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FTSE 100 opens in positive territory with market buoyed by stimulus and vaccine hopes

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  • FTSE jumps 67 points in early trade
  • Shell leads risers on oil rally 
  • TUI and Cineworld on the vaccine rebound

8.35am: Vaccine optimism puts London on front foot

The FTSE 100 made a better-than-expected start to the new trading week as it advanced almost 70 points or 1% in early exchanges.

The blue-chip index took its cue from Asia, which enjoyed a buoyant opening session.

Japan provided the ‘eye candy’ as the Nikkei breached the 30,000-point level for the first time since 1990.

Stimulus and vaccine roll-out optimism provided international markets with the early shot in the arm.

“Anticipation is slowly growing as the fight against the pandemic progresses, underpinned by financial support from governments and central banks in repairing scarred economies,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“The glass is certainly half-full in the US at the moment, with the S&P500 and NASDAQ again hitting record highs.

“Tailwinds are in abundance, with a significant stimulus package looking increasingly likely, a strong earnings reporting season and an accelerated vaccine rollout programme each stoking generally positive sentiment.”

Among the risers was Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA), which advanced 3.4% after a sharp spike in the crude oil price over the weekend amid heightened tensions on the Arabian peninsula. BP (LON:BP.) was up 2.4%.

Barclays (LON:BARC) and BHP (LON:BHP) rose 4.4% and 3.4% respectively ahead of corporate updates later this week.

Vaccine bounce-back stocks TUI (LON:TUI), the travel group, and picture house chain Cineworld (LON:CINE) rose 4.2% and 3.4% as bargain-hunters used the benign market conditions to top up on the two potential post-lockdown winners.

Proactive news headlines

Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG) said dosing has commenced with its inhaled interferon beta product as part of a US government-funded phase II/III coronavirus clinical trial.

Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) announced it has agreed to acquire learning and talent development software provider Bridge for US$50mln (£36mln) using existing cash resources.

Mode Global Holdings PLC (LON:MODE) said it will launch its novel payments and loyalty solution powered by Open Banking in the second quarter of 2021, which it said will provide merchants with “an alternative to rising card interchange fees” and boost loyalty amongst consumers.

DeepVerge PLC (LON:DVRG) has signed non-binding heads of terms with mass spectrometer maker Microsaic Systems to enter a multi-year framework services agreement through which DeepVerge which be appointed as a non-exclusive agent to promote the latter’s technologies.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy Limited (LON:SAE) said its tidal turbine and generation equipment has been successfully installed in the Goto Island chain in Japan. 

Impax Asset Management Group PLC (LON:IPX) has acquired the remaining 16.7% of Pax World Management LLC that it did not already own.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it has submitted its novel food application for validation to the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) ahead of the March 31 deadline as part of what it said is a “commitment to continually deliver the highest level of regulatory compliance and product quality”.

Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE) told investors that it is confident its careful approach to distribution would ultimately lead to better sell-through rates as it provided an update on the progress of its rollout of CBD products on both sides of the Atlantic.

AfriTin Mining Ltd (LON:ATM) has agreed a new offtake agreement for tin concentrate from the Uis mine in Namibia with its existing trading partner, Thailand Smelting and Refining Corporation (Thaisarco), as well as signing an inaugural offtake agreement with AfriMet Resources AG for its future tantalum production.

Strategic Minerals PLC’s (LON:SML)(USOTC: SMCDY) 100%-owned subsidiary Cornwall Resources Limited has been notified that the ‘Deep Digital Cornwall’ project led by the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines, in which Cornwall Resources and Cornish Lithium are delivery partners, has been awarded funding by the European Regional Development Fund. Strategic Minerals’ Redmoor exploration licence area will be used as a field laboratory for collection of geochemical and geophysical data, which will also provide information relevant to a number of new prospects. 

Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP) has completed an initial soil sampling programme on its Jundee East gold project in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia, and has now commenced ground-based gravity surveying over key target areas.

United Oil & Gas PLC (LON:UOG) told investors that the ASH-3 production well at the Abu Sennan project, in Egypt, will begin initial testing in the coming days.

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) achieved a sixfold increase in revenue in the six months to the end of November as it continued to establish partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the key areas of oncology, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.

APQ Global Limited (LON:APQ) noted that, as at the close of business on January 31, 2021, its unaudited book value was 36.69 US cents (26.72p) per share.

Mosman Oil and Gas Ltd (LON:MSMN) announced that it has received notification to exercise warrants over a total of 10,000,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 0.15 pence per share. The exercise of the warrants of will add A$27,000 of funds to Mosman’s existing cash reserves.

CentralNic Group PLC (LON:CNIC) notified that its preliminary unaudited results for the 2020 calendar year will be on March 1, with the audited annual report and accounts published towards the end of April.

Kromek Group PLC (LON:KMK) has posted a circular to shareholders in respect of its firm placing, directors’ subscription and open offer to raise up to £13mln.

6.50 am: Footsie set to start new trading week on front foot

The FTSE 100 look set to open firmly in positive territory, buoyed by the showing of Asia’s main markets, which in turn were supported by vaccine and stimulus optimism.

Japan’s Nikkei stood out as it pushed through 30,000 for the first time in 31 years; however, it was reflective of a region where bourses are bubbling along near peak levels.

With the sideshow of Donald Trump’s impeachment now over, newly elected President Biden is expected to turn his full attention to the economic bail-out package for the world’s largest economy.

Anything less than the well-trailed US$1.9 trillion injection is likely at this stage to be seen as disappointing.

Elsewhere, the UK appears to be at the vanguard of something other than Covid infections having inoculated 15mln people, or just over a fifth of the population.

The national press this morning was cautiously optimistic about a staged return to normality in the spring.

The Daily Mail said: “There could be light at the end of the tunnel as ministers discuss plans to allow for shops to re-open, families to be reunited and self-catering staycations to be given the go-ahead if COVID-19 infection rates continue to plummet amid the vaccine rollout.”

Expect the oil stocks to be marked up with crude prices up around 2% in early Monday trading amid heightened tensions on the Arabian peninsula.

Reuters said the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone that was believed to be fired by the Iran-aligned Houthi group toward the kingdom, state TV reported, raising fears of fresh Middle East tensions.

Looking ahead, the week appears to be a fairly busy one for corporate news with updates mainly from banks and miners.

Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN) and BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP) lead the way on Tuesday, followed by Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) on Wednesday and Hochschild Mining PLC (LON:HOC).

On Thursday, Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) will be the first of the FTSE 100 banks to report its full-year earnings numbers, with NatWest Group PLC (LON:NWG) on Friday being the second.

Price moves

  • Pound US$1.3897 (+0.35%)
  • Bitcoin US$47,070.37 (-4.38%)
  • Gold US$1,824.30  (+0.1%)
  • Brent crude US$63.65 (+1.95%)

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Major stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region were higher on Monday as Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged past the 30,000 level for the first time in more than 30 years.

South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.5% while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia closed 0.91% higher.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged 1.91% to 30,084 points.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan as well as the U.S. are closed on Monday for holidays.


Proactive Australia news:

Alicanto Minerals Ltd (ASX:AQI) is trading higher after securing tenure of the high-grade Sala Silver Project, just 100 kilometres from its Greater Falun Copper-Gold Project in Sweden

Maximus Resources Limited’s (ASX:MXR) (FRA:M5F) ongoing diamond drilling has returned up to 48.4 g/t gold and extended mineralisation at Redback Gold Deposit within its Spargoville tenements, around 24 kilometres from Kambalda in Western Australia’s premier gold and nickel mining district.

Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX:CPH) (FRA:1X8) (OTCMKTS:COPHF) has secured a comprehensive distribution agreement with leading nutritional supplements company, Route2 Pharm Pvt Ltd for its hemp-derived therapeutic products exclusively into Pakistan and Philippines, and non-exclusively into other potential target markets.

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd’s (ASX:MXC) (LON:MXC) (OTCMKTS:MGCLF) ongoing pre-clinical research program into the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of aggressive glioblastoma brain cancer has been expanded to explore the use of nanotechnology in relation to the most effective treatment delivery systems.

Queensland Pacific Metals Ltd’s (ASX:QPM) (FRA:4EA) pilot plant test-work has confirmed the flowsheet, providing confidence to proceed towards a definitive feasibility study for the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project in North Queensland.

Nanoveu Ltd (ASX:NVU) has executed a 12-month exclusive distribution agreement with CuVira Ltd for Nanoveu’s products, including Nanoshield antiviral products, in the UK market.

Ora Banda Mining Ora Ltd (ASX:OBM) (FRA:M6N) has signed a A$15 million credit approved offer with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) (OTCMKTS:CBAUF) (FRA:CWW) for hedging and working capital purposes to support prudent risk and capital management during the ramp-up phase, subsequent to the first gold pour at Davyhurst on February 7, 2021.

Orthocell Ltd (ASX:OCC) has received a new US divisional patent for CelGro® that covers the method of manufacture of collagen medical devices and as an aid in the surgical repair of soft tissue injuries.

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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