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FTSE 100 falls as US coronavirus deaths top quarter of a million; Goldman upgrade boosts Morrisons

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A late sell-off in the US made for another negative open here in London with rapidly rising coronavirus infection rates the focus of market anxiety on both sides of the Atlantic.

The US has recorded a quarter of a million deaths, while mortality rates in Spain and Italy are on the increase.

Meanwhile, a third vaccine candidate looks to have entered the race. The Oxford University-AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) developed jab showed an encouraging immune response in the older population most at risk from COVID-19.

The caveat here is the data for the Oxford-AZ drug was derived from a phase II clinical trial, where the efficacy of Pfizer’s and Monderna’s inoculations has been copper-bottomed by a much larger-scale phase III study.

We’ll get the read-out from the Oxford-AZ phase III in the coming weeks, the market has been told.

AZ stock opened higher, before giving up most of its early gains.

A 4% fall in shares of B&Q owner Kingfisher (LON:KGF) smacked of profit-taking after more than doubling in value from a pre-lockdown low.

It also reported that sales growth had slowed – marginally and from fairly unsustainable levels.

Discount retailer B&M Europe (LON:BME) led the Footsie fallers with a 4.3% decline as it began trading without the entitlement to a dividend payment.

On the upside, Morrisons (LON:MRW) jumped 3.7% after Goldman Sachs upgraded stock in the Bradford-based supermarket chain to ‘buy’ from ‘sell’.

6.39: FTSE 100 called lower 

The FTSE 100 is called close to 1% lower ahead of Thursday’s open as global equities respond to rising fears that lockdown will be extended in a number of major economies.

CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Markets sees London’s blue-chip benchmark falling some 56 points, making the price 6,331 to 6,334 with just over an hour to go until the open.

Markets have been boosted by the promise of vaccines on the horizon but evidently the immediate day-to-day news continues to provide reasons to be fearful.

“US markets slipped back for the second day in a row, after New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure of schools in response to the rise in cases. With mortality rates starting to rise again in Spain and Italy and infection rates rising to a record in Japan this northern hemisphere winter looks like being a long and dark one,” noted CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“The late sell-off in the US looks set to translate into a softer open here in Europe later this morning, after another mixed Asia session, and this is where investors need to make a calculation in balancing the risks of the virus, vs the vaccine.

The analyst added: “With infection and hospitalisation rates rising, and the risk that current lockdown restrictions either remain in place, or get extended into 2021, the probability that any economic damage will become permanent is only likely to increase.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones gave up 344 points or 1.16% to close Wednesday at 29,438 and similarly the S&P 500 also lost 1.16%, to finish the day at 3,567.

The Nasdaq meanwhile slipped 0.8% lower to end at 11,801 and the small-cap Russell 2000 index shed 1.26% to 1,769.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei was trading 93 points or 0.36% lower at 25,634 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 117 point or 0.43% at 26,433. The Shanghai Composite was marked in positive territory, up 0.43% at 3,361.

Around the markets

The pound: US$1.3232, down 0.31%

Gold: US$1,860 per ounce, down 0.6%

Silver: US$23.98 per ounce, down 1.38%

Brent crude: US$44.09 per barrel, up 0.7%

WTI crude: US$41.31 per barrel, down 0.29%

Bitcoin: US$17,776, unchanged

6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia

Asia-Pacific markets were mixed today following a fall in US stocks for a second straight day, pausing a recent rally to new records.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.36% while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.13%.

In China, the shanghai composite was up 0.44% and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index fell 0.45%.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 recovered its morning losses by rising 0.25% before the market closed.


Proactive Australia news:

Havilah Resources Ltd (ASX:HAV) is launching a share purchase plan (SPP) following the oversubscribed $2.55 million placement to institutional and sophisticated investors on November 16.

Pharmaxis Ltd (ASX:PXS) has received FDA approval for its Bronchitol® cystic fibrosis treatment, which chief executive officer Gary Phillips labels ‘transformational’ for the company.

Moho Resources Ltd (ASX:MOH) has hit high-grade gold from resource definition diamond drilling, designed to infill and extend gold mineralisation at the East Sampson Dam (ESD) gold prospect within the wider Silver Swan North Project in Western Australia.

Euro Manganese Inc (ASX:EMN) (CVE:EMN) (FRA:E06A) has taken a key step in bringing Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic to production by placing an order for a high-purity manganese products demonstration plant.

Emyria Limited (ASX:EMD) is partnering with Mind Medicine Australia to co-develop a gold-standard and data-driven clinical model for the safe provision of psychedelic-assisted therapies in Australia.

Bardoc Gold Ltd‘s (ASX:BDC) results from recent resource definition and exploration drilling at the cornerstone Aphrodite deposit, part of its 3.03-million-ounce Bardoc Gold Project near Kalgoorlie, demonstrate growth potential in the under-explored Sigma Lode.

Red River Resources Limited (ASX:RVR) has received strong results from a maiden diamond drilling program targeting Curry’s Lode at the Hillgrove Gold Project in northern NSW with all holes intersecting gold-tungsten-antimony mineralisation.

Sipa Resources Limited (ASX:SRI) (FRA:SPO) chairman Tim Kennedy explained at the annual general meeting the company’s decision to diversify the nature of its exploration portfolio and put more weighting towards gold projects.

Musgrave Minerals Ltd (ASX:MGV) (OTCMKTS:MGVMF) (FRA:6MU) chairman Graham Ascough told the AGM today that he believes the company’s CueGold Project in the well-endowed gold-producing Murchison region of Western Australia is a game-changer.

Matador Mining Ltd (ASX:MZZ) executive chairman Ian Murray told the AGM today that the past 12 months has been transitional for Matador, as the company pursued the key objective of discovering sufficient gold resources to support annual production rates of around 100,000 ounces over an initial 10-year life of mine at Cape Ray in Newfoundland, Canada.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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