FTSE 100 ends just lower as pharma companies lift the major indices; US markets give up early gains

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  • FTSE 100 down 14 points
  • US stocks mixed
  • Pharma companies move higher

12:10pm: Markets still largely hugging the flatline

The FTSE 100 closed Wednesday down 14 points, 0.2%, at 7,081, while the FTSE 250 lost 137 points, 0.6%, to 22,759.

“It has been another day where stock markets aren’t particularly keen to go up, and those that are in the red are only seeing some modest profit-taking,” IG Chief Market Analyst Chris Beauchamp wrote. “…European markets have shown a touch more downside, with the likes of the Dax slightly skittish sitting at record highs, in case the ECB meeting does prove to be more exciting than anticipated.”

In the US, the Dow was back down again at midday, dropping 37 points, 0.1%, to 34,563. The industrials started in the red and broke into positive territory only to drop back down. The Nasdaq was up 22 points, 0.2%, to 13,947 after losing much of its early gains, and the S&P 500 added 2 points to 4,229.

The newest meme stock appears to be Clover Health Investments Corp (NASDAQ:CLOV), which gained 85% on Tuesday and added another 15% to a high of $28.85 at the open. Since, though, the stock has tumbled to $19.26, a 13% dip on the day.

3.20pm: Leading shares continue to drift

With little impetus from Wall Street, the FTSE 100 continues to drift rather aimlessly.

The leading index is currently down 12.62 points or 0.18% at 7082.47.

There are some bright spots. The prospect of travel over the summer as Europe and the US both began to ease restrictions continues to lift British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG).

It retains its place as the top riser in the blue chip index, up 3.53%.

Medical products group Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.) has added 2.89%, supported by a postive recommendation from analysts at Credit Suisse.

Pharmaceuticals firms are also moving higher, with  AstraZeneca PLC (LON:AZN) adding 2.02% and GlaxoSmithKline PLC (LON:GSK) up 1.91%.

But metal price weakness has pushed miners lower, with Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL) down 2.73% and its spin-off Thungela Resources Ltd (LON:TGA) 8.83% lower at 131.32p.

2.52pm: Proactive North America headlines:

Vuzix Corporation (NASDAQ:VUZI) rises to the ranks of the Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes

ION Energy Limited Ltd (CVE:ION) (OTCQB:IONGF) (FRA 5YB) commences exploration at Baavhai Uul Lithium Salar Project in Mongolia

Marble Financial Inc (CSE:MRBL) (OTCMKTS:MRBLF) (FRA:2V0) subsidiary Inverite Verification teams up with PowerSports to help Canadians access recreational vehicle financing

Alpine 4 Holdings Inc (OTCQB:ALPP) says subsidiary Thermal Dynamics International now holds $14.6 million in backlog orders

Neo Lithium Corp (CVE:NLC) (OTCQX:NTTHF) (FRA:NE2) welcomes updated resource for its flagship Argentina project, which underlines its scale and potential

Talon Metals Corp (TSE:TLO) (OTCMKTS:TLOFF) (FRA:TAO) reports multiple thick intersections of massive nickel-copper mineralization at CGO West area

Heritage Cannabis Holdings Corp (CSE:CANN) (OTCQX:HERTF) (FRA:2UE) launches its new frozen cannabis edible product RADsicles

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CVE:AQS) (OTCQB:AQSZF) (FRA:AEQ) says it will maintain commercial relationship with Sandoz into 2022

Esports Entertainment Group Inc (NASDAQ:GMBL) and partner to hold virtual event to discuss using cinema venues to host gaming events

Starton Therapeutics Inc advances transdermal lenalidomide STAR-LLD program following successful skin permeation studies

TechX Technologies Inc (CSE:TECX) (OTC:TECXF) (FRA:C0B1) says portfolio cryptocurrency company Catalyx launches Canadian dollar-backed stablecoin on top-15 global exchange

First Mining Gold Corp (TSE:FF) (OTCQX:FFMGF) (FRA:FMG) says JV Partner at Pickle Crow Gold completes stage one earn-in

Renforth Resources Inc (CSE:RFR) (OTCPINK:RFHRF) (FRA:9RR) poised to start drilling at its Surimeau District battery metals project; reports more Parbec drill results

Braxia Scientific Corp (CSE:BRAX) (OTCMKTS:BRAXF) (FRA:496) team-led guidelines into clinical uses of ketamine and esketamine published in prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry

Ascendant Resources Inc (TSE:ASND) (OTCMKTS:ASDRF) (FRA:2D9) begins a new preliminary economic assessment on its Lagoa Salgada project in Portugal

American Manganese Inc (CVE:AMY) (OTCMKTS:AMYZF) (FRA:2AM) applauds new White House report on building resilient battery supply chains in the US

GoviEx Uranium Inc (CVE:GXU) (OTCQB:GVXXF) (FRA:7GU) sees ‘some very remarkable intercepts’ in Falea project exploration drilling

Organic Garage Ltd (CVE:OG) (OTCQX:OGGFF) (FRA:9CW1) talks possible expansion, Instacart success and the Future of Cheese in corporate update

Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) caught in Reddit memestock mania as shares surge in pre-market deals

Ximen Mining Corp (CVE:XIM) (FRA:1XMA) (OTCQB:XXMMF) begins camp construction for exploration program around Kenville gold mine in British Columbia

Unigold Inc (CVE:UGD) (OTCQX:UGDIF) (FRA:UGB1) reports drill results from Candelones in the Dominican Republic, which underline project’s potential

2.42pm: Wall Street opens mostly higher

The main indices on Wall Street were mostly in the green on Wednesday morning despite investor activity cooling into the summer period.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.03% at 34,587, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.19% to 4,235 and the Nasdaq rose 0.45% to 13,987.

One set of stocks seeing a positive start to the day were Clover Health and Clean Energy Fuels, two firms recently caught up in the latest ‘memestock’ trading frenzy spearheaded by members of the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets.

In early deals in New York, Clover was up 11.5% at US$24.69 while Clean Energy surged 37% to US$13.56.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 has slipped lower into late afternoon, falling 21 points to 7,073 at around 2.40pm.

2.18pm: Crude rise helps oil companies

Leading shares are off their worst levels, with oil companies providing some support.

BP PLC (LON:BP.) is 0.24% better at 323.97p while Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSA) has risen 0.74% to 1394p

Brent crude has moved 0.54% higher to $72.61 a barrel, while the US benchmark WTI is up 0.41% at $70.34.

Oil has been helped by signs of increased demand as global economies recover from the pandemic.

And the prospect of oil from Iran coming back onto the market and boosting supply seems to have receded.

Sophie Griffiths at Oanda said: “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken soothed concerns of Iranian oil flooding back into the market. He said that even if the Iran nuclear deal were revived, hundreds of US sanctions would remain.

“The ducks have lined up nicely for the oil market right now. With no OPEC meeting due until early July, oil could well target USD72.00 in the coming weeks.”

So after touching a low of 7046, the FTSE 100 is now down just 16.28 points or 0.23% at 7078.81.

12.27pm: US markets set to drift

Wall Street is on track for an uninspiring open as investors play it cool ahead of this week’s latest inflation figures.

Trading is becoming a little thinner as the summer approaches, which is not helping matters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is expected to open down 17 points or a miniscule 0.05%. The S&P 500 is forecast to edge up 0.09% while the Nasdaq Composite is set for a 0.29% rise.

After the bell there could be some excitement, when one of the most (in)famous meme stocks, GameStop Corp (NYSE:GME) is due to report is quarterly figures.

GameStop shares have jumped 80% in the past month, and they are trading nearly 1% higher in pre-market.

The stock was the most traded on the US market during a January frenzy that was driven by investors on Reddit‘s wallstreetbets trading forum.

According to Reuters, analysts are forecasting revenue of $1.16bln for the quarter ending in April, up 14% from the year before when the pandemic hit sales of brick and mortar stores. 

A loss of 84 cents a share is on the cards.

Back in the UK the FTSE 100 remains in the red, down 39.84 points or 0.56% at 7055.25.

11.44am: Bank’s Haldane warns on pricing pressures

Leading shares continue to decline, with the FTSE 100 falling 42.69 points or 0.6% to 7052.4.

Comments from the Bank of England‘s chief economist Andy Haldane are not helping to cool the concerns about rising inflation, and any consequent moves by central banks to rein in their supportive measures.

Haldane, who leaves the Bank this month, warned on Tuesday the UK housing market was “on fire.” 

This morning  he told LBC radio that there were “some pretty punchy pressures on prices” and suggested the Bank could act at some point.

He said: “We could start tightening the tap on that [the Bank’s stimulus programme], slowing down the amount of money we’re printing, and ultimately perhaps even starting to turn that around.”

The fall in the leading index would have been even worse if not for the rise in travel shares.

International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG) continues to climb. It is now biggest riser, up 3.83% to 205.6p.

11.15am: Bitcoin bounces

Bitcoin prices have recovered some recent lost ground after El Salvador backed plans by president Nayib Bukele to make the cryptocurrency legal tender in the Central American nation.

Nigel Green, chief executive of financial advisory firm deVere Group, said: “Where El Salvador has led, we can expect other developing countries to follow.

“This is because low-income countries have long suffered because their currencies are weak and extremely vulnerable to market changes and that triggers rampant inflation…

“By adopting a сryptocurrency as legal tender these countries then immediately have a currency that isn’t influenced by market conditions within their own economy, nor directly from just one other country’s economy.

“Bitcoin operates on a global scale and is, as such, largely impacted by wider, global economic changes.” 

Bitcoin is now up 2.76% at US$34,123.

9.59am: Airlines flying high

News that the EU parliament has approved vaccine passports to ease travel this summer as well as the US easing some restrictions has put a spring into travel and leisure stocks.

British Airways owner Intercontinental Airlines Group PLC (LON:IAG) has climbed 1.71% to 201.4p and Ryanair Holdings PLC (LON:RYA) has risen 1.45% to €16.77.

This despite both airlines facing action from the UK competition watchdog over their refusal to give refunds to customers who were unable to travel during lockdown.

Wizz Air Holdings PLC (LON:WIZZ) is 1.6% better while EasyJet PLC (LON:EZJ) has added 1.3%. Travel group TUI AG (LON:TUI) is up 0.46% at 418.3p.

Hotel groups are also in demand with Whitbread PLC (LON:WTB) 0.42% better and Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) 0.97% higher.

But with sterling up 0.2% at $1.4177, those companies which earn in dollars are proving a drag on the market including mining stocks like Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL), which is down 2.33%.

So overall the leading index is 30.92 points or 0.44% lower at 7064.17.

9.08pm: Medical products group outperforms

In a downbeat day for the FTSE 100 so far, Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.) is a standout performer.

Shares in the medical products group have jumped 3.97% or 58.5p to 1531p after analysts at Credit Suisse raised their recommendation from neutral to outperform.

But there was further profit taking in the housebuilders following Monday’s gains after the latest evidence from the Halifax of Britain’s booming housing market.

Persimmon PLC (LON:PSN) has lost 2.45% while Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) is down 1.69%.

Overall, the leading shares index continues to head lower, down 39 points or 0.55% at 7056.09.

8.28am: Investors remain cautious 

Leading shares are heading lower at the open, with the FTSE 100 down 27.73 points or 0.39% at 7067.36.

Inflation jitters continue to be on investors’ minds, with the latest Chinese data adding to the concerns.

The headline consumer price index came in at 1.3% in May, up from 0.9% in April. As recently as February the index was showing a fall of 0.2%. 

More startling was a 9% surge in factory gate prices, up from 6.8% in April as commodity prices jumped.

Central banks including the US Federal Reserve continue to maintain that inflationary pressures are transitory, as the big drops in prices seen a year ago due to the pandemic work their way through the system.

But looking at the Chinese figures, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “There is increasing evidence that various supply side issues are starting to create a situation where rather than being transitory, inflation pressures could become more persistent. It is certainly something Chinese business is becoming more concerned about, along with Chinese authorities given recent steps to curb the recent sharp rise in commodity prices.

“This is a situation that central bankers appear to be remarkably relaxed or complacent about, depending on which side of the fence you happen to be on.”

So markets are likely to remain uncertain ahead of Thursday, which sees the latest US inflation numbers.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said: “Tomorrow’s consumer price index reading in the US is expected to reveal that the total annual inflation rate rose to 4.7% and core inflation to 3.4%, above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. Certainly, any numbers above these levels would draw comment from the Fed, who otherwise fully expect inflationary pressures to diminish over the coming months.”

Elsewhere Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.) has added 0.31% to 111.74p. The aero-engine company has appointed Anita Frew as a non-executive director and chair designate.

Frew – the chair of Croda and former deputy chair at Lloyds Banking Group – will succeed Sir Ian Davis as chair in October.

Proactive news headlines

Seeing Machines Limited (LON:SEE) said it has been appointed by software firm CAE Australia to integrate its precision eye-tracking technology for a customer in the Australian defence industry.

Walls & Futures REIT PLC (LON:WAFR), an ethical housing investor and developer, said it has joined P1 Investment Management’s Net-Zero Carbon target as part of its Ethical Investment Policy rollout.

Ncondezi Energy Ltd (LON:NCCL) said Ncondezi Green Power, its renewable energy subsidiary, and Captive Power Ltd have signed a relationship agreement giving Ncondezi first refusal to fund up to US$5.5mln of commercial and industrial solar and battery storage projects in Mozambique.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL) said new research suggests cannabinoids may be able to treat inflammatory lung disease. A King’s College London research paper has been published which includes the results of an investigation on the potential therapeutic use of cannabinoids for the treatment of respiratory diseases.

MGC Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:MXC, LON:MXC) has appointed David Lim as joint company secretary with immediate effect, bringing over 15 years of experience working for ASX-listed companies.

Avation PLC (LON:AVAP) has updated investors on its current revenue collection and cash situation as it supported its customers through the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cornish Metals Inc. (LON:CUSN, TSX-V:CUSN) announced an increase in resource estimates at the iconic South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall. An updated mineral resource estimate (MRE) showed a 10% increase in indicated resources in both the lower mine and upper mine areas and an almost 130% gain in inferred resources at the lower mine.

Custodian REIT PLC (LON:CREI) said it acquired five industrial units on Knowsley Business Park in Liverpool for £3.5mln. The units, which cover a total area of 40,419 sq ft, are occupied by Portakabin, Green Thumb, Central Electrical Armature and Med Imaging.

Sirius Real Estate Limited (LON:SRE) said it has appointed Joanne Kenrick to the board as an independent non-executive director with effect from September 1.

SIMEC Atlantis Energy Ltd (LON:SAE) provided an update for investors on Tuesday on the status of its major shareholder.

Remote Monitored Systems PLC‘s (LON:RMS) executive chairman Antony Legge said he is looking forward to “several positive developments in the coming months”.

TomCo Energy PLC’s (LON:TOM) joint venture Greenfield Energy has entered a deal to acquire a site in Utah.

Empire Metals Limited (LON:EEE) announced that managing director Shaun Bunn, non-executive director Mike Struthers and finance director Greg Kuenzel will provide a live presentation via the Investor Meet Company platform on Thursday 17 June 2021 at 10:00am BST. 

Arecor Therapeutics PLC (LON:AREC) notified that three directors had bought shares in the company.
Dr Andrew Richards, non-executive chairman, purchased 12,500 at a price of 242.7p; Christine Soden, non-executive director, also bought 12,500 shares at the same price; and Jeremy Morgan, non-executive director, purchased 20,503 shares at a price of 242.5p apiece.

Condor Gold PLC (LON:CNR, TSX:COG) announced that with immediate effect it has appointed H&P Advisory Limited as joint broker to the company. Mark Child, chairman and CEO said it was “an exciting time when Condor has purchased a complete new SAG Mill Package, significantly advanced several Feasibility Level engineering designs and studies, commenced site clearance and preparation and is heading towards gold production on Condor’s fully permitted La India Project”.

Oriole Resources PLC (LON:ORR) said company management will be undertaking a pre-recorded shareholder presentation and Q&A session ahead of the Company’s annual general meeting on 23 June 2021. The Company requests that all shareholder questions be submitted to [email protected] on or before 11 June 2021. The recording will subsequently be made available on the company’s website on or around 16 June.

6.30am: Markets set for cautious start

The FTSE 100 is expected to open marginally lower on Wednesday as investors continued to tread cautiously amid macroeconomic jitters.

Spread- betters IG expect the blue-chip index to open around 9 points lower after ending Tuesday’s session up 18 points at 7,095.

Predictions of a sedate start followed a mixed performance for Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.09% at 34,599 while the S&P 500 rose 0.02% to 4,227 and the Nasdaq was up 0.31% at 13,924.

The picture became bleaker in Asia this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.33% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.16%.

Uncertainty about the prospect of inflation around the world is unlikely to have been helped by a jump in Chinese inflationary figures for May, while a lack of any other major news is unlikely to help shift sentiment away from neutral.

On currency markets, the pound was relatively flat against the dollar at US$1.415, with little in the way of major news to move the needle.

Around the markets:

Sterling: US$1.415, no change

Brent crude: US$72.59 a barrel, up 0.5%

Gold: US$1,894 an ounce, up 0.02%

Bitcoin: US$33,558, up 2%

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly lower on Wednesday as China’s producer price index for May surged 9% from a year earlier, against expectations in a Reuters poll for an 8.5% increase.

The Shanghai Composite in China rose 0.16% but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.26%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.28% while South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.68%.

Shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.08% lower.

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Proactive Australia news:

Australian Gold and Copper Ltd (ASX:AGC) has extended Achilles copper and base metal target following the completion of a large sampling program using portable X-Ray fluorescence (pXRF) along the Achilles shear zone southward from the recent drilling, at its 100% owned Cargelligo licence in central NSW.

Comet Resources Ltd (ASX:CRL) has started diamond drilling at the Santa Teresa Gold Project in Baja California, Mexico.

Boadicea Resources Ltd (ASX:BOA) has welcomed the completion of the 809.4 metre diamond drill hole by IGO Ltd (ASX:IGO) (OTCMKTS:IPGDF) (FRA:IDZ) in the company’s Symons Hill tenement in the Fraser Range.

Poseidon Nickel Ltd’s (ASX:POS) (OTCMKTS:PSDNF) (FRA:NYG) initial drilling results from Golden Swan discovery have demonstrated high-grade continuity with intersections up to 3.05 metres at 6.72% nickel within the wider Black Swan Project in Western Australia.

Great Boulder Resources Ltd (ASX:GBR) has recommenced reverse circulation (RC) drilling at the Blue Poles discovery within its Whiteheads Gold Project in Western Australia.

Calima Energy Ltd (ASX:CE1) has revised operational and financial guidance for the remainder of 2021 to reflect higher realised oil & gas prices, increased sales volumes based on production to-date and production results expected from the start of the company’s drilling campaign in Canada.

Piedmont Lithium Inc (NASDAQ:PLL) (ASX:PLL) (OTCMKTS:PDDTF) has further enhanced the sustainability of its flagship US lithium project in North Carolina with a 40% increase in the resource of the industrial minerals quartz, feldspar and mica.

Brookside Energy Ltd (ASX:BRK) (FSE:8F3) has completed drilling and casing operations at the high-impact Jewell 13-12-1S-3W SXH1 well in the SWISH Area of Interest (AOI) in the world-class Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma, USA.

Chalice Mining Ltd (ASX:CHN) (OTCQB:CGMLF) has received strong results from ongoing regional reconnaissance exploration at the Julimar Nickel-Copper-Platinum Group Element (PGE) Project in Western Australia.

Shree Minerals Limited (ASX:SHH) is gearing up for a reverse circulation (RC) drilling campaign at its Bruce Gold Project in the Northern Territory after identifying priority drill targets.

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