- FTSE 100 falls 18 points (0.3%)
- FTSE 250 sheds 144 points (0.6%)
- Serco higher after landing government contracts
5.05pm: FTSE ends lower, US indices shake off morning rust
London’s leading index closed Tuesday down 18 points, 0.3%, at 6,945, while the FTSE 250 lost 144 points, 0.6%, to 22, 433.
“European markets have struggled to maintain recent gains today, with the US open driving weakness on both sides of the Atlantic,” IG Senior Market Analyst Joshua Mahony wrote. “The recent shift in emphasis for traders has seen vaccination and reopening concerns replaced with a raft of earnings announcements that should help shape expectations for wider sector performance over Q1.”
In the US, the Dow has recovered from its early weakness, landing at just 12 points below the flatline at 33,969 just after noon. The Nasdaq was down 15 points, 0.1%, at 14,124, while the S&P 500 added 1 point to 4,189.
“Yesterday’s Tesla earnings brought a more tech-led focus, but that will only ramp-up further when we see earnings data from the likes of Alphabet and Microsoft,” Mahony wrote. “The wide divergence in market performance between tech and pro-cyclical stocks has led to a similar disparity in market expectations, where tech names face a relatively high marker compared with their hard-hit peers. With that in mind, the fact that we are seeing outperformance for US banks and restaurants over tech does highlight the questions over quite whether these momentum stocks will be able to justify their lofty valuations.”
4.10pm: FTSE 100 in the red this afternoon
The FTSE 100 was down 28 points (0.4%) at 6,936 close to the end of trading, faring a bit better than the mid-cap FTSE 250, thanks to a modest gain by sterling against the dollar.
The FTSE 250 was down 150 points (0.7%) at 22,427, despite a positive performance by Serco PLC (LON:SRP), which was up 1.5% at 143.5p after wangling another contract out of the government, this time from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help job seekers in the Midlands and Wales as part of the UK government’s Restart programme.
Rupert Soames, Serco’s chief executive and the grandson of Winston Churchill and the nephew of former Conservative Defence Secretary Duncan Sandys was said to be delighted to have won the award, which was awarded after a competitive tendering process.
3.09pm: Proactive North America headlines:
Falcon GoldCorp (CVE:FG) (OTCPINK:FGLDF) (FRA:3FA) creates Falcon Gold LatamARG to manage operations in Argentina
Q BioMed Inc (OTCQB:QBIO) touts development progress of coronavirus treatment MAN-19 and other therapies in letter to shareholders
Global Energy Metals Corporation (CVE:GEMC) (OTCMKTS:GBLEF) (FRA:5GE1) says Monument Peak Project results confirm significant copper, silver and gold mineralization
Energy Fuels Inc (NYSE:UUUU) ((TSE:EFR) engages top consultant to support development of rare earth separation at White Mesa Mill in Utah
BioSig Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:BSGM)says physicians at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Phoenix, Arizona have started using its PURE EP System in patient cases treating cardiac arrhythmias
Else Nutrition Holdings Inc (CVE:BABY) (OTCMTKS:BABYF) (FRA:0YL) sees its new Complete Nutrition for Toddlers win quick market acceptance
Plurilock Security expands its patent portfolio by filing two US patents for continuous authentication
AIM ImmunoTech Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:AIM) reports positive safety data in Cohort 2 of Phase 1 clinical study of Ampligen as an intranasal therapy
3.05pm: Subdued mood continues
The FTSE 100 has been subdued for most of the day and there seems little chance of a rousing finale given Wall Street’s indifferent opening.
The blue-chips index was down 24 points (0.3%) at 6,940, with the retreat led by industrial software firm AVEVA Group PLC (LON:AVV), which is parting ways with its chief executive officer.
AVEVA shares were 5.8% lower at 3,682p after the company said revenues in the second half of the year to the end of March recovered enough for the full-year outcome to be little changed from the year before.
Whitbread said it has “significantly” outperformed the midscale and economy hotel market since reopening in August, with customer scores also remaining “very strong” throughout this period despite the disruption.
This is great as far as it goes but a billion quid loss is a billion quid loss.
— Vivieanne Carr (@vivieannecarr) April 26, 2021
2.40pm: Wall Street opens on a mixed footing
The main indices on Wall Street for off to a mixed start on Tuesday as earnings season continued to roll on.
In the early minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.04% at 33,966 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.06% to 4,190 and the Nasdaq rose 0.14% to 14,158.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was little moved into late afternoon, falling 17 points to 6,946 at around 2.40pm.
12.35pm: Wall Street expected to open higher
US stocks are set to open modestly firmer on what is another big day for company results.
The Dow Jones industrial average is expected to open around 23 points higher at 34,005 while the broader-based S&P 500 is seen advancing 5 points to 4,193.
The technology stocks haven, the Nasdaq 100, should open some 19 points firmer at 14,045 if spread-betting sites are to be believed.
“Last night, we received Q1 earnings from Tesla, one of the most loved and hated companies in the world, showing revenue of $10.4bn in line with estimates and adjusted EPS of $0.93 vs. est. $0.80. The company says it expects to deliver 50% vehicle delivery growth in 2021; consensus is expecting revenue to be up 57% y/y in 2021. This revenue target could be difficult if deliveries are up 50% as the average selling price (ASP) is under pressure across several markets and most notably in China; Tesla’s ASP declined by 13% y/y,” reported Peter Garnry, the head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank.
“It’s worth noticing that out of the $0.93 in non-GAAP [generally accepted accounting principles] earnings per share, $0.54 is stock-based compensation per share, so essentially more than half of shareholders’ profit is shared through stock options with employees. The biggest potential risk in the Q1 report is that inventory is down to 8 days as the company is struggling with parts and computer chips like the rest of the industry. Few words are mentioned on this situation, but it could turn out to be a negative throughout the year.
“Overall, strong results as expected but not a blowout quarter for Tesla that is still facing enormous complexity in expanding its production while rolling out new models and battling more competition than ever. This was not the result that will give the bears ammunition except they can still claim aggressive valuation, but the narrative is still intact; Tesla is the best pure-play on EV [electric vehicles] and that will warrant a premium over other carmakers for now. Shares are down 3% in extended trading to $716,” he added.
Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet are due to release their earnings after the close today. Both Alphabet and Microsoft’s share prices hit a record high yesterday
“Microsoft is expected to report strong Q1 earnings. Consensus estimates point to a 17% year-on-year revenue hike to $41 billion, with EPS at USD1.78. The stock hit a fresh all-time high on Monday and sits just USD2 per share under a USD2 trillion valuation. As a stock that has benefited greatly from the work-from-home ethos, guidance will be particularly in focus,” according to Sophie Griffiths at OANDA.
“The biggest threat to the positive trend in technology stocks is the reflation trade, which would boost demand for cyclical stocks and move capital from the tech stocks towards the value names but it looks like that migration from growth to value is happening without too much harm for the tech stocks for now, and some digital services, including the cloud business, will unlikely be affected by the reflation theme as the end of the pandemic won’t reverse the migration of our data storage to the cloud,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya at Swissquote.
It’s fairly busy on the macroeconomic data front as well, with the US include the Conference Board’s consumer confidence indicator for April, the FHFA house price index for February and the Richmond Fed’s manufacturing index for April.
Back in the UK, the reported sales balance of the CBI Distributives Trade Survey jumped to +20 in April from -45 in March. The consensus forecast had been for a reading of +10.
“The reported sales balance is derived from retailers reporting whether sales are higher or lower than in the same month a year ago. The balance, therefore, always was likely to rocket in April, given that non-essential shops in England reopened on April 12, but were shut throughout the same month of 2020. The reopening appears to be going fairly well for retailers, though we see no signs of a tsunami of pent-up demand,” suggested Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“According to Springboard, retail footfall in the week ending April 17 was 75% of its level in the same week of 2019. While that was a big improvement from 44% in the prior week, it was no better than seen in early September, even though the virus is less prevalent than back then and over half of the total population now has received at least one vaccine shot.
“Consumers’ confidence has recovered since the start of the year, but still was slightly below its average level in the 2010s in April, according to GfK. Meanwhile, households still are heading for a cold shower at the end of September, when the furlough scheme will end and the temporary uplift to Universal Credit will be withdrawn. Accordingly, we continue to think that households’ overall expenditure in Q4 will be about 2% below its Q4 2019 peak,” Tombs said.
Howard Archer, the chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club, noted that the balance was at its highest level since September 2018.
“The CBI also reported that retail sales volumes were ‘viewed as good for the time of year for the first time in 2021 and to the greatest extent since June 2018.’ A balance of 16% of retailers considered sales volumes in April to be below average for the time of year. This compared to the 37% balance who had regarded sales as below par in March,” Archer said.
Hardware & DIY and furniture & carpets sub-sectors saw sales significantly above seasonal norms, supported by a consumer focus on home improvement, according to the CBI.
“Nevertheless, the CBI warned that while the improvement in retail sales has been driven by sectors that have performed relatively well during the pandemic ‘little immediate rebound is expected for more embattled sectors such as clothing, footwear and department stores’,” Archer noted.
The FTSE 100 was down 15 points at 6,949.
11.15am: UK investors envy Tesla excitement stateside
The FTSE 100 was off 10 points (0.2%) at 6,953, despite heavily-weighted index constituent HSBC hardening 1.6% to 429.4p after it said the pandemic might not cause as many bad debts to pile up as it previously feared.
“The banking sector has been through the wars over the past decade or so, with the global financial crisis and PPI scandal knocking it for six. The coronavirus pandemic looked set to inflict more damage, prompting banks to put aside large amounts of money to cover any bad debts. So far it looks as if they were over-cautious,” said Russ Mould, the investment director of AJ Bell.
“HSBC is not only releasing some of these provisions, but it is also toasting good trading in various parts of its business. In the UK it is riding the surge in demand for properties, with its mortgage lending doing well in the first quarter.
“These factors will put pressure on the business to be generous with dividends, yet HSBC remains cautious while the pandemic rages on and won’t decide on when next to pay cash to shareholders until August,” he noted.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering why the name Tesla is crowbarred into every financial news headline whether the subject is Latvian gourd manufacturing, medical research into the effect of loud music on moles or, in the case of this item you are reading, a UK market report update, then new research by the website money.co.uk has revealed that 15% of stock/share search enquiries are for the electric vehicle manufacturer.
Tesla is the most popular investment in the majority of the Eastern hemisphere as well as in North America, the study reveals. Tax-dodgers extraordinaire Apple and Amazon are the second and third-most searched for stocks on search engines.
9.45am: Warm reception for BP’s share buyback
There has been no shortage of news from the FTSE 100 heavy hitters this morning and yet the index remains mired in a furrow of inactivity.
— energyvoicenews (@EnergyVoiceNews) April 27, 2021
“BP profits jumped to $2.6bn, easily beating analyst expectations and well ahead of last year. Looney [the CEO] says the company is in good shape. As he puts it, these results really put to rest some of the fears investors may have had around this stock as it’s managed to reduce net debt ahead of schedule and is delivering shareholder returns. Looney seems really committed to pushing the dividend, which I suppose you can do if you are not doing any more oil and gas exploration. Still, he better keep some back for those wind turbines. BP is confident that China and the US will drive the recovery in crude demand,” said Neil Wilson at markets.com.
The latest grocery market share figures from market research group Kantar point to shoppers making more visits to supermarkets and buying less stuff online. The number of trips to the supermarket in the 12 weeks to April 18 was 4% higher than in March, while grocery sales rose by 5.7% to £31.6bn.
“With much of the over-65 community now vaccinated, older shoppers accounted for nearly half of the increased footfall,” revealed Fraser McKevitt, the head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar.
“The return to overall sales growth in the latest four-week period also reflects what was happening in April 2020, a highly unusual month for grocery shopping. After the initial pre-lockdown rush, this time last year was comparatively quiet. Shoppers chose to buy locally and limit their trips to store where possible, which is reflected by strong growth a year later. While the market may fluctuate between growth and decline in the months ahead, depending on the year-on-year comparison being made, the fact that trip numbers are up and basket sizes down suggests that habits are slowly returning to normal,” KcKevitt continued.
“The share of groceries ordered via the internet in the most recent four weeks slipped to 13.9%, down from a peak of 15.4% in February. While online is still growing strongly, at 46%, the rate is half what it was at the height of the pandemic. Convenience stores – both independents and those owned by major retailers – were also particularly popular during the first lockdowns and, against such comparisons, it is unsurprising that sales have fallen by 19% in the past month.
“Co-op, the most prominent convenience retailer, saw sales decrease annually by 3.1% over the 12 weeks, following its particularly strong performance this time in 2020. In comparison with a more normal 2019 however, sales are up a formidable 16.2%. It’s a similar story for independent stores and symbol retailers, with year-on-year decline of 13.3% masking the fact that sales are considerably higher than two years ago,” McKevitt said.
Among the listed supermarket groups, Tesco PLC (LON:TSCO) saw its market share creep up to 27.9% from 26.8% in April of last year while Morrison (Wm.) Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) nudged its share up to 10.0% from 9.9%. J. Sainsbury PLC (LON:SBRY) saw its share hold steady at 15.3%.
Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO), thought of these days as more of a technology firm than a groceries delivery outfit, saw its share improve to 1.8% from 1.5%, and while its revenue growth slowed to 27.5%, it comfortably retains its status as the fastest-growing grocer, ahead of Morrisons in second place (with annual growth of 7.2%).
Tesco’s shares were up 0.5% at 223.5p; Sainsbury’s were virtually unchanged while Morrisons’ shares were actually unchanged; Ocado’s shares were the best performers, up 1.2% to 2,221p.
Snippets from latest @Kantar_UKI grocery data: Aldi’s market share rose for the first time in a year to 8%, as people became more comfortable about visiting stores. Online accounted for 13.9% of grocery sales, down from peak of 15.4% in February – still growing strongly, at 46%.
— George MacDonald (@GeorgeMacD) April 27, 2021
8.45am: Tepid start on a busy day for blue-chip results
The FTSE 100 made another insipid start to proceedings on a busy day for corporate news.
Neither Wall Street nor Asia provided much in the way of direction as traders opted to stay on the sidelines ahead of a two-day meeting of the US Federal Reserve.
The gathering place against a rapidly improving economic backdrop. This has created an element of uncertainty around the central bank’s policy, which may zero in on the nascent inflation threat, herAlding an emergence from the era of ultra-low interest rates.
Back here in the UK, the recovery in the fortunes of HSBC (LON:HSBA) appears to have largely been anticipated by the market, with the shares nudging up barely a percentage point in the opening exchanges.
“HSBC will not transform its fortunes overnight, but the improving economic outlook has provided a welcome boost to its aspirations,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
“In particular, the release of US$400 million of impairments is a sign of optimism, especially in the UK where the situation has markedly improved from the perspective of poor performing loans.”
Copper giant Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) led the Footsie with a 3.5% gain after the price of the red metal shot to a 10-year high.
Proactive news headlines
Scotgold Resources Ltd (LON:SGZ) has resolved the various outstanding technical issues that had been affecting the processing plant at the Cononish gold project in Scotland, saying the plant is now operating consistently and the current focus is on ramping up to full design capacity.
Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) gave an encouraging update on its Baita Plai project, saying it has begun mining fresh higher grade ore at the polymetallic mine in Romania and that the decline to Level 19 is progressing on schedule.
IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) said it has raised £12mln in an oversubscribed fundraising that it said will primarily be used to fund the development of its lithium and gold projects in the African nations of Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Chad.
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA, LON:TILS) said its chief executive Dr Kunwar Shailubhai and the chair of its scientific advisory committee, Dr Howard Weiner, will take part in what is described as a ‘fireside chat’ at the B Riley Virtual Neuroscience Investor Conference at which they will “provide updates on the company”. The two will present on Wednesday (April 28) from 10.30 EDT.
Emmerson PLC (LON:EML) confirmed the admission of its shares to trading on AIM after moving from London’s main market. Following the retirement of non-executive chairman Mark Connelly, director James Kelly has taken up the role as of today.
Bushveld Minerals Ltd (LON:BMN) has announced that Mustang Energy PLC (LON:MUST) is acquiring an indirect interest of 11.05% in Enerox GmbH, a vanadium redox flow battery manufacturer providing grid-scale and micro-grid energy storage solutions, in which Bushveld holds an indirect 25.25% stake.
Asiamet Resources Ltd (LON:ARS) has appointed Andrew Neale as general manager for the KSK copper project in Indonesia. Neale is a highly experienced metallurgist. He has worked on numerous copper and gold projects in Indonesia and globally with Freeport McMoran, Merdeka Copper Gold and Bumi Resources.
NTree International Ltd has hired Brendan Mueller as Head of Greater China to help develop its business in the region.
Union Jack Oil PLC (LON:UJO) announced the launch of a new corporate website (www.unionjackoil.com), which contains new features, including educational videos, a world oil and gas consumption meter and several other state-of-the-art aspects. “The board of Union Jack hopes that the new website will turn web searchers into visitors and those visitors into new shareholders.”
6.55 am: Languid start predicted
The FTSE 100 is predicted to continue its languorous way on Tuesday after a subdued US session overnight.
After making leisurely progress over the past five days, London’s blue-chip stocks should start roughly flat around the 6,963 level they finished the previous day, according to spread betters on the IG platform.
Trading was mixed for the major Wall Street indices last night, with the Dow Jones falling 61 points or 0.2%, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.2% and the Nasdaq was led 0.9% higher by the big tech guns ahead of a frenetic week of earnings.
After hours, Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) reported a 1,850% increase in earnings per share and a US$101mln gain on its bitcoin investment but that was still nowhere near enough to beat the Street’s estimates, with the stock falling in aftermarket trading.
Pre-tax profit jumped 79% during the first quarter, well above the market’s expectations, even though the top line remained sluggish due to low interest rates.
Markets are likely to remain subdued due to the upcoming US Federal Reserve meeting and the big tech results week.
Furthermore, as said market analyst Michael Hewson, concerns about the coronavirus pandemic will not go away: “The resilience of equity markets, particularly in the US is in marked contrast to rising concerns about the situation in India which is looking absolutely horrific, and is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better, the consequences of which could well ripple out beyond India’s borders.”
6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower on Tuesday as investors await cues from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, which begins today, and more earnings.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 0.14% while the Shanghai Composite in China slipped 0.41%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.28% and South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.37%.
Shares in Australia declined, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.27% lower.
Proactive Australia news:
Horizon Minerals Ltd (ASX:HRZ) has received further validation of the golden potential of Boorara Gold Project, 15 kilometres east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the Western Australian Goldfields, with an updated independent mineral resource estimate delivering a 34% increase in grade.
archTIS (ASX:AR9) recorded a successful March quarter with its overall revenue, recurring revenue and gross profit all increasing significantly.
MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:MXC) (LON:MXC) (OTCMKTS:MGCLF) (FRA:H5O) has completed arguably its best-ever quarter, with a London Stock Exchange (LSE) listing and record sales highlighting a busy period.
Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) (OTCMKTS:BRNGF) (FRA:BUD) has increased production from the Ungani Oilfield JV onshore in the Canning Basin in the southwest Kimberley region of Western Australia to more than 1,000 barrels of oil a day (bopd).
Pan Asia Metals Ltd (ASX:PAM) is well-positioned to advance current assets and secure additional ones as it moves into the next growth phase following a successful listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2020.
St George Mining Ltd (ASX:SGQ) (FRA:S0G) has used recent geophysical surveys to identify multiple new nickel-copper sulphide targets at its flagship high-grade Mt Alexander Project in WA’s north-eastern Goldfields.
Great Southern Mining Ltd (ASX:GSN) has identified and ranked 21 new gold targets after evaluating a newly acquired regional exploration database in the Duketon Belt that includes more than 12,000 drill holes and 24,000 soil samples.