BHP and fellow big cap miners remain under pressure due to lower commodity prices

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BHP PLC (LON:BHP), Antofagasta PLC (LON:ANTO) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) were all down 2% to 2,149p, 1,701.5p and 5,688p respectively on Wednesday before close.

Miners have been under pressure due to the lower copper price, which recently dipped below US$4 per pound, while softer iron ore prices are also a drag.

The upcoming approval of Joe Biden’s stimulus package should boost recovery in the US, but demand growth in China is still fairly lukewarm.

2.30pm: Foxtons in demand after cutting full-year losses

Foxtons Group PLC (LON:FOXT) moved 6% higher to 62.6p in the early afternoon after reporting a sharp reduction in full-year losses as a result of a strong second half.

For the year to December 31, the estate agent reported a statutory pre-tax loss of £1.4mln, narrowed from an £8.8mln loss in the prior year, despite revenues sliding to £93.5mln from £106.9mln in 2019.

The sales commission pipeline began the year 30% higher year-on-year which has led to improved revenue growth, with sales for the first two months of 2021 “well ahead” last year’s levels.

1.50pm: Is ITV down because Piers Morgan is leaving?

ITV PLC (LON:ITV) dropped 6% to 119.26p at midday, with analysts wondering whether it’s because Piers Morgan is leaving tv show Good Morning Britain.

Investors may be a little worried about the loss of ratings for the morning programme, as it wasn’t exactly doing that well before he joined and its primetime slot will have repercussions for ads, according to Neil Wilson at Markets.com.

“Love or loathe, Morgan boosted ratings,” he said. “It could also be that investors are worried about an investigation over comments made by Morgan on air. Shares were hit yesterday after it revealed the way in which lockdowns have hit ad revenues, but indicated things are picking up and Studios can drive new growth. Deutsche Bank today calls it a buy. You cannot be owning ITV and worry about one host, can you?”

11.45am: Kin and Carta surges on the back of confident outlook

Kin and Carta PLC (LON:KCT) rose 9% to 161p in the late morning after expressing confidence of achieving significant growth in the second half and meeting expectations for the full year.

The digital strategy firm said market demand continues to increase in all of its regions, as evidenced by its growing pipeline and record backlog.

In the half-year to January 31, net revenue was down 10% to £64mln while loss before tax remained flat at £6mln.

10.25am: Petra Diamonds slips after completing financial restructuring

Petra Diamonds Limited (LON:PDL) slipped 13% to 1.37p after announcing it has completed the restructuring of the group, which involves new governance arrangements and cashflow controls.

The miner has partially reinstated notes debt with holders of existing notes contributing with US$30mln of new money, with the new notes amounting to US$337mln including the New Money and fees paid as part of the transaction in New Notes.

It has also converted the remainder of the Notes debt into equity, so the Noteholder group now holds 91% of the enlarged share capital of the Petra Diamonds.

Remaining in the natural resources sector, Ascent Resources PLC (LON:AST) shed 9% to 10.75p after admitting that no amicable settlement with either joint venture partner in Slovenia has been reached to-date.

The energy firm has been in dispute with Geoenergo and the local service provider Petrol Geo, in relation to historic amounts claimed of €235,000.

Meanwhile, Petrol Geo has issued a local enforcement order attempting to claim payment for an unsubstantiated amount of €662,288 plus interest of €12,103 so Ascent has taken legal advice.

9.30am: Sabien Technology rises after establishing US subsidiary

Sabien Technology Group PLC (LON:SNT) was an early riser on Wednesday, adding 9% to 0.12p after incorporating Sabien, Inc, its wholly owned US subsidiary.

The US arm, to operate from Texas, will be used to source acquisition opportunities and to build and operate distribution channels for its European businesses.

The heating, cooling and transportation solutions provider said US investor and technology company operator Danny Mills has been appointed as President and Richard Parris is Chairman and Company Secretary of Sabien, Inc.

Elsewhere, Induction Healthcare (LON:INHC) added 1% to 109.6p after its Induction Booking appointment service passed the 1mln bookings milestone in just a few months.

Since last October, NHS trusts have deployed Induction Booking to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for their own staff, while universities have used the platform to support lateral flow tests for students.

The firm said it has been designed as an easy-to-use digital system that “not only improves the patient experience but also alleviates logistical and operational issues for the NHS in a challenging time”.

Proactive news headlines

Alien Metals Ltd (LON:UFO) said it has entered an exclusivity arrangement to potentially buy a historic silver tailings project within the Elizabeth Hill mining licence in Western Australia.

Sativa Wellness Group Inc (LON:SWEL)(CNSX:SWEL) said its coronavirus (COVID-19) testing business has achieved over £1.1mln worth of bookings in less than four months since opening its first clinic in Bath, UK.

Induction Healthcare Group PLC (AIM: INHC) said Induction Booking, an appointment service tailored to the healthcare sector, has passed the one million bookings milestone in just a few months.

Neuro-imaging specialist IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) has been drafted in to support an Alzheimer’s clinical trial – its second contract in this field in the space of just under a week.

FastForward Innovations Ltd (LON:FFWD) said it has agreed to sell its entire interest in cannabis firm EMMAC Life Sciences as part of a takeover of the investee by North American cannabis consumer products group Curaleaf Holdings Inc (CSE:CURA, OTCQX:CURLF).

Destiny Pharma PLC (LON:DEST) said Bill Love, its chief scientific officer, has joined the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) COVID-19 Research and Innovation Taskforce.

Horizonte Minerals PLC (LON:HZM, TSX:HZM) has completed a bought deal private placement of special warrants in Canada, raising gross proceeds of US$9.2mln (£6.6mln).

Pembridge Resources PLC (LON: PERE) said Minto Explorations Ltd has secured a sale price for its copper in a move that will minimise cash flow risks andallow it to benefit from higher metal prices sooner.

Aminex PLC (LON:AEX) told investors that joint venture partner Ara Petroleum is going to shoot 3D seismic at the Ruvuma project ahead of the Chikumbi-1 well programme.

Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) noted the latest payments received from the Kurdistan Regional Government for oil sales made in January.

Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (XOP:CSE, LON:COPL), announced that it has issued 12,500,000 common shares of the company pursuant to an exercise of warrants.

Salt Lake Potash Ltd (LON:SO4, ASX:SO4) advised that a new corporate presentation, including an update on the Lake Way project completion and expected ramp-up to the anticipated full production run-rate of 245ktpa in the June 2022 quarter, is now available to view on the company’s website.

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