• FTSE 100 index gains 17 points
  • US indices mixed
  • Defence stocks wanted after yesterday’s defence spending announcement

5pm: FTSE 100 ends above the flatline

London’s leading index ended the week up 17 points, 0.3%, at 6,351.5. The FTSE 250 was almost exactly flat, down 0.5 points, less than 0.1%, to 19,506.96.

“Stock markets are showing modest gains as we approach the end of the day,” CMC Markets UK analyst David Madden wrote Friday. “It has been a lacklustre session when compared with the volatility witnessed in the first half of the week.”

Traders are trying to price in the effects of a potential coronavirus vaccine, which appears on the horizon with Pfizer and BioNTech applying to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization.

“In light of the vaccine stories, it feels like stocks could be in limbo for a while until we find out about the vaccine situation — in either direction,” Madden wrote. “Seeing as a lot of progress has been made with respect to coronavirus drugs, it seems like a floor has been put in place under equity benchmarks now, but that could all change should the drug story get derailed.”

In the US, the Dow was down 135 points, 0.5%, to 29,347.8 at noon ET. The Nasdaq Composite rose 9 points, 0.1%, to 11,914, and the S&P 500 ticked 8 points lower, 0.2%, to 3,573.2.

“The S&P 500 is a little lower today but it had made big gains earlier in the week due to coronavirus drug hopes,” Madden wrote. “Yesterday, the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said he would allow the special lending capabilities of the Fed to expire at the end of December. This caused a little concern as traders are taking it as a sign that the support network for the economy is being eroded. Mr Mnuchin clarified his comments today by confirming there still is a lot of fire power at the ready if funding needs to be dished out.”

3.45pm : Proactive North America headlines:

Melkior Resources Inc (CVE:MKR) (OTCMKTS:MKRIF) (FRA:MEK1) brings in Barrick Gold as partner to advance White Lake project, Ontario

Codebase Ventures Inc (CSE:CODE) (FRA:C5B) (OTCQB:BKLLF) says its portfolio holding Arcology meets internal targets in first testnet

Matinas BioPharma Holdings Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:MTNB) (FRA:6LJ) awarded $3.75M from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to advance pre-clinical development of MAT250

Lucky Minerals Inc (CVE:LKY) (OTCMKTS:LKMNF) (FRA:LKY1) finds three zones with bulk tonnage potential at Sherman prospect, Ecuador

ImagineAR Inc (CSE:IP) (OTCQB:IPNFF) (FRA:GMS1) to deliver immersive augmented reality experience to Shoppers Drug Mart

Todos Medical Ltd (OTCQB:TOMDF) says new data from Tollovid study shows its ability to inhibit the 3CL protease, a key element of coronavirus replication

KushCo Holdings Inc (OTCQX:KSHB) teams up with United Pacific to widen CBD distribution across 350 gas stations, stores in the US

Biocept Inc (NASDAQ:BIOC) (FRA:B003) study of Target Selector cerebrospinal assays presented at neuro-oncology virtual conference

IEC Electronics Corp (NASDAQ:IEC) reports strong sales and income in its fiscal 4Q and full-year 2020

Nova Royalty Corp (CVE:NOVR)closes C$14.4M financing to support new royalty acquisitions

3.05pm: Week showing signs of fizzling out

London’s index of heavyweight shares continues to coast towards the finish line, holding on to modest gains.

The FTSE 100 was up 26 points (0.4%) at 6,360, with defence stocks such as BAE Systems PLC (LON:BA.) and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.) faring well in the wake of yesterday’s announcement about a hike in the UK government’s defence spending plans.

BAe was up 2.7% at 521.6p and Rolls-Royce was 2.2% firmer at 100.7p.

2.46pm: Wall Street opens in the red as Fed and Treasury butt heads over lending programmes

The main indices on Wall Street started Friday’s session in the negative as a spat between the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury rattled markets.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.12% to 29,447, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.08% to 3,579 and the Nasdaq was down 0.09% at 11,894.

Sentiment appears to have taken a hit by the disagreement between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed chair Jerome Powell over whether an SME emergency loans package will be extended beyond the end of the 2020.

“A bizarre spat between the Treasury and the Fed is hardly inspiring confidence in the markets at a time when the potential for turmoil is potentially heightened as the second Covid wave tears across the US. Not only is the Fed not in agreement with the Treasury regarding the necessity of those funds to remain in place, it believes they should remain where they are for longer than initially envisaged to enable proper market functioning in these potentially turbulent times”, said OANDA’s Craig Erlam.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington DC are also expected to resume negotiations over another round of stimulus spending as coronavirus continues to tear through the US.

“Now is the time to act and with lawmakers on Capitol Hill having failed to pass a package prior to the election, it looks like the Fed is once again going to be left to do the heavy lifting in the near-term. Even if talks have resumed, the last few months has highlighted the lack of urgency that exists so I’m not hopeful of an agreement any time soon. The battels are set to continue in Washington over a stimulus package as the country sees record cases and the number of fatalities fast approaches the peak from earlier this year. Restrictions are appearing across the country once more which means the urgency to agree another stimulus package has just ramped up a fair few notches”, Erlam said.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 was holding steady into late afternoon and was up 26 points at 6,360 at around 2.45pm.

1.45pm: Copper price surge lifts Antofagasta

The FTSE 100 has shed some of its morning gains but is still on track – just – for a modest gain on the week.

London’s index of leading shares was up 25 points (0.4%) at 6,360, with miner Antofagasta PLC (LON:ANTO), up 3.3% at 1,133.5p, taking over as the best performer as the price of copper goes moon-bound.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) advanced 7.1% to 1.95p after it provided an update on its 70%-owned Kisinka project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a laboratory has been examining assay results from a pitting and mapping exploration programme earlier this year.

Copper values from soils were up to 460 copper parts per million parts of soil (ppm) in the south-eastern zone and 276 ppm in the mid-north zone, the company said, with copper values increasing downwards.

12.20pm: US markets to open modestly higher

“Lukewarm” is the watchword for global markets today and in keeping with that mood US stocks are set for a tepid start.

Spread betting quotes suggest the Dow Jones will open barely changed while the S&P 500 will eke out a four-point gain at 3,584.

The NASDAQ Composite is set to provide a bit of va-va-voom, with a 112 point advance to 12,017.

“The end of the Trump regime appears to be as anarchic and dysfunctional as it was during its heyday. In a rare rift between the two, the US Treasury and Fed openly disagreed over the end of pandemic assistance programmes,” said Neil Wilson at martkets.com.

“Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin called on Fed chair Jay Powell to extend four lending programmes by 90 days but demanded a scheduled end to five other lending programmes and the Fed hand back some US$455bn in unused funds for use elsewhere. The Fed said no, explaining it ‘would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy’. Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic told Bloomberg these tools are an important backstop and have restored market confidence,” Wilson added.

Meanwhile, “Covid cases continue to rip through the US, prompting new restrictions, including a 10pm curfew in California,” Wilson noted.

The ever-useful daily COVID-19 report from Pantheon Macroeconomics notes that a record 188,000 coronavirus cases were reported in the US yesterday and today is lkely to be the first day with 200,000 cases reported.

As Pantheon’s chief economist, Ian Shepherdson, was quick to point out, that is just 19 days after the first day when more than 100,000 cases were reported.

“Behind the headlines, though, the rate of increase of new cases has slowed sharply in recent days, and hospitalisations are starting to follow. Both are still increasing rapidly, but not as rapidly as before,” Shepherdson observed, before adding a caution about the potential for the Thanksgiving holiday to spark a new upsurge in cases.

Shepherdson points to the experience in the UK, where there was a brief surge in cases, “triggered by the leaking of the November 5 lockdown six days in advance, on a Friday”.

“People rushed to socialise during the interregnum, and cases duly rose,” Shepherdson said.

Talking of the UK, the index of heavyweight shares was up 35 points (0.6%) at 6,369, which is about 15 points higher than it started the week.

11.55am: Footsie plods on

Cricket fans will be aware of the concept of a “Joe Denly” – a creditable but unexciting score in the thirties that just soaks up time.

The Footsie, up 35 points (0.6%) at 6,369 seems intent on emulating the dogged Denly.

To be fair, the score would be a bit higher were it not for a deeply disappointing update from Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) and a fund-raising from Smurfit Kappa Group plc (LON:SKG).

“Sage Group is a specialist in providing software solutions for businesses. The company is performing well but investment in cloud services put pressure on profit margins, which slipped by 1.7 points to 22.1% for the year,” reported CMC’s David Madden.

“The company is cautious in the near term because of the current economic environment, but it still expects organic recurring revenue growth for full-year 2021 to be 3-5%,” Madden said.

The shares were off 13% at 590.8p.

Packaging giant Smurfit fell 3.0% to 3,124p after it placed 19.41mln shares at EUR34.00 each – equivalent to about 3,046p in sterling terms.

10.45am: Johnson Matthey reverses after broker downgrade

The Footsie is on course to finish the week higher than it started it but the action in London today is not really setting the pulses racing.

London’s benchmark of blue-chip shares was up 39 points (0.6%) at 6,373.

Croda International PLC (LON:CRDA) edged 2.0% higher to 6,372p after Citi shifted from a neutral position to a ‘buy’ recommendation, even while leaving its 7,400p 12-month price target unchanged.

Platinum refiner Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT), down 1.2% at 2,379p, went the other way as AlphaValue downgraded the stock to ‘reduce’ from ‘add’.

Among the minnows, Trackwise Designs PLC (LON:TWD) and Helios Towers PLC (LON:HTWS) were about as popular as a handshake from Boris Johnson – the former after tapping the market and the latter after a major shareholder offloaded shares.

Trackwise, a UK manufacturer of specialist products using printed circuit technology, slumped 15% to 310p after placing shares at 200p each.

Helios dived 12% to 155p after Millicom International placed 52mln Helios shares in the market at 155p.

10.00am: Pearson wanted as FIL increases its stake

Signs of vaccine fatigue setting in are limiting gains in London.

The FTSE 100 was up 27 points (0.4%) at 6,362, with defence firm BAE Systems PLC (LON:BA.), up 4.0%, leading the way.

Also providing the Footsie some support was publishing group Pearson PLC (LON:PSON), where FIL Limited has increased its stake to 5.19% from 5.04%. The shares responded by climbing 2.1% to 652.2p.

“The gap between the discovery and actual distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine has again been accentuated, as the strength of the pandemic continues to undermine economic recovery while further details of a roll-out are awaited,” said Richard Hunter, the head of markets at interactive investor.

“In the US, where the cumulative numbers have now reached 250 000 deaths and almost 12 million cases, there has been an advisory for citizens not to travel over the upcoming Thanksgiving period. This has further implications for oil demand and general retail spending, and comes at a time when emergency loans programmes are nearing an end.

“There are also fears of a rift developing between the Treasury and the Federal Reserve in how to tackle the next stage of the economic hit. While there are some glimmers of hope for a new fiscal package in the new year, any discord between the two bodies threatens to rattle investor sentiment, where continued monetary and fiscal support has been seen as a given throughout the health crisis,” he added.

9.15am: Equities edge higher as retail sales and government borrowing numbers spring surprises

UK retail sales figures have provided a bit of much needed early cheer while even the government’s borrowing figures were not as horrific as feared.

The FTSE 100 was up 12 points (0.2%) at 6,347.

Retail sales volumes, including petrol, rose by 1.2% month-on-month in October, defying expectations of a 0.3% fall.

Volumes were 5.8% higher than in October of last year, compared to a consensus forecast of 4.1%.

“Retail sales climbed to a new record high in October, as households continued to reallocate funds usually reserved for spending on services. The increase was driven by a 6.4% month-to-month rise in non-store sales, as households hunkered down again in the face of the developing second wave of Covid-19,” said Samuel Tombs, the chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“Looking ahead, the second ‘lockdown’ has prompted us to pencil-in a 10% month-to-month decline in retail sales volumes in November, which would leave them 4% below their pre-Covid level. This compares very favourably to the shortfalls of 23% in April and 13% in May, when all non-essential stores had to close,” Tombs added,

Public finances recorded a smaller-than-expected, reduced deficit in October. Public sector net borrowing excluding banks – PSNBex in the jargon – rose to GBP22.3bn from GBP11.6bn the year before, although the deficit was narrower than September’s GBP28.6bn.

“The public finances, measured in terms of Public Sector Net Borrowing excluding banks (PSNBex), saw a seventh successive, large shortfall in October as the Government’s measures to support businesses and jobs affected by COVID-19 fed through both in terms of reduced receipts and substantially increased public spending,” said Howard Archer, the chief economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club.

“October’s shortfall was less-than-expected; the consensus forecast had been for a deficit around GBP36bn. It was also well down from the record, peak levels seen in May (GBP43.7 billion) and April (GBP47.3 billion). This is a consequence of more people coming off the furlough scheme and returning to work, and the economy growing again, although growth may well have slowed further in October after losing momentum in August and September,” Archer observed.

8.40am: Small rally ahead of weekend

The FTSE 100 made a muted start to proceedings on Friday with UK traders largely ignoring the day’s two main data points – ballooning public debt and recovering retail sales.

The UK index of blue-chips rose 10 points to 6,344.18.

Investors will no doubt expect retail sales to have dipped markedly over the last fortnight under the new coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, while public debt is expected to grow at a faster pace in November thanks to the re-emergence of employer and employer support schemes.

A new era of austerity looks to have arrived with details of a new public sector pay clampdown being widely reported.

Meanwhile, Brexit negotiations have been temporarily suspended after one of the delegates came down with COVID-19.

As Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, pointed out: “The lack of a deal would, of course, exacerbate the UK’s travails, and was further highlighted by the release of government figures reporting significantly higher levels of borrowing accompanied by lower tax receipts, putting further pressure on a deficit which will ultimately need to be dealt with.”

On the market, blue-chip firm Sage tumbled (LON:SGE) 10.4% after it reported a decline in profit margins and said the trend would continue into the new trading year as invested heavily in the migration of its accounting software to the cloud.

Citi got behind speciality chemicals group Croda (LON:CRDA) after its GBP734mln purchase of a Spanish fragrance maker. The American bank raised its recommendation to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ on the shares, which rose 1.7%.

Defence contractor BAE Systems (LON:BA.) led the risers with a 3.5% gain as analysts worked through the latest boost to military spending in the UK.

7.55am: Christmas starts early for retailers

In October 2020, UK retail sales volumes increased by 1.2% from September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday. It was the sixth consecutive month of growth for the sector.

Growth in the volume of sales for non-store retailing clocked in at 6.4%, while growth rates of 3.2% for household goods stores and 3.1% for the hard-pressed department store sector all contributed to the overall monthly increase in retail sales, the ONS said.

The year-on-year growth rate in the volume of retail sales saw a strong increase of 5.8%, with feedback from a range of businesses suggesting that consumers had started Christmas shopping earlier this year, further helped by early discounting from a range of stores.

Total retail sales values (excluding fuel) in October were 7.9% higher than they were in February – the month before the lockdown restrictions were imposed in the UK.

Proactive news headlines:

Block Energy PLC (LON:BLOE) has told investors it is expected to close its acquisition of the Schlumberger Rustaveli Company Limited (SRCL) entity on November 23, 2020. Additionally, the company noted that amended deals terms will see it also take possession of some 29,000 barrels of crude oil inventory. Block said that this will be a welcome boost to its balance sheet

ImmuPharma PLC (LON:IMM) (Euronext Growth Brussels:ALIMM) has said that its partner Avion Pharmaceuticals will discuss with US regulators early next month plans for an optimised phase III study of a lupus drug developed by the UK company. At the Type ‘A’ Meeting, to be held on December 4, the firm said Avion will ask for guidance from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on key aspects of the study design, clinical endpoints and the approval process for treatment, called Lupuzor. It will also request the FDA consider conditional approval of the drug, whilst the final-stage trial is taking place.

Genedrive PLC (LON:GDR) chief executive David Budd hailed as ‘excellent’ the results from an Indian study that showed the group’s hepatitis-C (HCV) testing kit was able to determine who did and didn’t have the disease with 100% accuracy. Overall, the data demonstrated that the rapid point-of-care device was suitable for use in a country where infections estimated at between six and 12 million, the company added. “These excellent clinical results for our HCV assay further validate the applicability of the test for a decentralised setting,” explained Budd. “India is a key target market for our assay and we are excited about the commercial prospects in the region.”

Argentex Group PLC (LON:AGFX) has hailed a record number of new corporate clients in its second quarter as well as “encouraging” trading into the second half of its current year. In its results for the six months to September 30, 2020, the provider of foreign exchange services said it had recruited 126 new corporate clients in the second quarter, while the number of corporate clients trading during the period was up 15% year-on-year at 212. Argentex also highlighted “encouraging levels of client activity” in September, which it said pointed to an unwinding of pent-up demand. Revenues generated during the month were up 57% of the figure from August.

ECR Minerals PLC (LON:ECR) said its subsidiary Mercator Gold Australia (MGA) has taken delivery of a new drill rig and is preparing to start a programme on the HR3 prospect, in the Bailieston project area. The company noted that all necessary permissions are in place for drilling at the HR3 prospect. HR3 comprises at least four closely-spaced lines of reef, including the Byron, Dan Genders, Scoulars and Maori Reefs, ECR noted.

US Oil & Gas PLC (LON:USOP) told investors that the Bureau of Land Management has approved the necessary Permit to Drill for the proposed Eblana-9 well, at the Hot Creek Valley project in Nevada. Groundwork to prepare the well site for drilling will kick off immediately and it is slated to take three days to complete, the group added. Meanwhile, the company said it expects to sign contracts with the rig supplier and other services without delay.

Power Metal Resources PLC (LON:POW) said work to enlarge the Alamo Gold Project in Arizona, USA, is set to start next month. The AIM-listed metals exploration and development company has the right to earn-in up to a 75% interest in the project. Power Metal said that following completion of the reconnaissance programme, an additional nine claim blocks have been staked to enlarge the project by 23.5% to a total 946 acres.

Base Resources Limited (LON:BSE) (ASX:BSE) said its Kwale operations in Kenya exceeded expectations in the first full year of mining in the South Dune. In a statement released on the day of the company’s annual general meeting, chairman Keith Spence noted that the Kwale operations remained at full-pelt and met shipping schedules throughout the fiscal year despite the problems posed by the coronavirus pandemic. In a separate statement, Base Resources said that all resolutions set out in the Notice of Annual General Meeting and put to shareholders at Friday’s meeting were carried.

Allergy Therapeutics PLC (LON:AGY), the fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company specialising in allergy vaccines, announced that Peter Jensen, the group’s non-executive chairman, has purchased 100,000 ordinary shares of 0.1p each in the capital of the company at a price of 14p per ordinary share. Following the transaction, the group said the total beneficial interest of Jensen is 270,000 ordinary shares, representing 0.04% of the issued share capital of the company to which voting rights are attached.

Salt Lake Potash Limited (LON:SO4) (ASX:SO4) advised that at the annual general meeting of the company held on Friday, November 20, 2020, at 11.00am (WST) all resolutions were voted on and carried by way of a poll.

Tavistock Investments PLC (LON:TAVI) announced that it is convening a general meeting (GM) of the company’s shareholders at 11.30am on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, at the company’s offices at 1 Bracknell Beeches, Old Bracknell Lane, Bracknell RG 12 7BW. The purpose of the GM is to seek Shareholders’ approval for the creation of a new class of growth shares and to make other minor amendments to the Company’s Articles of Association to update them generally. The new proposal offers the Executive Directors and other members of the leadership team the potential of reward should they achieve more demanding performance hurdles than those attached to their current share options but also introduces peril (the risk of loss) for non-performance. Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) measures implemented by the Government in the United Kingdom shareholders will not be permitted to attend the GM. If shareholders have any questions or comments relating to the business of the meeting that they would like to put to the board then they are requested to submit those questions in writing via email to [email protected] no later than 11.30am on December 14, 2020. The board will publish a summary of any questions received which are of common interest, together with a written response on the company’s website as soon as practicable after the conclusion of the meeting.

Frontier IP Group PLC (AIM: FIPP), a specialist in commercialising intellectual property said its annual general meeting (AGM) will be held at 93 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 SE3 at 11.00am on December 17, 2020. In light of social distancing measures as a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this year’s AGM will be run as a closed meeting and shareholders will not be permitted to attend the AGM. As shareholders will not be able to attend in person, questions in relation to any of the resolutions to be proposed at the AGM, the Annual Financial Statements or the business of the company, should be submitted to [email protected] by 12.00pm on December 15, 2020 (including ‘AGM 2020’ in the subject heading). Questions will be grouped into themes and addressed on the company’s website as soon as practicable following the AGM.

6.50am: End of week revival

The FTSE 100 index looked set to rally on Friday, taking its lead from Wall Street which staged a modest rally yesterday.

Spread betting quotes point to the UK blue-chip index opening around 15 points higher at 6,349, as investors wait to see whether reports that a Brexit trade deal will be sealed next week turn out to be true.

Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrials Average, which got off to a wobbly start on Thursday, closed 45 points to the good at 29,483 while the S&P 500 advanced 14 points to 3,582.

China left its one and five-year loan prime rate benchmarks unchanged this morning at 3.85% and 4.65% respectively.

“The decision should be of no surprise with China’s economy firing on all cylinders,” said OANDA’s Jeffrey Halley.

“Even a Covid-19 slowdown from the US and Europe impacting exports would only be a mere flesh wound at this stage, especially with vaccines now on the horizon. If China wants to raise money, they can issue bonds in Europe and have Europeans pay them for the privilege,” he added.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was on the up as a result today, rising 88 points to 26,445 but elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 133 points at 25,501 as investors continue to wonder whether the lid is coming off the coronavirus pressure cooker in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Closer to home, the UK retail sales numbers should be interesting, with observers keen to see whether the recovery has been maintained.

“Since the lockdown, in April we’ve seen five consecutive months of decent gains; however, this could well be as good as it gets for retail spending as we head into year-end given recent steps by the government in re-imposing lockdown restrictions throughout certain parts of the country,” observed CMC’s Michael Hewson.

“In September retail sales saw an increase of 1.5%; however, recent third-party studies have been somewhat mixed, with some suggesting a sharp slowdown in the October numbers, while others like the latest British Retail Consortium sales survey, showed a pre-lockdown surge which pushed the numbers higher ahead of the November lockdown.

“On the downside, pub and restaurant sales saw a decline of 33% as tighter lockdown restrictions hit demand. Whatever the number for October and expectations are for a -0.3% decline, it is likely to be a last hurrah, before we see an even sharper slide in the November numbers, a month from now,” Hewson said.

As for company results, The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) is set to report final results on Friday, having last updated the market in July when it reported “more challenging trading conditions” due to coronavirus but added that this had eased off as the third quarter progressed.

The market is presently estimating 7.5% growth in recurring revenues for the year, with total group sales growth of 2.9% to GBP1.88bn and SSRS down 24% for the quarter and the year.

Analysts at UBS said that with extended government support programmes to SMEs, they believe guidance for a “low-to-mid single-digit” or perhaps 3%-5% recurring revenue growth may be given, “although are more cautious in our own model (+1.0%)”.

“We think the key question is what margin Sage expects,” the analysts added, with the current market forecast at 22.0%.

Around the markets:

  • Sterling: US$1.3278, up 0.14 cents
  • 10-year gilt: 0.326%, down 1.25 basis points
  • Gold: US$1,868.10 an ounce, up US$6.60
  • Brent crude: US$44.17 a barrel, down 3 cents
  • Bitcoin: US$18,178, up US$240

6.45am: Early Markets – Asia/Australia

Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed on Friday as coronavirus (COVID-19) cases around the world continue to rise helping push global debt levels to a new high.

Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 made early gains but reversed its course by evening to close 0.12% down at 6539.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.42% while South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.25%.

Chinese stocks improved today, with the Shanghai composite up 0.38% and in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index gained 0.25%.


Proactive Australia news:

Proactive will host a Gold Webinar next Tuesday, November 24, as strong prices and market fundamentals continue to focus global attention on the precious metal.

Three Australian resource companies – Twenty Seven Co Ltd (ASX:TSC), Nexus Minerals Ltd (ASX:NXM) (FRA:YAK) and Mako Gold Ltd (ASX:MKG) – will be in the spotlight.

Blue Star Helium Ltd (ASX:BNL) has received firm commitments to raise up to A$6 million to fund a multi-well drilling program, further material lease acquisitions and provide working capital.

Great Southern Mining Ltd (ASX:GSN) has raised $3.12 million in an oversubscribed placement to accelerate exploration programs at the Cox’s Find and Mon Ami gold projects in Western Australia.

Alicanto Minerals Limited (ASX:AQI) has received firm commitments from institutional and sophisticated investors totalling $6 million via a placement at 13 cents per share.

Salt Lake Potash Ltd (ASX:SO4) remains confident that the Lake Way Project in the Western Australian Goldfields is on-track for first sulphate of potash (SOP) production in quarter one of 2021.

AVZ Minerals Ltd (ASX:AVZ) non-executive chairman John Clarke told the company’s annual general meeting that despite a global pandemic the company has delivered significant progress for its world-class Manono Lithium and Tin Project.

Orthocell Ltd (ASX:OCC) shares are higher on news of positive long-term clinical data for nerve repair with CelGro(R) resulting in predictable and consistent restoration of upper limb function.

VRX Silica Ltd (ASX:VRX) has received binding commitments for a capital raising via a share placement to institutional, professional and sophisticated investors to raise $7 million before costs.

Oakdale Resources Ltd (ASX:OAR) (FRA:F1S) has registered the presence of kaolinite and halloysite minerals after completing an aircore drilling program at the Gibraltar project adjacent to Andromeda Metals Ltd (ASX:ADN) Mt Hope Kaolin-Halloysite Project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

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