FTSE 100 rises as Brexit talks resume

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The FTSE 100 defied early forecasts to open into positive territory.
However, the mood remained subdued following Boris’ posh ‘fish supper’ with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The decisive negotiations will continue over the next four days between the UK and the EU with the aim of reaching a trade deal.

However, both sides warned that there were still significant gaps to be overcome before a deal could be reached with the ‘no deal’ option seeking the most likely outcome.

The pound reflected general pessimism as it fell 0.7% to US $ 1.3305.

Profit-takers reduced their positions in Ocado (), the online grocer which initially fell 3.5% after another major update to its trading fundamentals.

Traders cannot be blamed for top slicing after a run that has seen the group more than double in value over the past nine months.

Rising crude oil prices (albeit an increase from fairly low levels) gave Shell a 2% boost ().

A stronger than expected performance by retail conglomerate Frasers Group () saw its shares soar by 11%.

6:44 am: slow start planned

The FTSE 100 is expected to start slightly lower on Thursday as the clock continues to move closer to year-end and the Brexit transition deadline.

IG Markets, the CFD and spread betting firm, sees the benchmark London bluechip down by around 11 points, taking the price from 6,562 to 6,565 with just over an hour ahead the opening.

Attention is pointing in the direction of Brussels and the very last minute discussions that are underway.

“The fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson felt it was worth going to Brussels for dinner with the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen, gives hope that there will be a positive outcome of what has been a tortuous negotiation, ”said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

The analyst added: “Yesterday German Chancellor Angela Merkel defined the EU’s red lines, saying Brussels would accept a no-deal outcome if both sides could not find a way to overcome this major obstacle.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is that while it is recognized that there might be some level of regulatory divergence, it is the arbitration mechanism to resolve issues that is at the heart of the dead end and on which the attention really needs to be focused.

“With time running out, the urgency could not be more immediate with very little time to avoid a no-deal scenario on December 31.”

In the United States, meanwhile, Wall Street stock indexes all fell on Wednesday as Republicans and Democrats continue to play political football with a clearly needed economic stimulus package.

The Dow Jones lost 105 points or 0.35% to close at 30,068 while the S&P 500 fell 0.79% to end the session at 3,672.

The Nasdaq fell the furthest, dropping 243 points or 1.94% to finish Wednesday at 12,338.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei traded 61 points or 0.23% lower to 26,756 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 134 points or 0.51% to 26,371. The Shanghai Composite meanwhile traded just a ribbon lower at 3370.

Around the markets

Pound: US $ 1.3358, down 0.31%

Gold: US $ 1,837 per ounce, up 0.04%

Silver: US $ 23.92 per ounce, up 0.11%

Brent: US $ 49.00 per barrel, up 0.32%

WTI crude: US $ 45.74 per barrel, up 0/3%

Bitcoin: US $ 18,338, up 0.69%

6h45: Early Markets: Asie / Australie

Asia-Pacific stocks traded lower today following overnight declines on Wall Street as investors watched Brexit trade talks and ongoing negotiations in the United States for a plan to help against COVID-19.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index fell 0.23% while South Korea’s Kospi was 0.33% lower.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.54% and in China, the Shanghai composite struggled to move, with the latest trade down 0.02%.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 closed 0.67% lower, making it the index’s first decline in eight sessions.

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Proactive News from Australia:

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Kazia Therapeutics Limited () () (FRA: NV9) has signed a letter of intent with the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium (PNOC) to initiate a clinical trial of several therapies, including Kazia’s new investigational drug, paxalisib (formerly GDC-0084)), in diffuse median gliomas, including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

() () (FRA: B9S) delivered some of the best interceptions to date to King Cobra, as well as other strong results from Ban Chang, both part of the flagship Ta Khoa Nickel-Copper-PGE project in Vietnam.

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Roots Sustainable Agricultural Technologies Limited () has secured firm private placement commitments from institutional, professional and sophisticated investors to raise up to A $ 3,955,851 before costs, which will allow it to aggressively pursue global cannabis opportunities.

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() (FRA: SDL), in collaboration with Australia Ltd, will today begin a trial of the 100% FYI-owned High Purity Alumina (HPA) pilot plant in Welshpool, Western Australia.

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