The FTSE 100 opens a new trading week with a groan rather than a roar; AstraZeneca requests as it seeks to reuse coronavirus drug


  • FTSE 100 ahead by 4 points
  • American corporate profits in the eyes
  • on news of coronavirus blood tests

8:40 a.m .: Moderate progress after Easter

The FTSE 100 saw the new trading week begin with a groan rather than the expected roar, as the British blue chip index defied early bullish forecasts to open almost unchanged.

The benchmark London just managed a gain of 4 points to 5,846.18

WATCH: Morning report: flat start for the FTSE 100; Next to the reopening of online and distribution operations

It was thought that better-than-expected trade figures from China, which helped lift the stock markets in Asia, would have a similar impact on activity in London.

Instead, the mood was cautious with Square Mile’s price setters keeping their powder dry. They probably have an eye on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended Monday down almost 400 points as it prepared for a bloody first quarter earnings season.

“We are likely to see a number of canceled dividends, missed profit forecasts and almost completely wiped out futures,” said James Hughes, analyst at Scope Markets.

“With the epidemic causing chaos around the world, investors appear to have been flying blind when it comes to individual stocks,” he added.

Oil prices have not exactly started to rocket following the agreed reduction in production by the OPEC cartel, analysts saying the latest restrictions are simply not enough to support the market, which has been overwhelmed by millions of barrels of excess crude per day.

Footsie’s top ranking was (), which rose 6.5% after announcing the launch of a trial of its blood cancer drug Calquence as a treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19).

A sharp rise in the price of gold to more than US $ 1,700 per ounce had an impact on the silver miner Fresnillo () and the Russian polymer (), which increased by 5% and 6% respectively. The actions of Centamin (), which digs for yellow metal in Egypt, and of Petropavlovsk (), were also in demand.

After the sugar spike created by recent Saudi investments, the cruise company Carnival () was in diabetic territory, losing 6.6%. Reality has hit home with a second potential wave of reported coronavirus outbreaks over the weekend and blockages in the west are expected to continue well into the next month.

Proactive news headlines:

Silence Therapeutics PLC () president Iain Ross said the gene knockout specialist “has clearly become of age” after entering into two major trade deals in less than a year. His comments accompanied the drug developer’s results for the year ended December 31. During the period, he signed a research and collaboration agreement with Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, which resulted in an initial payment of £ 16 million. The group’s largest transaction, with AstraZeneca, was announced on March 25.

() has unveiled its new direction by announcing a reverse transaction in a “well-established” plastics recycling and reprocessing company. The company, which launched the process several months ago amidst comprehensive changes in direction, said the new vehicle would act as a consolidator in the industry. It has so far entered into a non-binding terms agreement for the transaction, which will see up to £ 60,000 in fees payable to the counterparty.

() has signed a “substantial new contract” for a late-stage, open-label Huntington’s disease (HD) study worth £ 10.5 million. The neuroscience data analytics company said the four-year contract will extend to 2024, with the majority of revenues to be generated in 2022 and 2023, bringing the total value of the new deals signed during its current year at £ 15 million. . Meanwhile, the company said it plans to report revenue growth “at least 25%” year-over-year during the six months ended March 31.

() said that its IO # 8 iodine plant in western Oklahoma is now in production. In a statement, the group said the plant was delivered on time and on budget and is expected to increase production levels to reach full skin over the next six weeks. The company said production of crystalline iodine in the first quarter of 2020 was 129.7 tonnes, more or less in line with the 134.4 tonnes produced in the same quarter of 2019.

() has signed a partnership agreement with the American company VictoryXR for the use of the company’s ENGAGE platform. The Virtual Reality (VR) group has said that VictoryXR, which specializes in scientific program content development and dissections of virtual animals in VR and augmented reality (AR), will import its content library to ENGAGE and provide its remote services to school children across the United States as part of an income-sharing agreement. In a separate announcement, VR Education also stated that it had appointed Shard Capital Partners as a joint broker with immediate effect.

(), the regional office property specialist, said it has seen a substantial increase in the value of its real estate portfolio. In a statement, the company said its investment and development portfolio was independently valued at the end of March at £ 139.5 million, up from £ 124.6 million a year earlier. . Net asset value (NAV) per share increased by 4.7% to 290p, compared to 277p at the end of March 2019; the company’s shares are currently trading at 170p.

Bluejay Mining PLC () said that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with a multinational commodity trading company and a major player in the ilmenite market, with a target of 200,000 tonnes per year of ilmenite production in the part of ongoing business discussions. At the same time, the group added, the first bulk sample of heavy mineral concentrate was produced at the Bluejay pilot plant in Contrecoeur for Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium. The pilot plant began operating in February 2020 and had been operating at full capacity for several weeks until the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19).

Directa Plus () has announced that it will provide a special grade of its product G + graphene, known as ITC1, to its partner Iterchimica. The G + product is the differentiating component of Gipave, an asphalt super-modifier developed by Directa Plus and Iterchimica and follows successful trials in Italy and the United Kingdom. The agreement signed by the companies provides for the exclusive supply of the product G + graphene to Iterchimica in the asphalt and bitumen sector worldwide and is for an initial duration of three years.

() (TSE: HZM), the nickel company based in Brazil, has committed to donate 300 food parcels to the municipalities of Conceição do Araguaia, Floresta do Araguaia and Xinguara, in light of the socio-economic impact coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic. Packages are delivered in April and May, the first being sent to families this week. The donations will benefit families in the vicinity of Araguaia’s nickel project municipalities in Horizonte who have been identified as vulnerable during this unprecedented period.

Limited () said there has been little disruption to its tidal activity due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the group noted that electricity continues to be supplied by the MeyGen project in Scotland to the grid and SIMEC Atlantis plans to maintain services there and in Japan for the rest of the year.

() took stock of the companies in its portfolio, as well as its own cash position during the coronavirus pandemic. “We continue to focus on providing investors with exposure to disruptive growth opportunities that have short-term revaluation potential and that would otherwise be inaccessible. To that end, we currently have eight multi-size, multi-sector owned companies, some of which have had notable successes recently while others have not behaved as we hoped, “said FastForward President, Lorne Aborny, in the press release. He noted that the company is currently working with its recipient companies to “monitor their positions and assess any potential impact”. of the coronavirus pandemic.

() revealed the results of its induced polarization survey at the Donovan 2 copper-gold project in Mexico. The company said it has identified two robust drilling targets associated with previously described geological corridors. A drilling program incorporating survey results is currently being planned, he added. US Oil & Gas PLC (USOP) has told investors it hopes to drill a new well in the second quarter 2020 as part of its project in Nevada. The authorization process is underway and, in a statement released on Friday, the company said that despite the effects of the coronavirus, current indications are that US federal and state regulatory processes could not be significantly slowed down. Restrictions on coronaviruses can, however, have an impact on operational delays that cannot be anticipated at this stage, he added.

() told investors that the allocation of shares to its Bahamian fund and the admission of these shares to trading on AIM have been delayed. These regulatory milestones were expected on Tuesday, but have not yet been completed due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Some administrative processes are still pending in the Bahamas, the company said.

() announced the successful conclusion of a second securitized financing agreement of US $ 200 million. The arrangement is arranged Guggenheim Securities, the lead investor is TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) and the company has noted that it retains many of the same important financial characteristics as the previous arrangement.

BlueRock Diamonds PLC () said its Kareevlei mine remains under maintenance and repair after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the lockout period in the country until the end of April due to the coronavirus pandemic. “The extension of the lockout period is not a surprise and is consistent with what is happening in countries around the world,” BlueRock executive president Mike Houston said in a statement.

Nektan (), the international gaming technology platform and service provider, said it had failed to raise the funds for the additional working capital needed to secure the future of the business. As a result, the company said it had started the process in the courts of Gibraltar to seek to appoint a director, whose appointment is expected to take effect on Tuesday. Nektan said he had therefore asked that trading in AIM of his common shares be suspended with effect at 7:30 am today. A new announcement will be made in due course, he added.

() (NASDAQFIRSTNORTH: FARON) has informed its shareholders that its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held on May 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (Finnish time) at the company’s offices at Joukahaisenkatu 6, 20520 Turku, Finland. Due to the situation of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), the group declared that the AGM will only be held if the number of participants in the meeting is low enough to allow it to proceed safely and in accordance with the regulations. by and, therefore, it encourages shareholders to participate in the annual general meeting by means of centralized proxy representation and to follow it by webcast.

6:45 a.m .: Footsie should progress further

The FTSE 100 is scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, while European markets and some Asia Pacific markets will reopen after the long Easter weekend and before the final US earnings season.

The London large-cap stock index is called around 89 points higher by spread betters, after enjoying good momentum while the previous week’s holiday had closed sharply, up almost 165 points to 5,842.66.

Asian stocks were showing the way up Tuesday morning, with the Nikkei 225 up 2.7%, the Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite up 0.9%, boosted by Chinese trade data that didn’t weren’t as bad as we feared.

Wall Street was mixed on Easter Monday, the Dow Jones Industrials Average falling 329 points or 1.4% to 23,390.77 and the S&P 500 by 1%, but the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5%, before that the profit season is not yet fully underway.

“Gains are under threat as the earnings season kicks off this week and no one knows what to expect,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

“The companies themselves are unable to predict what will happen in the coming quarters. The only thing we know is that a global lockout weighed heavily on businesses in the first quarter of the year, but unlike past earnings seasons, we don’t have a plausible benchmark. to effectively judge and compare actual results. “

The debate rages in the United States and elsewhere during the period of closure of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) as the death toll increases, but daily peaks in many countries appear to have been surpassed.

Coronavirus infections worldwide have now surpassed 1.9 mln and the death toll is approaching 120,000, compared to 1.5 mln and just under 95,000 deaths before the long weekend, according to the latest COVID-19 data. from Johns Hopkins University.

In the UK, the government has confirmed that there will be no lifting of the foreclosure at this stage, with suggestions that the measures could be in place for at least four more weeks.

There have been some encouraging developments around the world, with more data confirming that the virus has reached a plateau in Italy, Germany and Spain. Spain has authorized hundreds of thousands of non-essential workers to return to work on Monday, while Germany will decide on Wednesday to modify or extend the restrictions.

Oil prices have moved little despite a 10% reduction in oil production agreement between Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States – the largest supply reduction in history, producers being faced with a collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.

Over the weekend, the company stories included insurer Hiscox () accused of not paying “valid” business interruption claims related to the coronavirus pandemic; retail giant Next () restarts online shopping after a two-week hiatus; pubs are preparing to throw out thousands of barrels of beer that have passed their expiration date; and the water regulator is preparing to relax the rules on leakage penalties this year.

Tuesday should be a fairly calm day in terms of macroeconomic data, apart from the string of earlier Chinese trade figures and a small survey of the CBI’s UK financial services industry overnight which has showed a rather unsurprising drop in optimism in financial services in the three months to March.

The city’s newspaper is also nearly empty, but there will likely be many unexpected announcements from companies alerting investors to how they are coping with the pandemic.

The translation provider SDL, which recently mentioned that there had been no material impact on the activities of the coronavirus, apart from a slowdown in decision-making, is on the schedule. Measures have been put in place to save £ 8 million, while 2019 ended with net cash of £ 26.3 million, alongside bank facilities of £ 120 million.

Around the markets:

  • Delivered: British pound up 0.4% to US $ 1.2559
  • Oil: barrel of Brent crude up 0.6% to US $ 31.94
  • Gold: one ounce of yellow metal dish at US $ 1,662.50

Important announcements expected on Tuesday:

Finals: (), ()

Trading announcements: Sirius Real Estate Ltd ()

City titles:


  • Britain will remain stuck for another three weeks as the cabinet debates whether to encourage certain people to return to work.
  • Wall Street suffered the worst coronavirus crash, as long as there is no secondary epidemic in the United States, said
  • North Sea “panic” as pandemic sets off perfect storm – British offshore oil industry faces a watershed moment that could change it forever
  • British American Tobacco is the subject of a criminal investigation by the regulatory authorities in the United States for suspected non-compliance with the sanctions.


  • Brexit negotiators try to pick up pieces as talks resume – Coronavirus disruption has delayed UK-EU agreement on future relations
  • China posts trade surplus after easing of coronavirus shutdown – authorities are cautious as export markets in Europe and the United States remain under quarantine
  • European governments scramble to find agricultural workers for the harvest – coronavirus stops continent’s seasonal migration patterns


  • Donald Trump has said that Opec + is looking to double cuts in oil production to 20 million barrels a day because a historic deal promising record restrictions has failed to raise prices.
  • Businesses are withdrawing credit lines at a record pace as businesses enter “survival mode” to cope with a sudden downturn in economic activity.
  • According to the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), house prices will drop 13% by the end of 2020 as transactions weaken and home buyers are hit by a deep recession.


  • Call for end to ‘triple lock’ in UK pensions after coronavirus crisis – all generations should pay enormous economic cost, thinktank says


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