FTSE 100 to start flat as investors await vaccine developments

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The FTSE 100 is expected to open little changed on Wednesday as investors seem to sit back and await direction after Tuesday’s vaccine news.

Spread-betters IG are expecting the blue-chip index to start effectively unchanged from its closing level on Tuesday when it ended one point higher at 6,890.

Investors seem to be willing to sit on their hands and wait for the latest round of vaccine issues to play out after Johnson & Johnson pre-emptively suspended the rollout of its coronavirus vaccine amid reports of blood clots, which could prove a major setback for global vaccination efforts.

The vaccine troubles made for a mixed session on Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 0.2% at 33,677 while the Nasdaq rose 1.05% to 13,996 and the S&P 500 climbed 0.33% to a record high of 4,141.

The picture was similarly varied in Asia this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 down 0.3% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 1.42%.

On currency markets, the pound was up 0.27% against the dollar at around US$1.378, although there could be some movement later today with a speech expected by Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powel ahead of the central bank’s latest Beige Book.

Around the markets:

Sterling: US$1.378, up 0.27%

Brent crude: US$64.13 a barrel, up 0.7%

Gold: US$1,742 an ounce, up 0.5%

Bitcoin: US$64,193, up 6.3%

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mostly higher on Wednesday as investors watched for market reaction to the US FDA’s decision to temporarily halt using Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after six women in the country developed a rare blood-clotting disorder.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 1.45% while the Shanghai Composite in China rose 0.31%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.35% but South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.40%.

Shares in Australia were stronger, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.63% higher.

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Proactive Australia news:

Pharmaxis Ltd (ASX:PXS) (FRA:UUD) has received commitments from sophisticated and institutional investors to subscribe for 54.6 million fully paid ordinary shares at A$0.08 per share to raise around A$4.4 million.

Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:PAR) has enrolled the first patient in the exploratory PARA_OA_008 knee Osteoarthritis (OA) Biomarker study.

Creso Pharma Ltd (ASX:CPH) (FRA:1X8) has signed a bilateral commercial agreement with Cannabis Queen, South Africa, to market and distribute Creso’s cannaDOL topical line and cannaQIX® tea range in African countries.

OAR Resources Ltd (ASX:OAR) (FRA:F1S) continues to firm-up the halloysite-kaolin potential at its Gibraltar Halloysite-Kaolin Project on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, with the completion of the latest phase of extension aircore drilling.

Matador Mining Ltd’s (ASX:MZZ) (OTCMKTS:MZZMF) (FRA:7MR) high sensitivity multi-element geochemistry has characterised the key pathfinder element footprints associated with known gold deposits at Cape Ray Gold Project in Newfoundland, Canada, providing a mechanism for future exploration success.

Kin Mining NL (ASX:KIN) (FRA:8KM) has intersected zones of shallow high-grade gold mineralisation in initial aircore drilling at Eagle-Crow prospect within the Cardinia Gold Project (CGP) near Leonora in Western Australia with results of up to 8 metres at 7.90 g/t from 28 metres to the bottom of the hole.

Legend Mining Limited (ASX:LEG) has grown the mineralised intrusive footprint of the flagship Mawson Nickel-Copper-Cobalt Prospect within the Rockford Project on WA’s Fraser Range with new diamond drilling intersecting further mineralised lithologies.

Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (OTCMKTS:LMMFF) (FRA:3MW) subsidiary VSPC Ltd (VSPC) has delivered a positive pre-feasibility study (PFS) demonstrating its capacity to produce advanced lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) cathode powders.

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