FTSE 100 closes in positive territory but still below 6,000 as health fears put dampener on stocks
- FTSE 100 index closes almost 20 points higher
- US markets ahead
- William Hill receives two bid approaches
5pm: FTSE 100 closes ahead
FTSE 100 index closed with its nose above water but still below 6,000 on Friday after seeing red earlier in the session and following a week of selling.
Britains blue-chip benchmark finished up nearly 20 points, or 0.34%, at 5,842.
Fellow European indices, however, plunged into the red due to pandemic fears as there were a record number of cases reported in the Netherlands and France. Over the week as a whole, Footsie shed around 2.7%.
"The theme of the week for equities has been selling, and this has been amply demonstrated across European markets, which are still deep in the red," noted Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at spreadbetting firm IG.
The analyst notes that the suspicion is the sell-off in US stocks, which has been occurring for weeks, may be coming to an end.
"At present there is no obvious catalyst, but the pullback in stock markets has provided a substantial refresh on sentiment that had become rather too frothy by late August. Investors had become too complacent then, but now perhaps they are becoming too fearful, even given the justified concerns about more lockdowns and the rise in virus cases."
"The furious defence of 3200 this week suggests there is still appetite to buy stocks at these levels, a good sign for a continuation of the post-March rally," he said, referring to the S&P 500 index.
US and Canada 11.45am EST/4.45pm
Wall Street stocks are bouncing back up, with tech stocks heading north again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added over seven points at 26,822. The broader-based S&P 500 added over ten at 3,256. The tech-laden Nasdaq exchange gained over 96 points at 10,768.
3.20pm: Proactive North America headlines:
Gungnir Resources Inc (CVE:GUG) (OTCPINK:ASWRF) (FRA:AMO1) upsizes placing due to interest from European institution; closes C$400,000 Palisades investment
Novavax Inc (NASDAQ:NVAX) to start late-stage trials for COVID-19 vaccine in UK
Todos Medical Ltd (OTCQB:TOMDF) enters into COVID-19 PCR testing and equipment financing partnership with AID Genomics for US market
ION Energy Inc (CVE:ION) names international business veteran John McVicar as CFO
Weekend Unlimited Industries Inc (CSE:POT) (OTCQB:WKULF) halts Ruby Mae's acquisition to explore more attractive options in the cannabis space
3:15pm: IG charts William Hill share price drama as buyers make moves
“Taking a look at the chart of William Hill, the stock has staged a dramatic rally in todays trade, pushing above the 161.8% Fibonacci retracement line. At the start of September the stock gapped higher to break above the 100% fib retracement level,” said IGs Victoria Scholar.
“Since then weve seen a series of doji indecision candles before todays massive spike higher.
“Interestingly, in a bullish move, the stock has broken above the long-term descending trendline of resistance which has been in place since the peak back in 2013. The stock is now back up to levels not seen since August 2018 on the IG platform with the next key resistance level on a monthly chart at 345p.”
2.45pm: Wall Street starts on a mixed note as Nasdaq turns green
The final session of the week got off to a mixed start on Wall Street on Friday as the tech-dominated Nasdaq moved into the green in the first minutes of trading.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.02% at 10,674, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.27% to 26,742 and the S&P 500 fell 0.22% to 3,239.
While the Nasdaq was positive, it was only by a whisker, as concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and an increasing number of hospitalizations in the US are still at the forefront of traders' minds.
Political instability is also looming in the background as the clock ticks down to the US presidential election on November 3, which is shaping up to become one of the more volatile votes in recent years.
“The election could increasingly become a point of concern for investors. It's already not going to be a normal election, with the votes taking much longer than normal to count. Add in the confusion that follows and the possibility of Trump contesting the result and it could get very messy, indeed. That must be playing on investors minds”, said OANDAs Craig Erlam
“That would be a lot to take in normal times and we are not living through ordinary times. The election is taking place just as many countries will be in or heading for a potentially devastating second wave of Covid-19, forcing restrictions and maybe even more lockdowns that would be hugely damaging for the global economy. A vaccine can't come soon enough”, he added.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was pretty much flat at around 2.45pm, down just one point at 5,821.
2.00pm: What are the odds? Takeover fever hits the gambling sector
The FTSE 100 has not quite completed its grand old Duke of York impersonation but it is pretty close.
After making a solid start, the index slipped back in the lunchtime session but is now down just 15 points (0.3%) at 5,807./
Part of the recovery can be put down to an interest in gambling shares after FTSE 250 bookie William Hill PLC (LON:WMH) confirmed that it has received not one but two bid approaches from parties prepared to pay cash for the company.
The parties are currently haggling over the price and as per usual the target company issued the usual caveat about there being no guarantee that a bid will emerge but the market has decided that three quid would be a decent price pf William Hill shares; the stock is currently trading at 301.9p, up 39%.
Among the FTSE 100 constituents, Ladbrokes and Corals owner GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC) is 7.4% to the good at 918.8p while Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment PLC (LON:FLTR) is good-to-firm at 12,490p, up 5.2%.
Caesars, William Hill Sports Betting Spinoff Chatter Gains Steam – https://t.co/1lYWpCfHpB
The creation of a Caesars-William Hill online sports betting and gaming spinoff might be imminent if two top analysts recent musings on the matter prove right.
— Betting52 (@Betting521) September 23, 2020
12.20pm: Losses lengthen as traders eye soft start on Wall Street
US indices are tipped to open lower, which might explain why Londons FTSE 100 index has taken a turn for the worse.
Spread betting quotes indicate the Dow Jones will kick off at around the 26,610 level, down 205 points on last nights close.
The S&P 500 is expected to start at 3,224, down 23 points but the NASDAQ Composite is seen opening at about 172 points higher at 10,844, thanks to continued enthusiasm for the tech giants.
The rising number of people in the US being hospitalised with the coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms is making investors increasingly nervous.
“The trend in confirmed US COVID 19 cases has increased over the past week, though the national picture is distorted by a two-day leap in Texas, due to the state reporting a large batch of backlogged tests,” observed Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
The national 7-day average excluding Texas has flattened in recent days, but Shepherdson thinks it's much too soon to know if this will prove sustainable.
“The good news is that the possible levelling-off in national cases comes against a backdrop of rising testing, taking the 7-day average to a record high but the positive test rate remains too high, hovering close to 5%.
“The bad news is that the relatively modest increase in the trend in confirmed cases since the mid-September low has triggered a clear increase in hospitalisations in recent days, probably for two reasons. First, CDC research shows that second wave cases initially were concentrated among young adults, but the infection then passed up the age chain, reaching older people within 15 days. Older people are far more likely to be hospitalised,” Shepherson said.
“Second, the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, from August 7-16, likely has triggered a disproportionate number of hospitalisations, in the Dakotas and elsewhere. The rally appears to have been the biggest-ever Covid super-spreading event, with a recent study suggesting it accounted for one-fifth of all U.S. cases in August,” Shepherdson reported.
Presumably, the motor-sickle [sic] riders thought they could out-run the virus; they would have been better off leaving their skid-lids on throughout the rally.
“Social distancing and mask-wearing recommendations appear to have largely been ignored. The average attendee was about 54 years old, and therefore about four times more likely to be hospitalised than people aged 18-29.”
In other words, old enough to know better.
Our headline estimates suggest that at any given time between 13 and 19 September, around 1 in 500 people not in care homes, hospitals or other institutional settings in England would test positive for #COVID19, an average of 103,600 people https://t.co/fOqrNsqFaq pic.twitter.com/IIpmxtM9K3
— Office for National Statistics (ONS) (@ONS) September 25, 2020
Before we in Britain get too smug, Shepherdson observed that new UK cases have surged at an exponential rate in recent days, and are now above the spring peak.
“Daily hospitalisations are running at only about one-sixth of the spring peak, but are rising steadily. Tightened restrictions on the hospitality sector won't make any visible change to the numbers for a couple of weeks, at least,” he predicted.
Traders will be keeping an eye out for US durable goods data today.
“Durable goods orders are expected to have advanced for a fourth successive month in August, albeit at a significantly softer pace that the average of more than 11% from May to July,” according to Daiwa Capital Markets.
“Daiwa Americas Mike Moran projected growth of just 0.5%M/M [month-on-month], leaving some way to go to reverse the shortfall from the pre-pandemic level,” it added.
The FTSE 100 has seen losses lengthen in the afternoon session, with the index sliding to 5,774, down 49 points.
Tarnished glamour stock Boohoo Group PLC (LON:BOO) has regained some of its allure, rising 9.7% to 355.9p, although it might be worth noting that the term “glamour” originally referred to some sort of magic charm or illusion that disguised the tawdry nature of the thing being glamourised.
Enough of the etymology; why is Boohoo on the up?
“On the back of the review, Boohoo plans to consolidate its supplier list and appoint an individual to implement the new tighter procedures. Dealers reacted well to the news as it shows that Boohoo is going to be running a tighter operation from now on, and therefore the chances of similar allegations being made again are low,” suggested CMCs David Madden.
11.45am: The Footsie slides into the red
Its awfully quiet out there, Carruthers. Perhaps … too quiet?
The FTSE 100 has given up earlier gains and has slipped into the red, down 31 points (0.5%) at 5,792.
The usual suspects are leading the retreat, which is to say stocks deemed most likely to be hit hard by increased lockdown restrictions.
British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (LON:IAG), down 5.8% at 89.74p, is the biggest blue-chip faller, followed by aerospace engineer Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.), which is down 4.2% at 143.75p.
Perhaps surprisingly, none of those three are featured among the most shorted stocks on the London Stock Exchange. IAG has a fairly hefty chunk of shares – 5.8% of the companys issued share capital – out on loan to short-sellers (who have, or intend to, sell the borrowed shares in the hope of buying them back cheaper later on) but Rolls-Royce clearly has its loyal fans, despite it being an open secret in the City that a cash call is inevitable, as just 1.6% of its shares have been lent to short-sellers. The percentage for IHG is 2.4%.
10:30am: IG sees further downside as unlikely for FTSE 100
With eyes on the charts, IG analyst Chris Beauchamp says more trading downside is unlikely for the FTSE 100 after a week hovering at around 5,850.
“A breakout above 5,900 would likely clear trendline resistance and provide a more bullish view,” the CFD trading groups analyst said in a note.
“For now sellers have been unable to make much progress below 5,800, so until this is broken more downside seems unlikely.”
Beauchamp also took a view on the picture for New Yorks S&P 500. “S&P 500 has been trying to build up a decent head of steam al week, but despite rallying off the 100-day SMA yesterday futures are weakening in early trading.
“A drop below 3,200 creates a lower low and reinforces the bearish view, bringing 3,130 into view. Alternately, a recovery above 3,300 might help to revive a more bullish view.”
10.00am: A welcome bit of calm
A bit of tedious inactivity might be just what the market wants after a difficult week and it is getting tedium in spades.
The FTSE 100 is up 6 points (0.1%) at 5,829.
Shares in the water group are up 1.2% at 1,052p.
“Right now, what Pennon arent saying is more important than what they are,” said Steve Clayton, a fund manager of Hargreaves Lansdown.
“Trading is fine, with the impact of Covid-19 on customers ability to pay their bills proving to be as expected and easily managed by the group. Earlier this year Pennon sold their recycling and energy generation business for £4.2bn so the group now consists of the original South West Water business and a pile of cash. How they spend that cash will set the groups course for the future,” Clayton opined.
“The group are looking at acquisitions, but not saying what those might be. They will be returning some of the money back to shareholders, but we have to wait until November to learn how they plan to do this,” he added.
On the macroeconomic front, the public sector finances numbers proved to be predictably scary.
Public sector net borrowing excluding public sector banks — “PSNB ex.” as it is known — was £35.9bn in August, below the consensus forecast of £38.0bn.
Julys figure was revised down to £15.4bn from £26.7bn so there is every chance Augusts figures are just a rough guess.
“Borrowing picked up in August as the government paid out £4.7bn to cover some of the lost income of self-employed workers in Q3 and picked up a £0.5bn tab for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. In addition, the VAT cut for the hospitality sector meant that overall VAT receipts were £3.7bn lower than in August 2019. Nonetheless, borrowing was much lower than the £44.4bn anticipated by the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility], reflecting a much smaller 33% year-over-year increase in central government spending than the 51% rise it had expected, though the data will be revised over time,” said Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“The lack of a positive fiscal impulse means that we continue to expect GDP to flatline at Septembers level — which we judge is approximately 5% below its pre-COVID peak — over the next three months,” Tombs said.
Howard Archer, the chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said: “the state of public finances over April to August heralds what is clearly going to be a record year for the budget deficit”.
“The EY ITEM Club expects the budget deficit (measured in terms of PSNBex) to come in at £360 billion in 2020/21 (17.6% of GDP),” Archer revealed.
8.50am: Small rally after a bloody week
The FTSE 100 opened modestly higher on Friday with the blue-chip index expected to end the week in a far calmer place than it started.
The UK blue-chip index opened 19 points higher at 5,842.50.
After the London close Thursday, Wall Street nudged higher, while the bulk of Asias main markets followed suit.
Closer to home, the consequences of chancellor Rishi Sunaks latest business support plan were slowly being worked through by Londons price setters.
“The moves were never going to be a panacea for the UKs economic ills,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.
“Fiscal support looks likely to wane over the next few months with a further wave of unemployment looking inevitable, as the latest lockdown restrictions begin to bite on several affected sectors.
“In another week dominated by difficulties in sectors such as hospitality and tourism, as well as some further pressure being piled on the banks as concerns of bad debts rise, obvious beneficiaries from the pandemic remain a relatively rare breed.”
There was a 7% bounce for Cineworld (LON:CINE) after the lockdown-related bloodletting earlier in the week.
On the flipside, profit-takers moved in at Pets at Home (LON:PETS) after its strong showing Thursday in the wake of better than expected figures from the retailer.
Proactive news headlines:
Bahamas Petroleum Company PLC (LON:BPC) has told investors that Stena Drillings Stena IceMAX vessel will be used to drill the Perseverance-1 exploration well. The company revealed that Stena has formally notified the group that it has nominated IceMAX for the well, which is consistent with the existing rig contract. Stena also indicated that the start of the contracted window – stated as December 15, 2020, – will be the approximate time for the arrival of the drill ship in the field. Bahamas Petroleum pointed out that IceMAX is one of the most advanced drillships in the world. That means a well spud date is likely to follow about 3 or 4 days later, Bahamas Petroleum noted, and the company specifically said that it expects the well will spud before Christmas.
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA) (LON:TILS), a biotechnology company focused on innovative therapeutics for oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases, has said an interview with its CEO, Dr Kunwar Shailubhai will air on The RedChip Money Report television program on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 6.00pm. EST on Bloomberg International, available in 100+ million homes across Europe. In the exclusive interview, Dr Shailubhai discusses the company's planned spinout of StemPrintER into a new company, Accustem Sciences, as well as its plan to initiate a clinical study with nasally administered Foralumab, a fully human anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody, in patients with coronavirus (COVID-19) in Brazil. The interview will also air in the US on the Action Channel on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 11.00am ET and is available via live stream on American Business TV.
Anglo Pacific Group PLC (LON:APF) (TSX:APY) told investors it has kicked off a £5mln share buy-back programme. The natural resources royalty and streaming company said it sees the current share price as offering significant value, given the implied discount to underlying net asset value and other valuation metrics. The group said it has decided to implement a buy-back as a means to return value to shareholders in an accretive manner, and in a manner that does not jeopardise our ability to finance future royalty additions.
Sativa Group PLC (LON:SATI) said it has become a member of the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) novel food consortium and its landmark toxicology study as part of what it said is its “ongoing commitment to continually deliver the highest level of regulatory compliance and substantiate 'CBD you can trust'". The cannabidiol (CBD) products group said the toxicology study will provide safety data required for novel food dossiers validated by the UKs Food Standards Agency (FSA) to remain on the market after March 31, 2021. Sativa said its team of scientists and quality & compliance professionals in the UK and Poland have worked with the ACI to ensure its products meet quality management criteria.
Circle Property PLC (LON:CRC) has notched up the fourth successive year of growth in its net asset value (NAV). The regional offices specialist revealed that its NAV per share rose by 3% to 285p at the end of March 2020 from 277p a year earlier, in its full-year results statement. Rental income in the year rose to £7.50mln from £6.88mln the year before. Circle saw a 14.16% increase in contracted annual rental income to £8.71mln at the end of March from £7.61mln a year earlier.
San Leon Energy PLC's (LON:SLE) interim results illustrate a company with a strong financial position and outlook. In 2020 to date, the company with investments in Nigerian oil assets received US$41.5mln in payments from operators, via loan note arrangements. Some US$88.7mln of future loan note payments remain. With US$35.6mln in cash at the end of the half-year – US$22.6mln by September 18, 2020, after US$6.8mln was put in escrow – the company said it is positioned to invest and grow further. In early September, new deals were announced which will see San Leon secure an interest in the Oza field, onshore Nigeria.
Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) has confirmed a flush of liquidity, receiving US$10.8mln from oil sales and completing a US$300mln bond issue. Pareto Securities was bookrunner and manager for the bond issue which sees Genel issuing senior unsecured bonds, carrying a 9.25% coupon and maturity set for October 2025. Genel also confirmed it will use US$223mln to repurpose existing unsecured bonds, due December 2022. A separate statement by Genel confirmed receipt of payment from the Kurdistan Regional Government for oil sales conducted this August. Some US$4.7mln was paid to the Taq Taq field partners, giving Genel a net share of US$2.6mln. Tawke field partners received US$33.8mln which means that Genel received US$8.2mln.
Red Rock Resources PLC (LON:RRR) said its Australian gold mining joint venture, Red Rock Australasia has appointed David Holden as exploration manager. Holden was involved in the initial discoveries at Nimary/Jundee, Brocks Creek, Mt Todd (Australia), Ngaka Coal Field (Tanzania), and Big Sandy lithium (USA), said Red Rock. Red Rock Australasia, a 50.1%-owned Australian joint venture with Power Metal Resources (49.9%) has applied for twelve exploration licences in the Central Victoria Gold Fields.
genedrive PLC (LON:GDR) said its coronavirus testing kit has been verified to work with the RNA extraction technology of its collaboration partner. Initial testing took place using Beckman Coulter Life Sciences' chemistryRead More – Source