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FTSE 100 ends higher on lockdown easing hopes; Wall Street mixed after initial false start

  • FTSE 100 closes up 86 points
  • US stocks mixed at midday
  • Domestic stocks boosted by Boris’ optimism

5.10pm: Traders ride reopening faith to positive finish

The FTSE 100 closed up 86 points, 1.3%, at 6,824, while the FTSE 250 added 262 points, 1.2%, to finish at 21,994.

“The FTSE is playing catch-up after yesterdays US market outperformance,” IG Senior Market Analyst Joshua Mahony wrote Tuesday. “With Boris Johnson confident that the reopening process can go ahead as planned, we are seeing domestically-focused names at the forefront of the gainers.”

Stagecoach Group PLC (LON:SGC) is among the leaders, as its share price improved more than 5% to 107p.

In the US, the Dow was down 19 points, less than o.1%, at 33,508 just after noon. The tech-centric Nasdaq fared better, picking up 55 points, 0.4%, to 13,761, and the S&P 500 gained 6 points, 0.2%, to 4,084.

“US markets struggled to maintain the bullish momentum seen throughout yesterdays session. The dollar has been under pressure after a period of outperformance, with weakness for the greenback helping to lift commodity prices,” Mahony wrote. “The recent pullback in treasury yields has provided a brief period of strength for precious metals, with gold continuing to build on the gains seen over the past week.”

4.01pm: Consumer companies in demand

Leading shares continue to have a bright afternoon, as the next stage of lockdown comes ever closer.

Cinema and pub shares are higher in expectation of the consumer’s return, with Cineworld PLC (LON:CINE) up 5.38p or 5.42% at 104.6p and JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) 3.59% or 49p higher at 1414p.

Even companies linked to long distance travel are on the way up, despite the continuing uncertainties over when that may return to normal. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines (LON:IAG) has climbed 5p or 2.39% to 214.55p while aero engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC (LON:RR.) is uup 3.68p or 3.38% at 112.6p.

So the FTSE 100 is currently up 97.24 points or 1.44% at 6834.54.

In the US the number of job openings rose to a two year high in February. The number of available positions rose from 7.1m to a better than expected 7.37m, suggesting employers could be set to increase hiring in the coming months. 


The news has helped US markets come off their worst levels, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average now down 20 points or 0.06% at 33,506.

3.10pm: Proactive North America headlines:

EVmo Inc (OTCMKTS:YAYO) hits record yearly revenue in 2020 results; plans to make 2021 the year of the electric vehicle

The Parent Company Holding Corp (NEO:GRAM.U) (OTCQX:GRAMF) (OTCPINK:GRMWF)  launches its Caliva CLUB cannabis loyalty program

One World Lithium Inc (CSE:OWLI) (OTCQB:OWRDF) heads closer to restart of drilling at Salar del Diablo; notes increased investor interest in the lithium sector

Thunderbird Entertainment Group (CVE:TBRD) (OTCMKTS:THBRF) says an interactive episode of ‘The Last Kids on Earth’ will stream on Netflix Group Inc (OTCQB:RCRT) acquires artificial intelligence software company,

Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc (CSE:AGN) (FRA:AGW) (OTCQB:AGNPF) appoints Dr Steven L. Wolf as a consultant for its clinical research program for the treatment of stroke

NEXE Innovations Inc (CVE:NEXE) (OTCMKTS:NEXNF) (FRA:NX5) says its Xoma Superfoods eCommerce store is now live

American Battery Metals Corporation (OTCQB:ABML) executives laud electric vehicle-focused money in President Biden’s infrastructure proposal

BioSig Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:BSGM) says top-rated leading hospital system has purchased its PURE EP systems for multiple campuses in its national network

CO2 Gro  Inc (CVE:GROW) (OTCQB:BLONF) (FRA:402) to debut its Delivery Solutions technology in Israel at Pharmocann Global’s cannabis greenhouse

KWESST Micro Systems Inc (CVE:KWE) (OTCQB:KWEMF) signs exclusive agreement with AerialX Drone Solutions for counter-drone technology

Vox Royalty  Corp (TSXV:VOX) (OTCMKTS:VOXCF) welcomes news on Jangada Mines’ Brazil vanadium project where it holds a 1% NSR

ME2C Environmental (OTCQB:MEEC)monetizes patent portfolio by inking agreements with US power producers

Safe-T’s Zero Ltd (NASDAQ:SFET) (TASE:SFET) Trust Network Access featured in March 2021 Gartner Research report

Vicinity Motor Corp (CVE:VMC) (OTCQX:BUSXF) (FRA:6LG) says its buses selected by Washington State in state-wide purchasing contract

TechX Technologies Inc (CSE:TECX) (OTC:TECXF) (FRA:C0B) investee Catalyx to list its Canadian stablecoin on the Bittrex Global Exchange

Karora Resources Inc (TSE:KRR) (OTCMKTS:KRRGF) (FRA:5RN1) makes second major nickel discovery at Beta Hunt mine in Western Australia

Naturally Splendid Enterprises Ltd (FRA:50N) (CVE:NSP) (OTCPINK:NSPDF) appoints marketing executive, Drago Adam to its Advisory Board

Lexaria Bioscience Corp (NASDAQ:LEXX) (CSE:LXX) to evaluate DehydraTECH in four drug markets

Phunware Inc (NASDAQ:PHUN) (FRA:2RJ)  board approves $1.5M bitcoin purchase ahead of Customer Data Platform and Mobile Loyalty Ecosystem commercial launch

Codebase Ventures Inc (CSE:CODE) (FRA:C5B) (OTCQB:BKLLF) acquires 50% stake in non-fungible token start-up, InstaCoin

Aurelius Minerals Inc (CVE:AUL) (OTCMKTS:AURQF) (FRA:1GA) reveals highest gold grades drilled to date at its Aureus East gold project in Nova Scotia

Global Energy Metals Corporation (CVE:GEMC) (OTCMKTS:GBLEF) (FRA:5GE1) solidifies deal to acquire Råna nickel-copper-cobalt project in Norway

Telson Mining Corporation (CVE:TSN) (OTCMKTS:SOHFF) (FRA:TSGN) reports steady improvement of throughput and recoveries at Campo Morado mine

Valeo Pharma Inc (CSE:VPH) (OTCQB:VPHIF) (FRA:VP2) enters into LOI with pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance over Redesca and Redesca HP to prevent and treat thromboembolic disorders

Planet 13 Holdings Inc (CSE:PLTH) (OTCQB:PLNHF)  co-CEO says ‘Las Vegas is back’ and touts jump in Q4 cannabis revenue

First Mining Gold Corp (TSX:FF) (OTCQX:FFMGF) (FRA:FMG) enters partnership to advance Hope Brook gold project

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp (CSE:CANN) (OTCQX:HERTF) (FRA:2UE) Premium 5 and RAD brands set to debut in New Brunswick

Pure Gold Mining Inc (CVE:PGM) (LON:PUR) (OTCMKTS:LRTNF) (FRA:L11A) says high-grade underground drill results at Red Lake augur well for near-term mine plan

Global Energy Metals Corporation (CVE:GEMC) (OTCMKTS:GBLEF) (FRA:5GE1) solidifies deal to acquire Råna nickel-copper-cobalt project in Norway

HempFusion Wellness Inc (TSX:CBD.U) (OTCMKTS:CBDHF) (FRA:8OO) to enter Asian market through Alibaba’s Tmall marketplace

AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE:AGRA) (OTCMKTS:AGFAF) (FRA:PU31) and other owners to sell edibles business for $35M to Organigram Holdings

Ready Set Gold Corp (CSE:RDY) hits robust gold mineralization over significant widths with first holes of maiden program at Northshore project

2.44pm: Wall Street opens in the red

The main indices on Wall Street got off to a negative start on Tuesday as markets fell back from yesterday’s record performances.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.21% at 33,457 while the S&P 500 dropped 0.16% to 4,071 and the Nasdaq fell 0.13% to 13,688.

There is little to get markets excited this morning, however one early winner was California-based drugmaker Catalent Inc (NYSE:CTLT), which rose 0.8% to US$106.57 after reports it has agreed to double production of Moderna Inc’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 had continued to push higher despite the slow start in New York, rising 89 points to 6,826 just before 2.45pm.

2.14pm: Good recovery from pandemic expected

The global economy is forecast to grow more strongly than previously expected, according to the latest report from the International Monetary Fund.

In its half yearly World Economic Outlook it said the world economy would grow by 6% in 2021 and 4.4% in 2022, compared to the previous predictions of 5.5% and 4.2% respectively.

The UK is expected to grow by 5.3% this year and 5.1% next, up from 4.5% and 5% in earlier forecasts.

The news is helping to support the FTSE 100, currently up 80.97 points or 1.2% at 6818.27.

12.56pm: US set for downbeat start

US markets are expected to pause for breath after hitting record highs on Monday. (Well the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 reached new peaks, the Nasdaq Composite fell short of a record despite rising 1.7%).

Postive US payroll numbers on Friday and strong service sector figures on Monday helped Wall Street’s rise, but with little on the agenda now apart from job openings and the latest IMF economic forecasts, investors are likely to hold back today.

Sophie Griffiths at Oanda said: “US futures are pointing to a slightly downbeat open after the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 reached all-time highs in the previous session. The economic calendar is relatively quiet, with JOLTS job openings taking centre stage.”

The Dow is forecast to open 30 points or 0.11% lower, with the S&P down 0.18% and the Nasdaq off 0.26%.

Still, with Europe still playing catch up after the Easter break and Germany’s Dax hitting a new peak on the country’s plans to have 20% of its population vaccinated by the beginning of next month, the FTSE 100 is still happily in the green, up 84.8 points or 1.26% at 6822.10.

11.21am: UK markets in sunny mood

Amid the bright start for UK markets, AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) is missing out on the gains.

It is down 35p or 0.4% at 7137p after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed reports that UK regulators were considering restricting the use of the Oxford/Astra jab for people under 30 on worries they may be most affected by any risks of  blood clots.

Elsewhere though the buoyant post-Easter mood continues.

The FTSE 100 is up 89.83 points or 1.33% at 6827.13 while the more domestically focused FTSE 250 is benefiting from the prospect of the timetable out of lockdown still being on track. The mid-cap index is 1.17% or 254.61 points higher at 21,987.28, moving closer to its all-time high in January 2020.

The big risers in the FTSE 250 include those likely to gain from the planned reopening. Cruise company Carnival PLC (LON:CCL) has climbed 5.23% or 85p to 1710.8p while Cineworld Group PLC (LON:CINE) is up 4.93p or 4.97% at 104.15p and transport operator FirstGroup PLC (LON:FGP) is 3.85p or 4.17% higher at 94.95p.

10.25am: Commodity companies in demand

BP PLC (LON:BP.) is one of the big gainers in the leading index, up 3.66% or 10.6p at 300.4p.

The oil giant said it expected to reach its debt reduction target ahead of schedule thanks to bumper disposal proceeds, with 60% of these heading back to shareholders through share buybacks.

Other commodity companies are also in demand on signs that the global economy can recover from the pandemic before too much longer. Copper specialist Antofagasta PLC (LON:ANTO) has added 58.5p or 3.46% while Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) has risen 179p or 3.27% to 5659p.

The leading index is slightly down on its earlier gains but is still showing a healthy rise of 78.88 points or 1.17% at 6816.18.

AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said: “The FTSE 100 was playing catch up after the Easter break, enjoying strong gains after global stocks rallied hard on Monday, supported by strong US and Chinese economic data.

“The S&P 500 in the US reached another record level overnight – an occurrence so regular it no longer feels like such a milestone but a catalyst for improved sentiment nonetheless…

“Travel stocks moved higher despite tourism chiefs voicing some disappointment with the plans announced for international travel from the UK yesterday.

“The rest of the week could see markets struggle for direction with relatively few big corporate announcements on the horizon.

“Given investors’ current understandable obsession with what will happen next on inflation and interest rates – tomorrow’s release of minutes from the latest meeting of the US Federal Reserve are likely to be closely followed to get a sense of the central bank’s current thinking on monetary policy.”


9.59am: Food delivery shares in the spotlight

Deliveroo (LON:ROO) cannot seem to get a break.

Just a couple of days after its flop flotation, comes news of a key development from one of its rivals. 

Uber Eats has just launched a partnership with French catering giant Sodexo to deliver food from restaurants in 240 cities, with the aim of extending it to other European and Latin American countries in the coming months.

After an initial fall Deliveroo has shaken off the concerns, adding 2.07% or 5.84p to 287.84p. Unconditional trading in the shares is due to start on Wednesday and Neil Wilson at said: “Let’s see what kind of reaction there is as the thousands of retail clients who have watched the sharp decline last week get a chance to offload (remember these were Deliveroo customers who were not necessarily owners of any stocks before).”

Meanwhile Just Eat (LON:JET) is one of the day’s big fallers in the leading index, down 101p or 1.47% at 6792p. The prospect of fewer takeaways as restaurants reopen must also be doing some damage to sentiment for the business.

The FTSE 100 meanwhile is up 92.49 points or 1.37% at 6829.79, boosted by strong performances over Easter from the US markets and signs from the UK government that the  reopening timetable is on track.

9am: FTSE rises after Easter

Riding roughshod over earlier expectations, the FTSE 100 got off to a strong start on the back of a delayed reaction to better-than-expected US job numbers.

“The recovery trade is at full throttle, with the major US indices hitting new record highs,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“Monday was the first chance for markets to react to the bumper non-farm payrolls figure from Friday, where a hugely better than expected 916,000 jobs were added, while the unemployment rate also declined to 6%.

“Coupled with a strong services activity report which also jumped to a record high, and with the vaccination rollout also advancing strongly, gains across the board reflected the renewed optimism.

“Alongside the impending effects of the major stimulus packages on spending and infrastructure, the strength of these economic data also raises hopes that any number of solid readings will now become the order of the day as the nascent US economic recovery moves into full growth mode.”

Top of the risers with a 5.9% gain was utility SSE (LON:SSE), whose shares continued to react positively to Thursday’s disposal of the contracting division. Though modest, the sale may herald a rush of further divestments, analysts said.

The miners were well bid amid hopes of a sustained economic upturn. Anglo American (LON:AAL) led the way with a 2.8% advance.

International travel-related stocks IAG (LON:IAG) and Rolls-Royce (LON:RR.) proved resilient as they rose 2.2% and 2.1% respectively. 

The upward movements belied the rather gloomy outlook for overseas holidays delivered in the cautious update from PM Boris Johnson on Monday.

Proactive news headlines

Oncimmune Holdings PLC (LON:ONC) has landed two substantial new contracts for an infectious disease panel that can help predict the severity of COVID-19 along with the potential effectiveness of vaccines and other drugs used to treat it.

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said it was encouraged by the results of a surface mapping and sampling programme carried out on its newly acquired Nueva Andromeda permit, strategically contiguous to the San Celso silver project in Zacatecas State, Mexico.

Fintech firm Cornerstone FS PLC (LON:CSFS) joined the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange after raising £2.7mln.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said it is now listed on the UK government’s website to offer two and eight-day coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine tests for travellers returning to the UK.

IQ-AI Ltd (LON:IQAI) said its subsidiary, Imaging Biometrics (IB), has received another grant award from the US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The company said the award, the third NCI grant IB has received within the last two years, is for around US$3mln in funding and will begin on April 15.

Gore Street Energy Storage Fund PLC (LON:GSF) is looking to raise funds in a placing and retail offer to help fund its development pipeline of 1.3 gigawatts and accelerating development of its existing portfolio. 

Caledonia Mining Corporation PLC (LON:CMCL, NYSE:CMCL) lifted its quarterly dividend for the fifth time in 18 months and said it is confident of making further increases based on its outlook . It also brought its Central Shaft at the Blanket mine into operation.

88 Energy Ltd (LON:88E) said the results from the Merlin-1 well were encouraging for the potential at Project Peregrine, in the NPR-A region of the North Slope of Alaska, but operational issues dogged initial drilling.

Rosslyn Data Technologies PLC (LON:RDT) said its chief executive, Roger Bullen, is stepping down from the board with immediate effect but will remain available to the company for the next six months to provide transition assistance.

Zoetic International PLC (LON:ZOE) said its novel food application for its cannabidiol (CBD) products has passed a Food Standards Agency (FSA) administrative check carried out across the industry.

Oriole Resources PLC (LON: ORR) said it acquired a controlling stake in local holding company Reservoir Minerals Cameroon Sarl (RMC) for its early-stage exploration licences in Cameroon.

United Oil and Gas  PLC (LON:UOG) has achieved a positive outcome in its drilling of the ASD-1X exploration well in the Abu Sennan concession in Egypt. In a separate announcement, the company said  the Italian government has given environmental approval for the development of the Selva natural gas field concession in Northern Italy, in which United Oil and Gas owns a 20% economic interest.

US Oil & Gas Plc (USOP) announced it has submitted Notices of Staking (NoS) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to drill three wells on the West Play of its acreage in Hot Creek Valley, Nevada.

Pantheon Resources PLC (LON:PIP) said it started flow testing at the Talitha #A well on Alaska’s North Slope after delays caused by blizzards.

Argentex Group PLC (LON:AGFX), the foreign currency specialist, said revenues are near to pre-pandemic levels after bouncing back in the second half of the year to end March 2021.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (LON:NCCL) said commissioning of its solar power project in Mozambique is on track to meet its revised June 2021 target and that a previously announced bridging loan is close to being finalised.

Zanaga Iron Ore Company (LON: ZIOC) said the re-costing exercise of Stage One of the Zanaga iron ore development project is being completed and is expected to be concluded around the middle of this month.

ZAIM Credit Systems PLC (LON:ZAIM) said its subsidiary Zaim Express LLC has entered into a loan agreement for an additional 50mln Russian roubles (£0.5mln) with a duration of 1.5 years and an annual interest rate of 15% payable monthly.

Mosman Oil and Gas Limited (LON:MSMN) has acquired an additional 20% interest in the Duff lease in Texas.

Metal Tiger PLC (LON:MTR) noted that further to its announcement of 15 December 2020, shareholders of Cobre Limited today approved the resolutions relating to a share purchase agreement that, once it has completed, will result in Metal Tiger owning a 59.57% economic interest in Kalahari Metals Limited, comprising a 49% direct interest and a 20.72% interest in Cobre, which in turn will have a 51% interest in KML. All conditions to the transaction have now been satisfied, save for final receipt of the change in control approval from the Minister of Mineral, Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Botswana.

Coinsilium Group Limited (LON:COIN) said the value of its cryptocurrency holdings have rocketed over the past two months as prices across the asset class have soared.


6.46am: Quiet day forecast despite US market gains

The FTSE 100 is not expected to rise again after the Easter weekend but begin the foreshortened week on the back foot.

London’s blue chip index was heading for a 34-point decline ahead of opening trades on Tuesday, according to the IG spread-betting platform.

Overnight, Wall Street, which did not benefit from the four-day weekend, bustled higher as the dollar fell and bond yields eased.

The Dow Jones climbed 1.1% to 33,527.19, while the S&P 500 rose 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.7% as a strong manufacturing PMI survey yesterday combined with a reminder of Friday’s impressive non-farm payroll numbers.

“That was enough for the FOMO massive to click the buy buttons as fast as they could until their mouses blew up,” said market analyst Jeffrey Halley at Oanda.

With a quiet day ahead expected, Halley also highlighted how upward pressure could start to be imposed on gas prices from the situation in Ukraine, which he said has been somewhat ignored by markets and the world, with Russian and Belorussian armed forces massing on Ukraine’s Eastern border, spurring fears that more ‘peacekeepers’ may soon be on the ground.

“That will expose yet another strategic European Union and German strategic misstep, placing Europe’s energy security in the hands of an unreliable totalitarian state to the East (think Nord-Stream 2)…Boots on the ground in Ukraine will see oil and gas prices, something the EU could do without right now.”

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Tuesday after major indices on Wall Street surged to record closing highs overnight.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong surged 1.97% but the Shanghai Composite in China slipped 0.22%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1.25% while South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.23%.

Shares in Australia rose, with the S&P/ASX 200 lifting 0.93%.


Proactive Australia news:

Noxopharm Ltd (ASX:NOX) has filed a patent for its anti-cancer drug Veyonda® for use in the fight against septic shock, following compelling COVID-19 pre-clinical data.

Cipherpoint Ltd (ASX:CPT) has completed the 100% acquisition of Brace168 Pty Ltd, making the innovative IT and cybersecurity solutions business a subsidiary and integral part of Cipherpoint.

Peninsula Energy Ltd (ASX:PEN) (OTCMKTS:PENMF) (FRA:P1M) is predicting a net cash margin of between US$8-$9 million in 2022, as it stocks up on uranium concentrate to meet demand.

Metro Mining Ltd’s (ASX:MMI) updated bauxite reserves and resources support the company’s intention to maintain and expand production at the Bauxite Hills operations in Far North Queensland over many years.

Anson Resources Ltd (ASX:ASN) (FRA:9MY) has increased the exploration target at its Paradox Brine Project in the US after a review of historical drilling data confirmed a massive, supersaturated brine aquifer in the Mississippian Leadville Formation within the project claims at a depth of around 8,000 feet.

Cirralto Ltd (ASX:CRO) has loaned its long-term fintech partner Invigo $2 million as it seeks to extend strategic commercial funding programs and support the deployment of B2B buy-now-pay-later products.

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