- FTSE 100 slides 27 points
- Corporate merry-go-round moves up a gear
- Flutter Entertainment gets lukewarm reception for interims
You know it’s a quiet morning when most of the big news from the Footsie companies concerns directors getting on their bikes.
Or maybe those directors know something about the economy that we don’t?
Perhaps we’ll find out this afternoon when US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell gives his virtual presentation at the Jackson Hole talking shop.
The aerospace engines maker hit the skids again after its half-year results and news that chief financial officer Stephen Daintith is quitting to take up a similar gig at groceries delivery technology firm Ocado Group PLC (LON:OCDO).
Ocado’s current chief bean-counter (see what I did there?), Duncan Tatton-Brown, is stepping down for family reasons.
Online supermarket and technology group @Ocado has announced that Duncan Tatton-Brown will step down as chief financial officer after eight years in the role and be replaced by @RollsRoyce finance chief Stephen Daintith. #retail #ecommerce #online #ocadohttps://t.co/6TxVCrYvol
— ESM Magazine (@esm_magazine) August 27, 2020
The bookie has also lost a director; non-executive Rafael Ashkenazi, who joined when Flutter took over The Stars Group, has quit the board.
Final news from the Footsie merry-go-round/revolving pig’s trough came from accountancy software group Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE), where the chairman, Sir Donald Brydon, is stepping down after nine years in the chair.
Shares in Ocado were 0.2% lower at 2,530p while Sage was 0.3% weaker at 756.4p.
Proactive news headlines
BATM Advanced Communications Ltd (LON:BVC) has signed its first tier-1 customer for its NFVTime virtual networking solution. The customer, an Asia-headquartered telecommunications provider to multi-national enterprises and communication service providers globally, has entered a three-year licensing agreement after carrying out a proof-of-concept trial.
Keywords Studios PLC (LON:KWS) has acquired Maverick Media Limited, a video games creative marketing agency, in a deal worth up to £3.6mln.
The video game development services group said London-based Maverick had “little client overlap” with its other marketing studios and so will further extend its client relationships in a growing area.
Gaming Realms PLC (LON:GMR) said it has signed its first multi-state direct-integration agreement with its existing partner, Rush Street Interactive (RSI), one of the fastest-growing gaming firms in the US. The AIM-listed firm’s existing partnership with RSI, which currently sees its Slingo Originals portfolio distributed in New Jersey through a remote game server, is being extended to incorporate the addition US state of Pennsylvania, RSI’s largest territory.
MetalNRG PLC (LON:MNRG) said it is close to completing a deal to acquire a UK oil and gas business, although due to COVID-19 restrictions the formal completion of the transaction has been delayed. Technical, financial and legal due diligence has been completed and deemed satisfactory and the company is now finalising a share purchase agreement to acquire the privately-owned company.
AEX Gold Inc’s (LON:AEXG) chief executive has hailed a “significant increase in activity” across its portfolio in the first half of its current year. CEO Eldur Olafsson added that following a C$72.7mln fundraise and AIM listing in July, the Greenland-focused gold group “is in a very strong position” and funded for planned work at its Nalunaq project, where it is currently performing exploration and pre-development work.
Pembridge Resources PLC (LON:PERE) has announced the departure of another shipment of copper concentrate from the Minto mine in Canada’s Yukon region. It is the second shipment since the Minto mine re-opened and is expected to arrive at the port of Niihama, Japan, by mid-September.
Ariana Resources PLC (LON:AAU) saw an 18% increase in gross income from its Kiziltepe Mine in Turkey, buoyed by a fall in costs below US$500 per gold ounce, a rise in stockpiled silver sold and higher precious metals prices. The company, which owns the operation with local partner Proccea Construction, said precious metal sales generated US$9.9mln in the second quarter.
Galantas Gold Corporation (LON:GAL) said in its second-quarter results statement that certain underground work continued at its Omagh mine in the first half of 2020. Ore production remains suspended until finance is available to expand the underground operation but following the suspension of blasting operations at the mine the processing plant has continued to operate on a limited basis.
IronRidge Resources Limited (LON:IRR) announced it has been accepted as a member of the European Battery Alliance (EBA250). The AIM-listed firm said membership will provide access to a network of potential industrial, academic and government partners throughout the value chain, from mining to recycling, as well as market research information, visibility and cooperation opportunities.
Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) told investors it has subscribed new equity in Sable Resources Ltd (CVE:SAE), with the investment set to give it a 1.05% stake in the company. Toronto-listed Sable is a precious and base metals explorer in Latin America with assets in Mexico, Argentina, and Peru.
Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES) has now raised a total of £1mln as further shares were issued to satisfy demand from existing shareholders.
Peterhouse Capital raised an extra £250,000 through the issue of 89,285,714 shares as part of a broker option facility at a price of 0.28p per share.
Scancell Holdings PLC (LON:SCLP) said a consortium led by its chief scientific officer will receive government funding to kick start clinical development of a long-acting COVID-19 vaccine based on the company’s technology. The drug developer said it expects to receive around £2mln of the sum awarded by Innovate UK, which should underwrite the majority of the costs of the phase I trial, which gets underway next year.
Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (NASDAQ:TLSA, LON:TILS) noted that an interview with its chief executive and chief scientific officer Kunwar Shailubhai is now available for investors on YouTube. In the interview, Shailubhai updates shareholders on its three patented treatments, including methods and use of anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies for treatment of Crohn’s Disease, including Tiziana’s lead drug Foralumab; as well as comments on the company’s clinical pipeline and near-term milestones for reporting data for its oral and nasal Phase 2 clinical studies with Foralumab and its plans for clinical development of a novel fully human monoclonal antibody for COVID-19.
Live Company Group (LON:LVCG) said it will be hosting an investor webinar via Monecor UK Ltd on Wednesday September 2 at 17:00.
8.50am: Waiting for Jerome Powell
The FTSE 100 made a subdued start with traders keeping their powder dry ahead of a virtual conference for central bankers in lieu of the usual bash in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Any comments from the US Federal Reserve will be picked over with relish by commentators looking for so-far-lacking forward guidance from America’s rate-setting body.
Turning to the market, Rolls Royce shares were down 5.5% after the aero-engines maker revealed just how tough the market was as it pledged to sell assets worth £2bn to shore up its finances
Self-help measures have led to £350mln in cost reductions that will help towards its target of £1bn this year.
“The company’s troubles have been well known and in today’s update, it revealed plans to help whip itself into shape,” said CMC Markets’ analyst David Madden.
Heading the Footsie list of risers was WPP (LON:WPP), which advanced 5% after better than expected interims, which were accompanied by a pledge to restart dividend payments.
6.36 am: Footsie headed higher?
The FTSE 100 is set to mark a sliver higher on Thursday as the opening of the Jackson Hole symposium comes into focus for equity markets.
CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Index sees London’s blue-chip benchmark about 4 points higher, making a price of 6,047 to 6,050 with just over an hour to go until the open.
US Federal Reserve chair Jay Powell will address online attendees later today and the central banker is very much in people’s attention.
Speculation points to expectations that he may let slip that the Fed is preparing to tolerate above-target inflation in the short term in order to support broader economic stability.
“He is also likely to ram home the message from his previous press conference that the recovery still largely depends on the virus, and the Fed remains ready to do whatever is necessary to support the economy,” said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.
“At the risk of coming across as rather glib, I’m not altogether sure how this is any different to what central banks have been doing for the past twelve years, and appears to come across as rather desperate.”
The analyst added: “The Fed may well be able to anchor market expectations about its inflation targeting, however we already know from the Bank of England’s experience of the last 12 years, when it let inflation roar up to 5%, without nudging rates up, that it is easier to say than it is to do.
“As such this could well be a buy the rumour, sell the news type of move as we head towards the weekend.”
Powell’s comments will come against a backdrop of at least superficially strong equity pricing on Wall Street, meanwhile, the latest hurricane warnings in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico stimulated crude oil levels.
Wednesday saw the Dow Jones gain 83 points or 0.3% to close at 28,331 while the S&P 500 climbed another 1% to finish the day at 3,478 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index advanced further, rising 1.73% to close at 11,665.
In Asia, meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei fell 104 points or 0.45% to 23,186.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng moved 0..83% lower to 25,281 and the Shanghai Composite added 0.47% to 3,348.
Around the markets
The pound: US$1.3206, down 0.03%
Gold: US$1,943 per ounce, down 0.44%
Silver: US$27.21 per ounce, down 0.56%
Brent crude: US$45.76 per barrel, 0.2%
WTI crude: US$43.39 per barrel, up 0.09%
Bitcoin: US$11,369, down 0.07%
6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia
Shares in Asia Pacific were mixed today as the latest data showed China’s industrial sector grew 19.6% in July compared to last year, an increase from the 11.5% gain in June.
China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.44%, while the Shenzhen Composite jumped 0.58%.
Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.91% and in Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed 0.46%.
The S&P/ASX 200 is easing back in the final 90 minutes of trade with a 0.18% gain as financials traded lower but mining and health stocks were still ahead.
Proactive Australia news:
Predictive Discovery Ltd (ASX:PDI) has further expanded the Bankan Creek zone at Bankan Gold Project in Guinea after receiving results of up to 42 metres at 2.8 g/t gold from 12 metres to the end-of-hole.
Lake Resources NL (ASX:LKE) (OTC:LLKKF) has taken another big step in its strategy to deliver ‘clean’ lithium to the growing global green energy push by appointing leading battery technology and materials company Novonix to produce high-performance lithium-ion battery test cells.
Lithium Australia NL’s (ASX:LIT) 90% subsidiary Envirostream expects to begin regular recycling end-of-life (EOL) electric vehicle (EV) batteries in coming weeks after signing further agreements with two additional battery suppliers.