FTSE 100 at the bottom of a hole as fears of a pandemic grow

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The last time a chancellor quit his job was back in the 1980s, according to Edward Moya of Oanda.

  • FTSE 100 down 117 points
  • gathers after cutting bait on Norwegian company
  • Haynes Publishing steps up after agreed offer

3.30 p.m .: the rally without enthusiasm quickly runs out of steam

A late rally by the London benchmark seems to have run out of steam.

The FTSE 100 lost 117 points to 7,416.

Far from the blue chips, investors applauded Domino’s Pizza Group PLC () to reduce the bait on its Norwegian business.

The pizza delivery franchise operator has agreed to sell its entire interest in DP Norway AS to Pizza Holding AS and EYJA Fjarfestingafelag III EHF, the existing minority shareholders of Domino’s Norway.

The term "sell" is a bit misleading because Domino’s pays £ 7 million to unload the business and has agreed to swallow the Norwegian company's losses until the transfer is complete.

Domino’s shares rose 1.9% to 31.27p.

(), which went on sale some time ago, rose 60% to 690p after accepting an offer from Infopro Digital worth 700p per share.

3:00 p.m .: Footsie stops rot

American indices opened lower with the Dow Jones 177 points (0.6%) at 29,374 and the S&P 500 at 10 points (0.3%) at 3,370.

Like the Dow, the Footsie is falling in triple digits, albeit just; the index was down 102 points (1.3%) to 7,432.

2:15 p.m .: US indices open lower

The US benchmarks were set for large falls after China reported an additional 254 deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the past 24 hours.

The Dow Jones, which climbed 275 points yesterday to close at 29,551, is expected to plunge around 159 points at the start.

The S&P 500, which rose 22 points yesterday, is expected to open at around 3,365, down 14 points.

The headline inflation rate in the United States for January was confirmed at 2.5%, after increasing 0.1% month-on-month after increasing 0.2% in December.

"While headline inflation is above target, the US Fed's preferred measure, Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE), remains relatively well anchored, allowing the Fed to remain accommodative. The labor market remains tight, with a solid non-farm payroll in January and wage growth of 3.1%, giving consumers decent purchasing power to support the economy in 2020; however, this trend appears to be slowing rather than accelerating, "said Robert Alster of Close Brothers Management.

"With the signing of the Phase 1 trade agreement with China, sentiment among US manufacturers could improve, although the coronavirus epidemic may dampen this recovery for a quarter or two. Chinese consumption will be negatively affected, but the real question is how quickly the economy rebounds. Estimates suggest that a slowdown in China in the first quarter could cut global growth by 2020 by 0.2%, but if the impact is prolonged, the Fed may have to rethink its response.

"The elephant in the room is the impending presidential election; more uncertainty than usual around the Democratic nomination has left markets struggling to assess the impact, but if Sanders' early strength continues, business confidence will suffer, "suggested Alster.

1:30 pm: "The book seems to like this reshuffle"

The FTSE 100 was near its lowest point of the day, as the strength of the pound continued to dampen enthusiasm for blue chips.

The London heavyweight index fell 119 points (1.6%) to 7,415, 8 points higher than the intraday trough.

The British pound is up eight tenths of a cent against the dollar against US $ 1.3039 following the surprise resignation of Chancellor of the Treasury Sajid Javid.

"The chancellor's resignation a few weeks before the budget was certainly not in the script," said Tom McPhail, policy officer at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Given the relative lack of a power base for the new chancellor and the rapid rise in the political ladder, the next budget will likely be more elaborated by the Prime Minister than it would have been otherwise; it increases the likelihood of a daring budget with populist spending announcements, "suggested McPhail.

"The trade-off is that it probably also increases the likelihood that targeted tax incentives will pay for the Prime Minister's largesse. Javid is said to have looked into some potentially contentious policy measures, such as a property tax and reductions in tax breaks for the wealthy, and I think today's announcement exacerbates this risk, "said McPhail.

Sterling initially sank in the announcement of his resignation, but mobilized strongly after Rishi Sunak, the chief secretary of the Treasury, was appointed in his place.

"The pound seems to like this reshuffle," said Neil Wilson at markets.com.

"Gilet yields rose higher because the market is betting on that, which means more spending, less austerity and more growth. Traders bet that Johnson and Cummings holding the treasury and controlling the purse strings means more spending.

"This is a blatant takeover by Boris and Cummings of the Treasury - and it comes barely a month before the first post-election budget. At first glance, I think it means that the purse strings are loose. Spending will be dictated by political need and necessity, rather than by the treasury, which curbs political gifts, "said Wilson.

"We know that Boris has a predilection for large infrastructure projects and we also know of his plans to increase spending in the North and Midlands. The prospect of increased spending and fiscal stimulus is positive. Now look for the GBPUSD to hit the 1.3450 level, ”suggested Wilson.

12.15 p.m .: Jav outings

The FTSE 100 index maintained a three-digit lunchtime loss, which was not helped by the shocking reports that Sajid Javid resigned from his post as Chancellor of the Treasury while Prime Minister Boris Johnson carried out a post-Brexit cabinet reshuffle.

BBC News reported that Javid had resigned after rejecting an order from the Prime Minister to fire his staff, saying that no self-respecting minister could accept such a condition.

Javid, the former interior minister who was appointed chancellor by Johnson when he became prime minister in July, was due to present his first budget in four weeks.

He was replaced by Rishi Sunak, former chief secretary of the Treasury.

The news added to the pressure on the top notch index in the UK, although it was already significantly lower, as concerns over the impact of the coronavirus returned once again to the markets, dropping 111 points at 7,423, although they remain above the session low of 7,406.

The fall occurred as the pound rose, the British currency jumping 0.5% against the dollar and the euro.

Commenting on the resignation, Adam Seagrave, Global Sales Trading manager at Saxo Markets, said: “The initial reaction was weaker in GBP, but we are now witnessing a rise to a new high. It is likely the market that interprets the announcement as Boris wanting advisers more willing to support aggressive fiscal stimulus. "

11:00 a.m .: three-digit drop for Footsie

The FTSE 100 is now showing a three-digit drop with only nine index components in positive territory.

The index for major London stocks is down 113 points (1.5%) to 7,422.

Among the few blue-chips showing a little sparkle, Coca-Cola bottler Coca-Cola HBC (), up 3.4% after an optimistic trading update.

() was down 2.5% to 174.86 p after the publication of its results for 2019 and, perhaps more relevantly, media reports which have highlighted the historical links between the CEO of the company , Jes Staley and the sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

"Just when the closing of the PPI scandal could have given Barclays some leeway, the bank will now draw headlines about the relationship between CEO Jes Staley and disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein, but the real shock of Barclays' current annual results are 'the admission that it will not reach the target of 10% return on tangible equity set by Mr Staley and CFO Tushar Morzaria for 2020,' says Russ Mold, chief investment officer from Russ Mold.

Helal Miah, an investment research analyst at the Share Center, said the results are "somewhat encouraging" but remains cautious with the bank.

"He is still involved in many litigation issues and we think he needs to pull himself together and this morning's news about his chief financial officer will not help him get rid of his past. If this problem drags on and becomes a distraction; its activist investor base may rebound to push for cleaner, less controversial leadership, "said Miah.

9:45 a.m .: Centrica retires on a day when risk-averse investors seek refuge in utility companies

The fact that utility companies are among the minority of Footsie companies that are growing today informs you about the mood of the market.

Just do not mention the owner of British Gas (), which is the largest first class faller at 70.14p, down 17%.

Add to that the now standard brutal drop for the operator of the Middle East hospitals under fire (), which is down 7.2%, and some big dividend payers are going ex-div today and there n No wonder the FTSE 100 lost 71 points (0.9%) to 7464.

Overnight, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors reported a continued resumption of sales activity in the US housing market in January.

RICS takes survey results and rebases them to effectively treat them as if it had received 100 responses, then subtracts the number of investigators reporting a decline in activity from those reporting an increase to reach a breakeven figure .

It posted a net balance of + 19%, against + 11% in December. In addition to the increase in the number of homes listed for sale, January saw an increase in the number of people looking to buy as new buyers' requests reached a net balance of + 23% compared to + 19% in December. At the same time, the agreed sales increased for the second consecutive month (a net balance of + 21%).

RICS said survey respondents expect this renewed optimism to continue, with sales expected to increase across the UK in the near term and for the coming year.

"While the improvement was widespread, the largest increase was seen in London, where the home price balance jumped 37 pts to +28, the highest since August 2015, while the price balance houses in the Southeast (up 28 pts) returned to positive territory. for the first time since mid-2017, "noted Daiwa Capital Markets.

"Other details in today's report were also more encouraging for the short-term housing market outlook, with a noticeable increase in the survey measure of the supply of properties on the market - apparently the most significant since summer 2013 - accompanied by an increase in buyer requests and the most agreed sales since April 2014. Thus, the investigators were also more optimistic about short-term sales forecasts, the relevant index being the most strong since 2015, while the short-term price outlook and the next twelve months were the strongest since. early 2016, ”he added.

None of this prevented the PLC (), PLC () and PLC () from falling from 0.9% to 1.5%.

Holdings PLC (), strongly concentrated in London, defied the trend with an increase of 0.4%.

8:35 am: Footsie reinfected with fear

The renewed nervousness around the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is now baptized, hit the London market hard at the start of the session Thursday

The FTSE 100 index opened 65 drops to 7,469.42, following the night falls in Asian markets

A change in diagnostic criteria by Chinese authorities brought us the real picture on Thursday with the infected and dead numbers of the virus firmly on an upward trajectory.

Hope was mounting that the SARS-like virus had started to stabilize.

"Yesterday we warned against your enthusiasm, and throughout the week we warned that the markets were completely out of reach of the big tail risks of this Covid-19 virus," said Dutch bank Rabobank.

“Especially when we all rely on data from China to try to follow this epidemic with precision. Market quants who watched the recent drop in new virus cases on a daily basis woke up this morning. "

Far from viral affairs, no doubt that the highlight of the day, the owner of British Gas Centrica (). Its shares fell 13% at first, as it sank into a loss of more than £ 1 billion in a full year.

The energy giant has been hit by price caps on British household energy bills and depreciated the value of oil and gas producing assets to reflect falling commodity prices.

Proactive news headlines:

() said the Turin court had approved an earlier "expedited" decision confirming the company's majority stake in Sipiem SpA. The court ruled that the minority shareholder of Sipiem had, in 2015, illegally attempted to take control of the company from Clear Leisure.

Amur Minerals Corporation () has appointed an experienced senior banker, Adam Habib, as an advisor to its board of directors on transactions and business development. The AIM-listed company said Habib will be responsible for advancing fundraising activities and establishing strategic partnerships for the continued development of the Kun-Mania nickel-copper sulfide project in Russia.

i3 Energy PLC () has released a company update confirming that its North Sea release efforts are "running smoothly" and that it intends to establish a secondary listing. "The company is progressing well in its outsourcing process to fund a 2020 appraisal drilling program on its assets in blocks 13 / 23c in the British North Sea," said i3E.

() said it had "initial positive discussions" with EU regulators, confirming that it would seek approval for its erectile dysfunction (ED) gel as a medical device rather than a medicine. The company previously said that this approach should provide an easier route for approval and also "represent a broader overall business opportunity."

accesso Technology Group PLC () hailed "strong business results" for 2019 after securing several notable customer renewals and 43 new or expanded ticketing contracts during the year. The electronic ticketing specialist said that he had concluded renewal agreements with several customers, including the owner of the Palace Entertainment theme park and the Washington State fair, while obtaining new customers such as ITV Broadcasting, the Mount Washington Cog Railway and the New York Botanical Garden.

() has confirmed that it is canceling the Chinese partnership in the Barryroe field and that it is undertaking a new subcontracting process. The main objective is to advance the evaluation of the Barryroe field, to respond to the main uncertainties concerning the reservoir and to bring the project closer to the development. Providence currently has sufficient working capital to last until the end of March or the beginning of April, and new financing options are currently being explored.

() opened its 35th UK store in Warrington, Cheshire. The tackle and tackle seller said the 4,500 square foot store in Cockhedge Commercial Park was "ideally located in a very populous and enthusiastic fishing community and is surrounded by lakes and other river sites such as the Mersey River and Weaver ”.

() has told investors that it will update the Saffron well results "as testing progresses". Well testing began in early February, assessing the Lower Cruse reservoir, and previous logging confirmed the Middle Cruse reservoir as a valid secondary target for testing.

() appointed Leo Toole, acting full-time CFO. With over 20 years of experience, Toole previously held positions at Procter and Gamble, ResMed and Sublimity Therapeutics.

() announced the results of the recent drilling program on its Kalahari Suture Zone (KSZ) project in Botswana. The company said the program has provided valuable geological information to management to help understand the KSZ's potential to host large copper-nickel (Cu-Ni) mineral deposits.

Personal Group Holding PLC (), a leading provider of employee services in the United Kingdom, has declared that its first dividend for 2020 of 5.9p per share will be paid on March 27, 2020 to members of the register on February 21, 2020. The The group added that the dividend, the first of four to be announced this year, represents an increase of 1.3% over the equivalent period last year, reflecting the company's progressive dividend policy. Personal Group also announced that it will release its preliminary results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 on Tuesday March 24.

() stated that it had received notification that its non-executive chairman, Patrick Meier, had acquired on February 12, 2020 6,310 common shares of the company at a price of 154.48p each. Following this notification, added the group, the total profit participation of Meier and persons closely related to it is 248,437 shares, representing 0.14% of the issued ordinary share capital of the company.

6:50 a.m .: Footsie should open lower

The FTSE 100 index is expected to start Thursday on backfoot as fears of coronavirus reappear for investors.

CFD and spreadbetting firm IG Markets sees the London index drop by around 10 points, calling the price from 7,508 to 7,511 with just over an hour before opening.

The stock markets continue to fear for the coronavirus in general, and its impact on the Chinese economy in particular.

"The overnight stock markets in China lost ground due to renewed fears about the coronavirus situation," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets.

"Yesterday we hoped the crisis would be over, but in the past 12 hours, perceptions have changed. There has been an increase in the number of cases in China's Hubei province - the epicenter of the emergency, so stocks in mainland China as well as in Hong Kong have plummeted. The benchmarks for European equities are called lower. "

Wall Street registered a positive arrival on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrials Average added 275 points, or 0.94% to close at 29,551, while the S&P 500 rose 0.65% to end the day at 3,379, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 % to 9,725.

However, in Asia this morning, the Japanese Nikkei fell 0.14% to 23,827, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng fell 0.25% to 27,753, and the Shanghai Composite fell 0, 58% to 2,909.

Around the markets:

  • Pound: US $ 1.2949, down 0.08%
  • Gold: US $ 1,573 per ounce, up 0.4%
  • Crude Brent: US $ 55.64 per barrel, up 2.9%
  • Bitcoin: US $ 10,462, up 1.09%

Important events expected on Thursday:

finals: Bank Of Georgia Group PLC (), (), PLC (), Coca-Cola HBC AG (), (), Lancashire Holdings Ltd (PLC: LRE), Relx (PLC)

Interim: (), Grit Real Estate (), PLC ()

Trading updates: Gem Diamonds Ltd (), PLC (), PLC ()

AGM: Chrysalis (LON: CYS), GCP Infrastructure Investments (LON: GCP), (), Paragon Group (), (), ()

Ex-dividends drop the FTSE 100 by 11.9 points: BP (), PLC () (), (), Polymetal International Ltd ()

Economic data: RICS housing market survey, US inflation

City titles:

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