- FTSE 100 up 20 points
- Higher start for US stocks
- PensionBee enjoys successful market debut
3.10pm: Proactive North America headlines:
BioPorto A/S (CPH:BIOPOR) (FRA:2P4) launches search for new CFO following Ole Larsen’s resignation
PsyBio Therapeutics Corp (CVE:PSYB) (FRA:PSYB) and Miami University broaden partnership agreement to advance its neuropsychiatric drug discovery platform
DGTL Holdings Hashoff subsidiary inks software service deal with the world’s third-largest alcohol maker
Canada Silver Cobalt Works Inc (CVE:CCW) (OTCMKTS:CCWOF) (FRA:4T9B) hits high-grade silver with drilling at second vein at Robinson Zone project
Arizona Silver Exploration Inc (CVE:AZS) (OTCMTS:AZASF) (FRA:A9J) continues to hit good gold and silver values in Philadelphia project drilling
2.41pm: Wall Street opens in the green
Wall Street managed to open on the front foot on Monday as traders awaited the start of a busy week for company earnings.
In the first minutes of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.17% at 34,101 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.2% to 4,188 and the Nasdaq rose 0.26% to 14,052.
Investors may be hoping to get into the market ahead of earnings from Tesla, which are due after today’s close and will be followed by numbers from Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon later this week.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was holding onto its gains into later afternoon and was up 20 points at 6,958 at around 2.40pm.
1.00pm: FTSE 100 heads higher over lunchtime
London’s index of leading shares is close to its high for the day but don’t get too excited; it’s only up 22 points.
The FTSE 100 index is at least now closer to 7,000 than it is 6,900, at 6,960.
It’s not exactly a raging bull market but it is fair to say that defensive stocks are finding little favour, with the likes of Diageo PLC (LON:DGE) and British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) from the booze and fags sector and United Utilities PLC (LON:UU.) and SSE PLC (LON:SSE) from the utilities sector among the main laggards.
PensionBee Group PLC (LON:PBEE) had a successful market debut on Monday, rising 5.8% to 178.5p.
The company’s shares were floated at 165p, at which price the company was valued at about £365mln. That valuation has now risen to £395mln.
1.05pm: US markets to open mixed
Picking up the baton from indecisive European markets, US indices are set to open (mostly) lower.
The Dow Jones index, having only 30 shares, is more susceptible to a couple of rogue gainers and is expected to open 35 points higher at 34,078 but the broader-based S&P 500 is tipped to fall 4 points to 4,176 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 is seen sliding 49 points to 13,892 at the start of what is a big week for tech company results.
“Tesla’s stock price is little changed since the start of 2021, but that stat is misleading. Worth about $736 at the time of writing, the shares have traded as high as $900 and below $600 over the past few months, demonstrating a level of volatility that investors have grown accustomed to,2 saidLee Wild, the head of equity strategy at interactive investor.
“There are multiple drivers of the share price, not least growing optimism around the electric vehicle revolution, particularly in China, but also globally as governments accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels. US president Joe Biden’s green agenda should provide a significant boost to Tesla.
“We already know Tesla achieved record production in Q1, and further interest in the Model Y in China should mean a massive increase in sales in 2021. Assuming no more major pandemic disruption, expectations are for Tesla to far exceed 800,000 deliveries this year, up from around 500,000 in 2020. Tesla could confirm expectations of at least 50% growth in annual deliveries alongside Q1 results.
“Tesla must keep up its rapid progress, even as competition intensifies, to even begin to justify the current valuation. The shares are already priced for perfection, so any slip-up will be punished,” was the Wild assertion.
On the macro front, US durable goods orders numbers for March are out soon.
“Following an unexpected decline in February, the headline orders are expected to rise 2.5% during the reported month. Core durable goods orders, which exclude transportation items and tend to have a broader impact than the volatile headline figures, are anticipated to have increased by 1.6% in March,” according to Fxstreet.com.
In the UK, aerospace stocks continue to attract support but not much else is floating investors’ boats – if you’ll forgive the inappropriate metaphor.
“The EU decision to allow US vaccinated travellers does highlight a gradual willingness to wake international air travel from its drawn-out slumber. Unfortunately, India highlights the risks involved when vaccination levels are low, with daily cases rising from 47k to 321k in the space of a month. Until vaccinations build a strong base layer of protection, countries will have to continue the fine balancing act that involves knowing greater economic freedom will often come with higher risk of widespread infections,” said Joshua Mahony at IG.
Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.) and International Consolidated Airlines SA (LON:IAG) are holding on to gains of close to 4% while among the mid-caps, TUI AG (LON:TUI) is up 4.2% at 405.5p, easyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) is 3.6% heavier at 1,021.5p and Wizz Air Holdings Plc (LON:WIZZ) is 2.3% to the good at 4,796p.
The FTSE 100 is up 9 points (0.1%) at 6,948.
12.40pm: Bk 2 sq 1 as investors mock Standard Life Aberdeen’s proposed name change
The Footsie is now back to square one after an uneventful morning.
Apparently not content with its proud Scottish heritage, the company has gone all Welsh on us and dispensed with vowels in its news name, which is to be Abrdn.
Some wags have already suggested that mobile phone network EE should do the same and expunge all vowels from its name.
Abrdn: disemvoweled https://t.co/HgxmrNnId7
— FT Markets (@FTMarkets) April 26, 2021
The new Abrdn name is pronounced Aberdeen, as indeed is the word Aberdeen.
The name change “will be part of a modern, agile, digitally-enabled brand that will also be used for all the company’s client-facing businesses globally,” the company’s statement said.
— PD Colinton (@PDColinton) April 26, 2021
Going back to Standard Life Aberdeen, the company said “a subsequent announcement will be made when the company’s name change becomes effective with a revised stock ticker.”
I wonder what the ticker will be?
Shares in Stndrd Lf Abrdn were up 1.0% at 275p.
10.15am: Resurgence of aerospace-related stocks
The FTSE 100 was down 7 points (0.1%) at 6,932, despite investors deciding that aerospace-related stocks are back in favour again.
Aeroplane engine builder and maintainer Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.), up 3.8% at 105.66p, was the top blue-chip riser, followed by British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines SA (LON:IAG), which is up 3.3% at 203.25p.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) falls 0.2% to 7,553p, pretty much in line with the wider market after it said Selumetinib has been recommended for EU approval for paediatric patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 and plexiform neurofibromas.
The pharma giant also said its Tagrisso (osimertinib) treatment has been recommended for marketing authorisation in the European Union for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early-stage (IB, II and IIIA) epidermal growth factor receptor-mutated (EGFRm) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after complete tumour resection with curative intent.
Finally, it said the MELODY Phase III trial for nirsevimab met its primary endpoint of a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of medically attended lower respiratory tract infections (LRTI) caused by a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) compared to placebo in healthy late preterm and term infants (35 weeks or more) during their first RSV season.
All good stuff but the market seems entirely focused on AstraZeneca’s COVID treatments at the moment, even though the company is selling the vaccine at cost.
Shares in Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets PLC (LON:MRW) are 0.4% firmer at 280p ahead of the release of market share data for the grocery sector tomorrow.
Over the weekend, Paula Vennells, the former boss of the Post Office, resigned from the board (and also from the board of another retailer, Dunelm) in the wake of the decision on Friday by judges to quash the convictions against 39 sub-postmasters who were accused by the Post Office of theft and false accounting; the discrepancies were in fact the result of faults in the information technology (IT) system designed by Fujitsu, the Japanese IT firm that keeps getting lucrative government contracts despite a reputation for incompetence that would discourage even Frank Spencer’s wife.
“It is obvious that my involvement with the Post Office has become a distraction from the good work undertaken by the boards I serve,” Vennells said.
“Paula Vennels’s decision to step down from the boards of Dunelm and Morrisons demonstrates the influence of three little letters and should fire a warning shot across the bows of all companies,” said Danni Hewson, a financial analyst at AJ Bell.
“ESG [Environmental, Social and Governance] has power, and whilst much of the focus has been on the environmental credentials of businesses it’s the S and G that have quietly been taking hold. Deliveroo’s IPO [initial public offering] might have been a different tale if it hadn’t been caught up in a row about employee rights and companies considering large pay rewards will find the shareholder bar this year is considerably higher than in the past,” Hewson said.
“It’s no longer enough to talk the talk on ESG, companies have to walk the walk and they will be judged harshly by investors and consumers if they fail to own up to or learn from their mistakes,” she concluded.
8.50am: Footsie slips
The FTSE 100 nudged into the red as local political issues trumped global recovery hopes on the first session back after the weekend.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is playing Westminster ‘whack-a-mole’ as pressure mounts over the funding of his Downing Street flat with Labour calling for an inquiry.
The PM also faces the prospect of a Dominic Cummings tell-all at a Commons committee next month, while his former armed forces minister continues to chip away at the Johnson administration.
Not only that, there is the continuing fall-out from David Cameron’s lobbying on behalf of failed Greensill Capital, which has also blown up to taint the PM.
Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, is less interested in what happens in that patch of land slightly south and west of central London and says the week ahead is all about data.
“Quite apart from a raft of corporate earnings [see below] with the tech sector being in particular focus, the latest US GDP reading is expected, while the Federal Reserve meeting could provide further clues on the economic direction they are anticipating,” he said.
“The data will follow on from more strong readings in factory activity and new housing sales which helped the S&P500 to another record closing high on Friday.
“As comparatives become easier over this quarter and indeed the next, as the full effects of the pandemic last year are lapped in company numbers, a meaningful return towards normality is expected. At the same time, companies will have nowhere to hide if they miss expectations, especially set against share prices will have been reflecting hopes of a strong return to form.”
On the market, publisher Pearson (LON:PSON) delivered a reasonably solid increase (5%) in underlying revenues during the first three months. The shares advanced 3.4% on the back of the update.
Proactive news headlines
Chaarat Gold Holdings Ltd (LON:CGH) produced 16,174 ounces of gold equivalent from its mine in Armenia during the quarter to 31 March 2021. All-in-sustaining costs rang in at US$1,024, a comfortable margin on the current gold price of over US$1,750.
Ergomed PLC (LON:ERGO) said its PrimeVigilance business, a global provider of pharmacovigilance and medical information services, has established a new legal entity and regional office in Japan and is fully operational from today.
CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC) confirmed the strong revenue and earnings figures for its 2020 financial year while also announcing plans to release a first-quarter trading update on June 1.
Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) said it has added another top-notch vehicle manufacturer to its FOVIO Driver and Occupant Monitoring System customer list. Mass production is scheduled from late 2022 with an initial lifetime award value of A$7mln.
H&T Group Plc (LON:HAT) confirmed that it has posted its annual report and accounts for 2020 ahead of its annual general meeting on Thursday 20 May 2021. Shareholders are invited to send questions in advance.
Bango PLC (LON:BGO) announced that its annual general meeting will be held on 26 May in Cambridge. Shareholders are encouraged to vote by proxy and are invited to call in and listen to proceedings of the meeting.
6.50 am: Subdued start predicted
The FTSE 100 looks set to make a subdued start to proceedings, with traders ignoring the upward pull of Asia and instead focusing on the political turmoil at home.
Chickens appear to be coming home to roost for Boris Johnson with former chief of staff, Dominic Cummings, reportedly ready to use his appearance before a Commons committee next month to challenge the PM’s handling of the pandemic.
There is then the immediate issue of how the upgrade to his Downing Street flat was paid for along with criticism from former armed forces minister, Johnny Mercer, which has also played out in the weekend press.
In Asia earlier, the markets were buoyant as recovery hopes continued to drive sentiment in this part of the world.
US futures, meanwhile, pointed to a positive start on Wall Street.
Looking ahead, the week’s big corporate news will be out of Silicon Valley.
Around the markets
- Pound US$1.3903 (+0.19%)
- Bitcoin US$52,513.63 (+5.26%)
- Gold US$1,782.60 (+0.28%)
- Brent crude US$65.77 (-0.51%)
6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Monday as India recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths, at 352,991 and 2,812, respectively.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose 0.10% while the Shanghai Composite in China slipped 0.01%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.41% and South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.67%.
Shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.13% lower.
Proactive Australia news:
Chase Mining Corporation Ltd (ASX:CML) is trading higher as it welcomes the start of drilling by Red Fox Resources Pty Ltd at the Gipsy Creek Copper-Gold Project in the Cloncurry district of northwest Queensland.
Red River Resources Ltd (ASX:RVR) has received encouraging initial results from its first-pass reverse circulation (RC) drilling program at the New Homestead and Don gold prospects, part of its Thalanga Operations in northern Queensland.
Kazia Therapeutics Ltd (ASX:KZA) (NASDAQ:KZIA) (FRA:NV9) recently announced an agreement with Evotec SE (FRA:EVT) to in-license the global rights to EVT801, a novel inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR3).
Fe Limited (ASX:FEL) is progressing its JWD West Wiluna Iron Ore Project in Western Australia, having begun work this week to refurbish offices and other infrastructure at the existing exploration camp with the goal to begin early site works by the end of the month.
Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:PAR) is making headway with its investigational new drug (IND) application for its proposed pivotal clinical trial treating subjects with Zilosul® for pain associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA).