The FTSE 100 seemed to ignore the latest disastrous working numbers to open flat.
Layoffs hit a record 370,000 in the third quarter as the unemployment rate rose to 4.9%.
“This time close to Christmas is a horrible time for hundreds of thousands of people who find themselves without work,” said Sarah Coles, of the Hargreaves Lansdown Fund Supermarket.
“The scale of the job losses meant that it was inevitable that the government had to do something, but left it to the 11th hour to announce an extension of the holiday program – which would have been too late for thousands of people.
Concerns over Brexit, a new strain of Covid and sending London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire to strict ‘level three’ restrictions have further added to the grim mood in Square Mile.
In the market, JD Sports’ ($ 325 million) acquisition of an American retailer, Shoe Palace, was greeted with more enthusiasm than its abortive tilt for Debenhams with stock up 4.3% in the first transactions.
Covid’s rebound action Rolls Royce () continued to succumb to profit taking after rising from less than 40p to 135p earlier this month. Sentiment around the stock, down 2.4%, was not helped by Panmure Gordon’s demotion to “sell”.
Finally, JP Morgan revisited the manufacturers, passing Redrow () to “overweight”, while reducing Berkeley to “neutral”. The former remained unchanged, while the latter lost 1.6%.
6:50 am: No more misfortunes for investors
The FTSE 100 is expected to extend its losses until a third day, as news of a new strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) emerging in the UK offsets any further optimism about a possible Brexit deal.
London’s blue-chip index was called 24 points lower ahead of Tuesday’s opening, having ended down nearly 15 points or 0.2% to 6,531.83 the day before, although the FTSE 250 averaged capitalization ended 0.7% higher.
The situation was equally mixed overnight on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrials Average closed nearly 185 points lower, or 0.6% to 29,861.55 and the S&P 500 lost 0.4%, but the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 0.5%.
In addition to confirming that London and much of south-east England will be subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Monday that more than 1,000 cases of a new viral strain had been discovered all over England.
Hancock said the new strain was spreading quickly, but insisted doctors were confident the vaccines would still work on this mutant strain.
CMC Markets market analyst Michael Hewson said: “The disclosure of this new strain has added to the uncertainty in the markets as Christmas approaches.”
On the plus side, he said there would likely be an improvement in market sentiment due to a renewed sense of optimism that the UK and the EU might be able to close the gap on a Brexit deal.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, hinted that there had been a “movement” on the principles of so-called level playing fields in the deal and that negotiators were now working on “the details. “.
Around the markets:
- Pound up 0.1% to US $ 1.3342
- down 0.7% to US $ 49.94
- Gold up 0.78% to $ 1,839.49
6h45: Early Markets – Asie / Australie
Asia-Pacific shares were lower on Tuesday, as concerns about a surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in several countries offset optimism about the vaccine rollout in the United States.
China’s industrial production grew 7% year-over-year in November, while retail sales rose 5% from a year ago.
But Chinese stocks were weaker with the Shanghai Composite down 0.03% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index down 0.57%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 0.17% and South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.21%.
Shares in Australia were also weaker, with the S & P / ASX 200 closing 0.43% lower after China formalized its ban on imports of Australian coal.
READ OUR ASX REPORT HERE
Proactive News from Australia:
() generated $ 3.6 million in free cash flow after completing its third toll machining campaign from test mining at the Boorara gold project, 10 kilometers east of Kalgoorlie -Boulder in the gold fields of WA.
Recent aerodynamic drilling by Yandal Resources Ltd (ASX: YRL) at the Gordons Gold Project has defined several new zones of significant gold mineralization, extending the strike length of the Gordon’s Dam project to 1.5 kilometers.
The US subsidiary () of HighCom Armor Solutions has obtained permanent export licenses for ballistic products to Mexico and has already placed US $ 2.1 million in orders.
() (FRA: RNF) has received firm commitments to raise $ 4 million before costs in a placement to accelerate its extensive gold drilling programs in Western Australia and Brazil.
() launched its first aerodynamic drilling at the Noombenberry Halloysite-Kaolin project, east-south-east of Merredin in Western Australia.
() achieved record half-year sales and is on track for a 30% increase for the first six months of fiscal 2021 compared to the same period of fiscal 2020.
() (FRA: LIF) completed the second tranche of a placement that raised a total of $ 1.155 million to accelerate the company’s gold and base metals exploration programs in Western Australia.
‘s () () (FRA: H5O) The double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II clinical trial for the anti-inflammatory treatment ArtemiC, based on the technology of the Swiss AG MyCell Enhanced ™ delivery system, on people diagnosed with COVID-19, met all phase II primary and secondary endpoints and demonstrated improved clinical recovery in patients.
Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited () has started installing more than 1,000 heat exchange probe units at the My Green Fields cannabis farm in northern Israel.
The proposed joint venture partner () YGH Australia Investment Pty Ltd (Yansteel) received a favorable result from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) for its planned investment of $ 130 million to acquire 50% of the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project in Western Australia.