FTSE 100 ends back in the green; S&P 500 climbs toward a record in the US

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  • FTSE 100 up 28 points
  • US stocks pick up
  • BP and Shell climb

5.04pm: June off to to a positive start for markets

The FTSE 100 closed Wednesday up 28 points, 0.4%, at 7,108, while the FTSE 250 gained 58 points, 0.3%, to 22,933.

“The second day of June has been another broadly positive one for stock markets, although gains on the FTSE 100 have been somewhat muted,” IG Chief Market Analyst Chris Beauchamp wrote. “Markets are making steady progress this afternoon, although a lack of macro drivers have left things a little dull. However, ‘never short a dull market’ is a key adage for investors and traders, and remains an important principle to remember, especially when the urge to ‘sell in May (or June) and go away’ remains so prevalent.”

Across the pond, the Dow was up 62 points, 0.2%, to 34,638 at midday despite an early morning flicker below the flatline. The Nasdaq improved 25 points, 0.2%, to 13,761, and the S&P 500 ticked up 11 points, 0.3%, to 4,213.

Popular meme stock AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) was up big again Wednesday. Shares surged nearly 50% to $47.51.

3.54pm: UK market in positive territory but off best levels

Leading shares are edging higher again in the wake of a positive performance on Wall Street in early trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now up 0.23% while the S&P 500 has added 0.24%. The Nasdaq Composite is a slight laggard, up 0.16%.

Edward Moya at Oanda said: “US stocks are hovering near record highs as investors remain optimistic that a slower labor market recovery and transitory inflation will allow the Fed to keep pumping up the economy.”

So after a dip into the red, the FTSE 100 is now up 16.02 points or 0.23% at 7096.48, still off its peak for the day of 7122.

Meanwhile the FTSE 250 has hit a new high today and is currently up 0.2% at 22,920.

Oil companies continue to provide support to the leading index in the wake of strong crude prices. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB) has seen its B shares rise 2.39% to 1338p while BP PLC (LON:BP.) is 1.99% better at 321p.

Burberry Group PLC (LON:BRBY) continues to be in fashion. leading the way in the blue chip index with a 3.89% rise to 2190p. Exane BNP Paribas issued an outperform rating on the shares, up from neutral, and raised its price target by 29% to 2700p.

But B&Q owner Kingfisher PLC (LON:KGF) is the biggest faller, down 2.84% at 351.5p.

The company has arranged a £550mln credit deal which will see it benefit from a lower interest rate if it delivers specific targets for sustainability.

2.47pm: Proactive North America headlines:

Binovi Technologies Corp (CVE:VISN) (OTCQB:BNVIF) eyeing US$25.2 billion education technology opportunity for its vision platform

AgraFlora Organics International Inc (CSE:AGRA) (FRA:PU31) (OTCPINK:AGFAF) says first wholesale crop at Delta greenhouse on track for processing and sale at the end of summer

Sigma Lithium Resources‘ PEA shows Phase 2 expansion at Brazil project could double its value to US$844 million

Recruiter.com Inc (OTCQB:RCRT) CEO Evan Sohn to talk predictive Recruiter Index survey on CNBC’s ‘The Exchange,’ and Yahoo FInance Live

ME2C Environmental (OTCQB:MEEC) inks debt repayment deal with Alterna Capital Partners

Royal Road Minerals Limited (CVE:RYR) (OTCMKTS:RRDMF) (FRA:RLU) picks up drilling permits for its Guintär-Niverengo project in Colombia

CO2 GRO Inc (CVE:GROW) (OTCQB:BLONF) (FRA:4021) says partner to market and support its CO2 Delivery Solutions technology in Mexico’s protected agriculture market

GlobeX Data Ltd (OTCQB:SWISF) (CSE:SWIS) (FRA:GDT) to be featured on ‘Data Privacy Minute’ on WABC’s Larry Kudlow radio show as part of 19-month marketing campaign

Clean Seed Capital Group Ltd (CVE:CSX) (OTCMKTS:CLGPF) opens ordering program for SMART Seeder MAX

PlantX Life Inc (CSE:VEGA) (OTCQB:PLXTF) (FRA:WNT1) appoints mountain bike athlete Rémy Métailler as a company ambassador

Amryt Pharma PLC (NASDAQ:AMYT) (LON:AMYT) gets FDA approval for new drug application

BetterLife Pharma Inc (CSE:BETR) (OTCQB:BETRF) (FRA:NPAU) welcomes The Conscious Fund founder Henri Sant-Cassia to its board of directors

Western Magnesium  Corporation (CVE:WMG) (OTCMKTS:MLYF) speeds up its production timelines with completion of reactor

Renforth Resources Inc (CSE:RFR) (OTCPINK:RFHRF) (FRA:9RR) begins maiden drill program at Malartic West

Vicinity Motor Corp (CVE:VMC) (OTCQX:BUSXF) (FRA:6LG) announces entry into medium duty truck market with development of fully electric Class 3 vehicle

Planet 13 Holdings Inc (CSE:PLTH) (OTCQB:PLNHF) positioned to build consumption lounge with passage of landmark Bill 341 in Nevada

Bragg Gaming Group (TSE:BRAG) (OTC:BRGGD) turbocharges its US casino game operations with US$30M Wild Streak acquisition

Medallion Resources Ltd (CVE:MDL) (OTCQB:MLLOF) (FRA:MRDN) successfully separates and purifies two high-value rare earth elements from monazite

Great Panther Mining Limited (TSE:GPR) (NYSEAMERICAN:GPL) (FRA:G3U) promotes Sandra Daycock to CFO and Fernando Cornejo to COO

Tetra Bio-Pharma Inc (TSE:TBP) (OTCQB:TBPMF) (FRA:JAM1) says Health Canada has accepted its NDS for REDUVO for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

Viscount Mining Corp (CVE:VML) (OTCQB:VLMGF) (FRA:7VM) encouraged by drill progress at its Kate silver deposit in Colorado

Marvel Discovery Corp (CVE:MARV) (OTCPINK:IMTFF) (FRA:O4T) reveals grab samples of up to 24.3 g/t gold at its Blackfly Gold Project

Nomad Royalty Company Ltd (TSE:NSR) (OTCQX:NSRXF) (FRA:IRLB) completes Caserones mine royalty acquisition; announces share consolidation

Fury Gold Mines Ltd (TSE:FURY) (NYSEAMERICAN:FURY) (FRA:AUN) identifies ‘numerous high quality’ exploration targets at Eau Claire project, Quebec

Byrna Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:BYRN) (CSE:BYRN) files for potential C$50M public offering to build up working capital

Delta 9 Cannabis Inc (TSE:DN) (OTCQX:DLTNF) partner receives five new retail cannabis store licences

Cloud DX Inc (CVE:CDX) extends contract with Canadian health authority

Ready Set Gold Corp (CSE:RDY) (OTCPINK:RDYFF) (FRA:0MZ) appoints financial executive Darren Collins to its board and audit committee

O3 Mining Inc (CVE:OIII) (OTCQX:OIIIF) issues first ESG report amid changing industry practices

MegumaGold (CSE:NSAU) (OTCMKTS:NSAUF) (FRA:2CM2) names Fred Tejada new interim CEO as Regan Isenor resigns

Ximen Mining Corp (CVE:XIM) (OTCQB:XXMMF) hires consultants Masse Environmental and Ecoscape Environmental to advance Kenville gold mine project

2.46pm: Wall Street opens on a mixed footing

The main indices on Wall Street started Wednesday’s session on a mixed note as a lack of major news left traders searching for direction.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.06% at 34,553, while the S&P 500 climbed 0.05% to 4,204 and the Nasdaq rose 0.16% to 13,758.

While the performance of the wider market was mixed in early deals, a collection of memestocks favoured by retail traders on the Reddit forum r/wallstreetbets were surging at the open as investors looked to log another session of strong gains.

Cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC) was up 19.4% at US$38.58 in early trading while headphone maker Koss Corp jumped 8.7% to US$26.25 and BlackBerry Ltd climbed 13.8% to US$13.14.

Back in London, the FTSE 100 had reversed course into late afternoon and was down 1 point at 7,079 at around 2.45pm.

2.28pm: FTSE newcomers flagging

Royal Mail PLC (LON:RMG) celebrated its early arrival in the FTSE 100 – it replaced RSA Insurance following the latter’s takeover – with a 1.4% rise in its share price on Tuesday

There is less excitement now, with the shares edging down 0.6p to 593.2p, on the day it would otherwise have been announced as the latest arrival in the blue chip index anyway.

With the extra space available from the insurance group leaving the index ahead of the quarterly reshuffle, ITV PLC (LON:ITV) is set to join Royal Mail in the top tier.

So far it does not appear to be celebrating, with the shares down 0.99% at 130.2p, but given the reshuffle is based on Tuesday night’s prices, that should not be a problem.

The broadcaster, which fell into the FTSE 250 in September after a slump in advertising and a delay to its hit Love Island, has seen its fortunes subsequently revive, and it has high hopes for a successful Euro 2020 football competition.

Overall the leading index is not exactly setting the world on fire, up just 7.58 points at 7088.04.

12.42pm: US markets seek direction

After a fairly uneventful close on Wall Street on Tuesday, things do not look to have changed much, with the opening calls looking far from dramatic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is forecast to edge up 22 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are also expected to be virtually unchanged.

Investors are caught between welcoming the signs of economic recovery shown as the vaccination programmes progress, and worrying about the possible implications of that recovery for inflation and a rise in interest rates.

The latest Federal Reserve Beige Book – due at 7pm BST – will give some clues as to how businesses and the central bank feel about the current economic situation. But otherwise there is little in the way of data to swing the market one way or the other.

Back in the UK and there is not much more excitement in the UK market, with the FTSE 100 up 11.05 points at 7091.51, down from the day’s high of 7122.

11.59am: Gas group lower after analyst meeting

British Gas owner Centrica is among the fallers.

Its shares have slipped 0.91% to 54.46p, as analysts at UBS repeated their neutral rating and 60p price target on the business after a meeting with chief financial officer Kate Ringrose.

They said it was a positive discussion, providing clarity on “the current environment, outlook, and management steps to address challenges.”

The UK retail business remained challenging but cash collection was holding up and cost savings were on track (the company recently ran into a row however about sacking engineers.)

It is also reviewing its pension deficit, and UBS said it needed to stablise earnings before restarting dividend payments.

It is trying to sell its Spirit exploration and production business, and UBS said this may eventually happen in parts.

“It added: “The nuclear disposal remains paused (Sizewell B is currently offline for safety issues), and Centrica [is] considering potential merits of keeping the business.”

Overall the FTSE 100 continues to struggle to gain much ground and is currently up 12.73 points at 7093.19.

10.52am: Pub boss seeks EU workers

Stepping cautiously into the realm of “You couldn’t make it up”, arch Brexiteer and pub boss Tim Martin now appears to be calling for more EU immigrants to fill the growing number of bar vacancies.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Martin wants the government to introduce a visa system to help ease the shortage of staff, suggesting that countries geographically closer to the UK could be given preferential treatment.

Martin’s JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) is currently down 0.89% at 1339p. 

10.07am: Mortage approvals jump but borrowing falls

As if we needed further evidence of a booming UK housing market after Tuesday’s 10.9%  annual rise in house prices as reported by the Nationwide, here come the latest mortgage approval figures.

According to the Bank of England, approvals rose from 83,400 in March to a higher than expected 86,900 last month.

But will the boom continue? The figures also showed that net mortgage borrowing was down to £3.3bn in April from a record £11.5bn in March.

This may be due to the fact that the stamp duty holiday was initially set to end in March, bringing forward demand then from anxious buyers wanting to get in before the deadline. It has now been extended to September in stages, becoming less generous from the end of this month.

Robert Payne of Bristol-based Langley House Mortgages suggested the end of the scheme could dampen demand.

He said: “Activity levels in May were noticeably lower than previous months and potentially a sign of much quieter months ahead as the Stamp Duty incentive fades away. If the drop in demand causes house prices to fall then we could end up in a situation where a significant percentage of borrowers find it difficult to remortgage when their current deal expires and their monthly payments could go up.”

The latest figures have done nothing for shares in housebuilders.

Taylor Wimpey PLC (LON:TW.) is down 1.34% at 173.7p while Barratt Developments PLC (LON:BDEV) has fallen 0.98% to 766.4p.

Overall the FTSE 100 is still in positive territory but off its best levels, up 9.62 points or 0.14% at 709008.

9.19am: Shell and BP on the rise

Oil companies are giving some support to the leading index as crude prices continue to climb.

After closing at its highest level since May 2019, Brent crude has added another 0.34% to $70.49 a barrel.

The OPEC+ group meeting on Tuesday agreed to stick to their plan to edge up production in June and July but analysts believe increasing demand can continue to push the price higher.

Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management said: “The vaccine rollout will allow a return to normal patterns of mobility, supporting energy demand. European Union nations that lagged in vaccinations have been gaining ground, with over 20 million vacations per week compared to a few hundred thousand in January. Around 40% of the region’s population has already had one dose of a vaccine, raising the potential for a return to tourist travel.”

Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: “An upbeat assessment of demand from producers’ cartel OPEC and the waning prospect of a big increase in Iranian supply have helped support a rally in crude prices. Something which could make the market a little nervous if it is sustained given investors’ current preoccupation with inflation risks.”

Putting aside inflation risks and last week’s victories for activists over Big Oil,  Royal Dutch Shell PLC (LON:RDSB) has seen its B shares rise 2.01% to 1333p while BP PLC (LON:BP.) is 1.6% better at 319.8p.

Overall the FTSE 100 remains steady, up 30.01 points or 0.42% at 7110.47.

8.44am: Leading shares in positive mood

The FTSE 100 opened in chipper fettle after mixed performances on Wall Street and across Asia’s main markets.

The reason for the general air of positivity was hard to fathom with inflation worries lurking in the background.

Perhaps investors are really moving from growth to value plays. Who knows?

On the market, there were some early bargain-hunters out for Burberry (LON:BRBY), which rose 3% early on to lead the Footsie.

On the debit side, Wizz Air (LON:WIZZ) lost a little altitude, down 1.29% as the budget airline joined the list of carriers posting record losses thanks to travel restrictions imposed during lockdown.

“Wizz Air remains at the mercy of factors outside of its control before it can return to profitability,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

“At the same time, the actions it has taken have put strong foundations in place and a 42% increase in the share price over the last year, as compared to a hike of 31% for the wider FTSE 250, is evidence that there has been investor support in the background.

“With the current outlook remaining cloudy, however, investor sentiment is rather more circumspect on prospects, with the market consensus of the shares currently stuck at a hold, albeit a strong one.”

Proactive news headlines

Brickability is acquiring Taylor Maxwell Group, supplier of timber and non-combustible cladding, for £63mln. The deal will be part-funded by a £55mln sale of shares.

Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV) announced it has exchanged contracts to acquire the entire issued share capital of Nottingham Mortgage Services (NMS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nottingham Building Society.

Belvoir also announced that it will present at Proactive’s One2One Virtual Forum on Thursday 3 June 2021. The event will begin at 6.00pm and take place via online webinar, with registration available at the following link: https://event.webinarjam.com/register/1083/wyy3gso97 

Quantum Blockchain PLC (LON:QBT) said it has signed a service agreement with a UK-based international cryptography expert specialising in cryptocurrency mining blockchain optimisations as part of a research & development (R&D) strategy for Bitcoin mining.

Imperial X PLC will begin trading on the official list of the London Stock Exchange on Thursday under its new name of Cloudbreak Discovery Plc (LON:CDL), making it only the second prospect generator in the mining space listed in the UK. Shareholders yesterday approved all resolutions put to them at the company’s general meeting on Tuesday, meaning the acquisitions announced in August last year have now completed along with the change of name.

Drug discovery group e-therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) has appointed Alison Gallafent as its head of intellectual property.

Savannah Resources PLC (LON:SAV) said its losses from continuing operations narrowed in 2020 helped by cost control measures and that the outlook for the company was “very promising”. The company, which is developing the Mina do Barroso lithium project, said it wants to grow its lithium business, primarily in the Iberian Peninsula.

Destiny Pharma PLC  (LON:DEST) chief executive Neil Clark said the group had made significant progress preparing its lead asset, NTCD-M3, for a phase III clinical study, which he confirmed, was on track to go ahead next year.

MetalNRG PLC (LON:MNRG), a natural resources and energy investment company, said it was satisfied with the progress its BritNRG Ltd investment had made with its 100-day operational plan.

Block Energy PLC (LON:BLOE) said it continued to perform well and has made significant progress despite the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

Jersey Oil and Gas PLC (LON:JOG) said it submitted a concept selection report to the UK Oil and Gas Authority, marking a significant milestone in delivering maximum value from the Greater Buchan Area (GBA) development project in the North Sea.

United Oil & Gas PLC’s (LON:UOG) Egyptian venture has been granted approval for a development lease to cover the ASD-1X discovery, part of the Abu Sennan Licence, which allows production operations to get underway.

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS)(NASDAQ:TLSA) announced that notice of its annual general meeting has been made posted on its website ahead of the event on 25 June. Amid restrictions on personal movement the AGM will be an electronic meeting only and voting must made made by proxy and any questions submitted in advance.

SDX Energy Plc (LON:SDX) has given notice of its annual general meeting on 25 June. Given government guidance the AGM will be held with the minimum attendance required to form a quorum and shareholders will need to vote by proxy. The company will hold a webinar on 21 June where shareholders will be able to submit any questions in writing ahead of the proxy deadline.

6.50 am: Footsie set open little changed 

The FTSE 100 is expected to open mostly unchanged on Wednesday as a lack of major news left traders searching for direction.

Spread-better IG expects the blue-chip index to start flat on Wednesday morning after ending Tuesday’s session 58 points higher at 7,080.

The prediction of a muted open followed a mixed performance for Wall Street overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up 0.13% at 34,575 while the S&P 500 dropped 0.05% to 4,202 and the Nasdaq fell 0.09% to 13,736.

The picture was similarly varied in Asia this morning, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 up 0.38% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.53%.

With little else to go on, investors will likely look ahead to Friday’s non-farm payrolls numbers from the US for more economic clarity, as well as any fresh comment from officials at the Federal Reserve later today.

On currency markets, the pound was mostly flat against the dollar at US$1.414, with little imminent macroeconomic data in the diary likely to cause significant movement.

Around the markets:

Sterling: US$1.414, unchanged

Brent crude: US$70.51 a barrel, up 0.37%

Gold: US$1,897 an ounce, down 0.07%

Bitcoin: US$36,660, down 0.8%

6.50am: Early Markets – Asia / Australia

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Wednesday as Australia’s economy grew by 1.8% in the first three months of 2021 compared to the final three months of 2020.

This was ahead of a 1.5% growth that economists were expecting.

The Shanghai Composite in China dipped 0.58% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.52%

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.43% while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.04%.

Shares in Australia lifted, with the S&P/ASX 200 trading 0.93% higher.

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Proactive Australia news:

Surefire Resources NL (ASX:SRN) (FRA:GBL) has intersected thick gold mineralisation with high-grade intervals from nine reverse circulation (RC) holes at Yidby Road prospect within Yidby Gold Project in the highly prospective southwest Murchison province of Western Australia.

Elementos Limited (ASX:ELT) (OTCMKTS:ELTLF) (FRA:9EM) continues to confirm significant zones of mineralisation in the current drilling campaign at its flagship Oropesa Tin Project in Spain.

archTIS Ltd (ASX:AR9) is set to expand deployment of its cloud technology platform for the secure collaboration of sensitive information with the Australian Department of Defence.

Rumble Resources Ltd (ASX:RTR) (FRA:20Z) has fielded new high-grade reverse circulation (RC) results pointing to a large-scale zinc-lead-silver system at the Earaheedy  Project in Western Australia.

Antipa Minerals Ltd (ASX:AZY) has welcomed a firm commitment from Netherlands-based Commodity Discovery Fund (CDF) to raise A$1 million through the issue of 23,809,524 new shares at A$0.042 per share.

Kin Mining NL (ASX:KIN) (FRA:8KM) has purchased a third-party 1.5% net smelter royalty (NSR) covering future production at its wholly-owned Cardinia Gold Project.

Azure Minerals Limited (ASX:AZS) (OTCMKTS:AZRMF) has discovered two new broad zones of nickel-copper sulphide mineralisation at its flagship Andover Nickel-Copper Project near Port Hedland in WA.

OliveX Holdings Ltd (NSX:OLX) has signed a milestone partnership with leading health and fitness brand Les Mills to stream all of the ground-breaking Les Mills-created group exercise content using OliveX’s web-player platform.

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