."
The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) was among the stragglers, as its share price fell more than 2% to $247.18.
4.00pm: Afternoon session proves a non-event
Monday was a bit of a non-event for the London stock market, especially the afternoon session where the Footsie evidently popped out for a haircut.
The FTSE 100 was down 15 points at 6,901, so at least it made it back above 6,900 in an otherwise somnolent afternoon.
Connor Campbell at Spreadex called it “a session to forget saw the UK and US markets stuck in the red”.
“Airline shares have also come under pressure today on the back of a broker downgrade from HSBC, with EasyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air all slipping back, after HSBC said that the new UK traffic light system would hurt budget airlines earnings expectations,” reported CMC’s Michael Hewson.
3.15pm: Proactive North America headlines:
Marble Financial Inc (CSE:MRBL) (OTCMKTS:MRBF) (FRA:2V0) closes acquisition of leading Canadian fintech company, Inverite Verification
American Battery Metals Corporation (OTCQB:ABML) enters into stock purchase agreement with institutional investor for up to $75M worth of shares
Genprex Inc (NASDAQ:GNPX) presents positive preclinical data for lung cancer drug REQORSA at American Association for Cancer Research meeting
INDVR Brands Inc (CSE:IDVR) (OTCMKTS:CAAOF) (FRA:3YX) inks letter of intent with BevCanna to sell HONU edibles in Canada
Benchmark Metals Inc (CVE:BNCH) (OTCQB:CYRTF) (FRA:87CA) posts more encouraging drill results from Lawyers underlining project's world-class mining potential
Alternus Energy Group PLC (NOTC:ALT) completes €9M funding led by asset manager AVG Group Sarl
AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE: AGRA) (FRA:PU31) (OTCPINK:AGFAF) subsidiary starts supplying THC Teskits to Stadapharm GmbH in Germany
The FTSE 100 knocked on the door of 6,900 over the lunchtime period but ended the session marooned on the doorstep.
The FTSE 100 was down 18 points at 6,898.
Ironically, on the day that outdoor dining at commercial establishments became allowable again in England, the top Footsie performer was Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LON:JET), which was up 1.7% at 7,348p. Then again, grocery deliveries specialist Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO), down 3.1% at 2,083p, was the worst performer so there are definitely some mixed signals coming from the home delivery market.
2.40pm: Wall Street starts in the red
The main indices on Wall Street opened in the red on Monday morning as coronavirus infections left investors feeling cautious.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.17% to 33,742 while the S&P 500 sank 0.13% to 4,123 and the Nasdaq fell 0.29% to 13,859.
Traders seem to be awaiting the start of US earnings season, with the major American banks to begin the results cycle this week.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was slightly lower into later afternoon, down 11 points at 6,904 at around 2.40pm.
1.50pm: FTSE 100 recovers to the doorstep of 6,900
Shoppers are back on the High Street today in England, with footfall reportedly about double the level it was a week ago.
Numbers issued by Springboard, the market research group, indicated that footfall was up by almost 350% on the same Monday of last year, during the first lockdown but down by 36% on the corresponding Monday in 2019 (the pre-lockdown era).
Central London shops are suffering even more than the national average, with footfall down more than 70% compared to April 15, 2019.
The New West End Company which represents some 600 businesses in London’s West End, did not seem overly fazed, reporting that footfall was running at around 55% of the usual number of April visitors, with domestic shoppers out in force.
The area relies heavily on the tourist trade, however, and “the West End businesses will continue to need extra government support,” according to Jace Tyrrell, the chief executive officer of the New West End Company.
“This is why we have written to the government to ask for an extension of Sunday trading hours in Britain’s two international centres – London’s West End and Knightsbridge. Greater flexibility on Sundays is vital to attract customers back into the capital, giving them the opportunity to spend what they want, when they want, all the while boosting the wider economy and crucially protecting jobs,” Tyrrell added.
For most of England, however, the return of the dubious delights of trudging along in the freezing cold to nose around the shops has gone better than expected. Springboard had previously predicted that footfall would be up 128.5% today compared to a year ago and 61.8% below the 2019 level.
Having said that, DIY retailer Kingfisher PLC (LON:KGF), which has done well during the lockdown as bodgers across the land took to doing a few household repairs, was down 2.5% at 335.3p while B&M European Value Retail SA (LON:BME), the seller of the sort of stuff you used to get in Woolworth’s and which somehow was allowed to stay open during the lockdown on account of its shops selling a few packets of Corn Flakes and a tin of soup now and again, was down 1.8% at 537.2p.
The FTSE 100 was down 17 points (0.2%) at 6,899.
12.05pm: US indices to falter as coronavirus fears return
Fears over rising coronavirus (COVD-19) infection rates are weighing on sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic on Monday.
Spread betting quoted indicate the Dow Jones industrial average will open 67 points lower to 33,733, the S&P 500 will shed 9 points at 4,120 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 will slide 56 points to 13,789.
“The earnings season is kicking off this week with major banks announcing first-quarter results, a year after the Covid-19 pandemic halted the global economy. As analysts have become more optimistic, earnings expectations for S&P 500 companies have been rising over the past two months and are anticipated to grow 25% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to a year ago,” observed Hussein Sayed at FXTM.
“With bond yields continuing to move gradually higher, forward earnings need to be brought a little lower. So, either shares prices need to correct to the downside or earnings have to beat markets expectations. Given that most technical indicators are reflecting overbought signals on the S&P 500, it seems like earnings will need to beat expectations by a significant margin to justify another leg higher.
“JP Morgan, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs will all be announcing results on Wednesday morning, followed by Bank of America and Citigroup on Thursday. Financials have been the second-best performing sector so far this year rising 19%, with the energy sector topping that with gains of 27% so far this year,” the analyst added.
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell gave a US telly interview yesterday in which he said the US economy is at an inflexion point. Well, it makes a change from being at an infection point ...
“We feel like we're at a place where the economy's about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly”, Powell told CBS.
“There are something like 8.5, 9 million people, maybe even more than that depending on how you count it, who were working in February of last year before the pandemic and have lost their jobs”, Powell admitted.
“Turning to the week ahead now, the pandemic will remain in focus as the new case count is still moving higher at the global level. In the week ending last Friday April 9, the numbers recorded by John Hopkins University showed a 4.45mln increase in cases globally, which compares with increases of 4.11mln, 3.78mln and 3.29mln in the three weeks before that, so we’ve definitely seen an acceleration in the past month, although the rate of increase is still shy of the peaks in December and January,” said Jim Reid & co at Deutsche Bank.
In London, the public is less concerned with COVID-19 and more concerned with the chances of catching a chill as people venture out to the hairdressers or the pub (or the pub in Liverpool that has a haircutting salon on the premises).
“The presence of snow in parts of the country was a nasty surprise as retailers and leisure operators opened their doors for the first time in months. They will be hoping the white stuff doesn’t settle and that sunshine quickly brightens the public’s mood,” said Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell.
“Reports on social media would suggest that hairdressers and barbers needn’t worry as demand is sky-high. A lot of pubs have also seen strong bookings, which means all eyes are on the retail sector to see if people are happy to get back in the shops or whether they’ve become addicted to the online channel.
Who's having their hair cut outside this morning in the snow whilst wearing a mask and a visor and telling the hairdresser all about your vaccination?— Walkabout (@Walkabout24) April 12, 2021
“The jury is still out judging by Monday’s early share price reactions,” Mould said, alluding to morning declines for Primark owner Associated British Foods PLC (LON:AFC), tabletop miniatures wargames flogger Games Workshop PLC (LON:GAW), newsagent WH Smith PLC (LON:SMWH) and sportswear pedlar JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.).
UK FOOTFALL ACROSS ALL RETAIL DESTINATIONS UP 218% WEEK ON WEEK AFTER PARTS OF ECONOMY REOPEN IN ENGLAND— Michael Brown (@MrMBrown) April 12, 2021
The FTSE 100 was down 25 points (0.4%) at 6,891.
10.50am: Tepid rally
London’s blue-chips have rallied a little but the FTSE 100 remains in negative territory.
The Footsie was down 26 points (0.4%) to 6,889.
“The UK markets appear to be showing signs of ‘sell the fact’ move today, with high-street names weakening on reopening day,” said IG Group’s Josh Mahony.
“The reopening of non-essential stores, pubs, gyms, and hairdressers provide hope that the worst is now behind us. Certainly, Boris Johnson will be desperate to ensure that there are no more lockdowns from here on in. Certainly, with the UK now having over 70% of the population protected through vaccination or having caught and recovered from Covid, the basis is there for the UK to finally enter a new pathway towards normality,” he added.
In other broker action, Morgan Stanley upgraded fund manager M&G PLC (LON:MNG) to ‘equal-weight’ from ‘underweight’; the target price remains at 240p, 22p above the current share price, which remains unchanged on the day at 218p.
9.40am: Few reasons to celebrate
The pubs may be open today but the stock market is giving investors few reasons to celebrate.
The FTSE 100 was down 56 points (0.8%) at 6,861, with mining stocks responsible for much of the damage.
In contrast, on what is clearly a “risk-off” day, defensive favourites such as utility companies Severn Trent PLC (LON:SVT) and United Utilities PLC (LON:UU.) were among the best blue-chip performers, although rises of 0.8% and 0.5% (respectively) were not much to write home about.
Let’s face it, if you are writing home about the share price movements of utility companies even on a good day then you probably need to get down the pub garden, but remember to take your overcoat and scarf.
“Falling commodity stocks put an end to the FTSE’s 13-month peak. A 0.9% decline from Brent Crude, and a sharper 1.4% slide from copper, sent the index’s weighty oil and mining stocks lower, and left the FTSE itself down close to 50 points,” said Connor Campbell at Spreadex.
“By contrast – and almost certainly contributing to the FTSE’s losses – the pound rose 0.1% against the dollar and 0.3% against the euro. This as sterling tries to reset after a rough set of sessions last week.
“The lacklustre showing in the UK comes despite the second big step in the country’s re-opening efforts, and news that business optimism has hit a record high in the UK as firms anticipate a post-covid comeback,” he added.
Never mind UK firms looking for a “post-COVID comeback”, Spanish outfit Ferrovial Group must be desperate for an end to travel restrictions, based on Heathrow Airport’s traffic numbers for March.
The airport’s passenger numbers were down 82.6% from March 2020 – Mother Nature sends her thanks - but cargo volumes were 21.4% higher.
The trial did not achieve statistical significance for the primary endpoint of prevention measuring organ dysfunction and all-cause mortality, and the primary endpoint of recovery measuring a change in clinical status (from early recovery to death), at 30 days.
The shares were barely changed on the news.
8.40am: Lacklustre start to the week/day/drinking session
The FTSE 100 made a dull start to proceedings amid niggling worries over inflation and continued concerns about the economic impact of lockdown.
While the UK is at stage two in its phased emergence from restrictions with 40mln vaccination jabs thus far administered, other western countries are playing catch-up.
Indeed, in mainland Europe, France and Italy have been stricken by coronavirus third waves.
China’s US$2.8bn fine for Alibaba caused shockwaves locally as shares in tech rivals such as Tencent and JD.com and Baidu fell.
On the up was CX4 Discovery (LON:CX4D), which advanced 19% after it inked a licensing deal worth almost £370mln with international drugs giant Sanofi.
Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) has delineated seven high priority targets at the Elizabeth Hill silver project in Australia, following the completion of a litho-structural interpretation and target-generation study. The project area includes the Mining Lease containing the historic Elizabeth Hill silver mine and the Munni Munni North exploration Lease that surrounds it.
AfriTin Mining Ltd (LON:ATM) is advancing a metallurgical testing programme designed to investigate the potential production of tantalum and lithium as by-products from its producing tin project at Uis. The Uis tin mine is already known to contain an estimated 6,091 tonnes of tantalum and 450,265 tonnes of lithium oxide (Li2 O).
Coinsilium Group Limited (LON:COIN) has updated investors with further details around the launch of a cryptocurrency postage stamp by the government of Gibraltar and a non-fungible token (NFT) counterpart exclusively produced by the firm in collaboration with Vietnam-based RedFOX Labs.
Caerus Mineral Resources PLC (LON:CMRS) announced better-than-expected results from preliminary drilling on the PR Ploutonic Resources Ltd licences in Cyprus, ahead of a vote by its shareholders on the acquisition of privately held PRL towards the end of this month.
Instem PLC (LON:INST) saw underlying earnings (EBITDA) rise in 2020 while it said it has "good visibility" for the current year with growing recurring revenues.
ANGLE PLC said promising data highlighting the potential of its liquid biopsy in breast and lung cancers will be released in two posters at virtual meetings taking place this week and next month.
Xpediator PLC (LON:XPD) said first-quarter trading in its current year has been “ahead of management expectations” as the firm reported a profit surge in 2020 driven by changes to its business caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (LON:COPL) has said despite its previous announcement on March 19 that its shares would be cancelled on the London Stock Exchange on April 21, the company has now postponed the formal cancellation date to a date, yet to be determined, that will coincide with the re-admission of the shares on the LSE. Subject to regulatory approval, the firm now expects the re-admission of its shares to occur towards the end of May or in June and it is now intended that the cancellation and re-admission will occur simultaneously at such time.
Love Hemp Group PLC (LON:LIFE) (OTCQB:WRHLF) said the broker option granted to Peterhouse Capital Limited in connection with its placing and subscription announced on April 8 closed on April 9 and was “significantly oversubscribed”. The cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp product supplier said the broker option has been exercised in respect of around 57.7mln shares, an increase of around 100% on the original number in the option, which on exercise will raise a further £2.02mln for the company, taking its total fundraise to £7.04mln.
Thor Mining PLC (LON:THR, ASX:THR, OTCQB: THORF) said field work has started at its Ragged Range gold project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP, TSE:TXP) shares advanced more than 20% after the company told investors that flowback testing of the Cascadura Deep-1 well, in Trinidad, confirmed a ‘liquids rich’ discovery.
ADM Energy PLC (LON:ADME) inked a non-binding agreement with Eunisell Limited, a Nigerian owned oil and gas production solutions company, to potentially develop the Barracuda oil field in OML 141, in Nigeria.
6.50 am: Dull start predicted
The FTSE 100 looks set to open the new trading week in the red – taking its cue from Asia’s main markets.
They were held back by nagging inflation concerns and continued worries over the economic impact of the global pandemic.
Here at home, pub gardens are opening, and the population can go for haircuts and spray-on tans, while Covid deaths have slowed to a trickle thanks to the vaccination roll-out.
However, with near neighbours on the continent in the grip of a third wave of infections, the reality of the long-tail nature of the coronavirus outbreak – more than a year on from the lockdown – has begun to set in.
Overnight, the big news came from China where the authorities levied an eyewatering US$2.8bn fine on Alibaba for alleged anticompetitive practices.
Its shares stage a relief rally, while stock in rivals such as Tencent, JD.com and Baidu went into reverse amid worries about where else the regulatory sights were being trained.
“Perversely, Alibaba's stock has rallied as the fine wasn't as bad as it could have been (a roughly 4% of sales),” noted Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at OANDA.
“However, it is the thought that counts and investors seem concerned that Alibaba will not be the last China tech giant in the fine firing line.”
Across the Atlantic, we have the kick-off for bank earnings season.
Around the markets
- Pound US$1.3676 (-0.23%)
- Bitcoin US$60,165.64 (+0.62%)
- Gold US$1,737.50 (-0.42%)
- Brent crude US$62.98 (flat)
6.50am: Early Markets - Asia / Australia
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were lower as Alibaba’s shares in Hong Kong jumped after the company was fined US$2.8 billion by Chinese regulators as a result of an anti-monopoly investigation.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong slipped 0.78% while the Shanghai Composite in China fell 0.71%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 declined 0.57% and South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.02%.
Shares in Australia were weaker, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.33% lower.
Proactive Australia news:
Pantoro Limited (ASX:PNR) (FRA:RKN) has completed its $50 million sole funding expenditure obligation at the Norseman Gold Project and has now formed an unincorporated joint venture.
Imugene Ltd (ASX:IMU) (OTCMKTS:IUGNF) highlighted new data during presentations on the HER-Vaxx cancer immunotherapy program and the CF33 oncolytic virus program during the prestigious American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2021 Annual Meeting at the weekend.
Antipa Minerals Ltd (ASX:AZY) welcomes a A$10.7 million expansion of the 2021 exploration budget to A$24.5 million at the Citadel Gold-Copper Joint Venture Project with Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Limited (ASX:RIO).
AVZ Minerals Ltd (ASX:AVZ) (OTCMKTS:AZZVF) (FRA:3A2) has received more strong results from mineral resource drilling at Manono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including 80 metres at 1.80% lithium and 1,119 parts per million tin from 2 metres.
Miramar Resources Ltd’s (ASX:M2R) diamond drilling at an 8-Mile target at the 80-% owned Gidji JV Project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia has intersected visible gold while also extending the Runway porphyry deposit.
Silver Mines Limited (ASX:SVL) (OTCMKTS:SLVMF) (FRA:SWQ) is on the path to production at its Bowdens Silver Project pending approval of its Environmental Impact Statement from the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).
Capital Ltd (LON:CAPD) enjoyed strong revenue growth in 2020, during a turbulent year when most peers recorded none or declining revenue.