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FTSE 100 remains lacklustre despite oil price uptick, housebuilders subside on Redrow miss

  • FTSE 100 slips 2 points lower
  • UK CPI down from 1% in July to 0.2% last month
  • Londons biggest IPO of the year, the Hut Group posts a premium

9.40: Builders subside

London stocks have remained quiet and withdrawn as morning trading has gone on, with housebuilders providing a drag but oil some support.

The Footsies quartet of builders were under pressure from read-across from smaller Redrow as it came in short of full-year expectations.

Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW.), Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV), Berkeley Group (LON:BKG) and Persimmon (LON:PSN) were all in the red.

“Life may become a bit tricky for Redrow and its peers when the stamp duty holiday ends and eligibility for the Help to Buy scheme is narrowed next year,” said analyst at AJ Bell.

Elsewhere, Brent Crude Oil futures regained the US$40 per barrel level as hurricane outages helped provide some support to prices, in fact now up more than 2% at US$41.57.

But while Shell (LON:RDSB) was slightly higher, BP (LON:BP.) investors were unmoved, with shares in both trading not much higher than their long-time lows in March.

The FTSE 100 is virtually flat, down less than two points at 6,104.17. The pound is yo-yoing just below US$1.29.

8.50am: Smaller loss than predicted

The FTSE 100 made a quiet start to proceedings on Wednesday ahead of the US Federal Reserves monthly meeting and against the backdrop of some benign domestic inflation data.

The index of UK blue-chips shares opened just 3 points lower at 6,102.51.

The latter first: the eat out to help out scheme pulled down the cost price index reading down from 1% in July to 0.2% last month, its lowest level since 2015.

“Rising coronavirus cases, the reintroduction of restrictions, negative wage growth and the prospect of half a million redundancies as the furlough scheme winds down this autumn will all play a part in keeping consumer spending subdued,” said Fidelitys Tom Stevenson.

“Other pressing issues, like a possible collapse in the Brexit talks and consequent pressure on sterling, will overshadow any inflation worries for now,” he added.

Looking ahead to the Feds rate decision, due after the London close, it is likely to be steady as she goes, according to market watchers.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said US rate-setters stood ready to “initiate further action if the economic data demands it”.

“At the same time, any forward guidance will reveal the current thinking as to how to navigate the current challenges, such as any tweaks to its position on interest rates,” he added.

On the market, Londons biggest IPO of the year got off to a solid start, with the Hut Group (LON:THG) racing to a 6.4% premium.

There were more wobbles for Rolls Royce (LON:RR.), off 3%, as the picture for international travel deteriorated. Remember, Rolls makes and maintains engines for many of the major airlines.

Among them is British Airways, owned by IAG (LON:IAG), which was down 2.6% early on.

But there was a bounce-back for B&Q owner Kingfisher (LON:KGF), up 3.2% after spending most of Tuesday in the sick bay.

Proactive news headlines:

Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS, NASDAQ:TLSA) expects its demerged StemPrintER business will be floated on the London Stock Exchanges standard list late in the fourth quarter, followed potentially by a dual Nasdaq quote next year. The new, independent diagnostics business will be known as Accustem Sciences, and the spin-off will allow Tiziana to focus on its clinical portfolio. Tiziana is using dividend in specie to affect the split. This where a dividend is paid not in cash, but in assets of the company.

Sunrise Resources PLC (LON:SRES) said it has received an Air Quality Operating Permit for its CS Pozzolan-Perlite project in Nevada, the final permit required for a mine and mineral processing plant. No adverse comments or objections were received during the public comment period which ended on September 11, 2020. CS had already received a mining permit from the Federal Bureau of Land Management and a reclamation permit from the Nevada authorities.

Shield Therapeutics PLC (LON:STX), the iron deficiency treatment specialist swung strongly into profit in its first half following a US$11.4mln upfront payment from ASK Pharm, its partner in China. Revenues for the half-year to June 30, 2020, jumped to £8.9mln (2019: £430,000) with net sales in Europe of Feraccru, its flagship product, rising by 50%. Shield posted a profit for the six month period of £3.1mln against a loss of £4.2mln over the same period a year ago, while there was a cash inflow of £2mln that has boosted the total balance to £6.5mln.

KRM22 PLC (LON:KRM) has entered into a new £3mln convertible loan facility provided by its largest shareholder Kestrel Partners, and at the same time has confirmed stronger revenues in the first half of 2020. The interim results statement from the investment software firm included total revenue of £2.3mln, up from £1.8mln in the same period last year, with organic revenue growth at 19%. Adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) in the first half was marked as a £0.3mln loss, while the loss before tax narrowed significantly to £1.2mln from £4.4mln in 2019.

Inspiration Healthcare Group PLC (LON:IHC) has provided a final update on the status of ventilator deliveries to the UK National Health Service (NHS), saying in total it has delivered a total of approximately £7mln of ventilators directly in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The global medical technology company said that in the past few weeks, further deliveries have been made with a value of £2mln taking the total value of all orders delivered by Inspiration Healthcare to approximately £5mln. In addition, the company said that S.L.E. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary acquired in July 2020, recently completed orders of ventilators for COVID-19 for the NHS worth a total value of £2.1mln.

IQ-AI PLC (LON:IQAI) said its subsidiary Imaging Biometrics has announced that the Keck Medical Center of USC (University of Southern California) has purchased its IB Clinic software used for automatically generating IB's quantitative parameter maps. The installation provides Keck Medical Center with a processing solution that allows for standardised brain tumour imaging across multiple sites and platforms for its patients. “We are excited that Keck Medical Center has adopted our brain tumour imaging platform,” Michael Schmainda, Imaging Biometrics' chief executive said in a statement. “IB Clinic's quantitative output is ideal for major cancer centers such as Keck Medical Center as it automates and standardises care across sites, scanners, and patients. We are equally excited for the collaborative research relationships now established between our two organisations and translating future developments that may result,” he added.

Futura Medical PLC (LON:FUM) has said it is “actively engaged” in commercial discussions about its erectile dysfunction (ED) gel ahead of a key meeting with US regulators. The company said it has hired corporate advisers to organise the interaction with potential licensing and marketing partners for MED3000. It believes there is scope for the new treatment to become an over the counter (OTC) product, tapping into a large unmet need. The progress report was provided as part of Futuras interim results statement in which it was revealed the company had, as at June 30, 2020, cash reserves of £2.62mln. This is enough to see Futura through to the second quarter of 2021 under current plans.

Baker Steel Resources Trust Limited (LON:BRST) saw its net asset value (NAV) rise by 4.5% to 77.2p in the half-year to June 30, 2020. Over the period, Baker Steel sold most of its holdings in Polymetal and Ivanhoe, its two largest listed holdings, and reinvested the money in a portfolio of mining shares and some unlisted businesses. That decision helped the first-half performance, said the trust. Significant events are also possible for its largest holding, Bilboes Gold over the second half, the specialist mining investor added.

Frontier IP Group PLC (LON:FIPP) announced that its portfolio company Nandi Proteins has raised £720,000 via a convertible loan, including a £360,000 investment from the UK Government's Future Fund. The commercialising intellectual property specialist said the investment from the Future Fund, established to support innovative businesses through the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, has been matched by £320,000 from the group and £40,000 invested by Shackleton Finance, which specialises in secondary venture and development capital investments. Frontier IP holds a 20.1% stake in Nandi.

Eckoh PLC (LON:ECK) has said that given the continued resilience of its business combined with its high levels of repeat and recurring revenues, and with a further three months of trading behind it, its board has approved the payment of a special dividend of 0.61p per ordinary share. The company said its board will continue to keep its dividend policy under close review whilst the current macro-economic and coronavirus (COVID-19) uncertainty remains. Eckoh added that its financial position remains strong with net cash of £12.2mln as at the end of August 2020, and its management remain confident of further progress in the second half of the year.

accesso Technology Group PLC (LON:ACSO), the ticketing and virtual queuing group said trading recently has been better than expected as more venues have reopened following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. Revenue in the half-year to end June 2020 was US$24.6mln (US$50.7mln) as the company faced enforced venue closures from March onwards, though the outcome was ahead of its earlier expectations, the AIM-listed company said. Going forward, accesso noted that nearly 80% of passport and 60% of LoQueue customer venues had reopened, while it has won several new contracts in the ski sector ahead of the winter season.

TomCo Energy plc (LON:TOM) told investors it has received a Pre-FEED for the proposed Greenfield Energy LLC oil sands plant in Utah. The report, authored by Valkor subsidiary Crosstrails Engineering, set out to confirm the technical feasibility of a 10,000 barrel of oil per day operation and make first estimates of capital and operating costs. According to TomCo, the report provides a high level of confidence in the project.

NQ Minerals PLC (AQSE:NQMI) (OTCQB:NQML) (OTCQB:NQMIY), the base and precious metals producer from its Hellyer Gold Mine in Tasmania Australia, said it has raised £274,805 gross at 7p per share from a UK-based Institutional investor and a group of private investors for general working capital purposes and the company will issue 3,925,789 new ordinary shares under this equity issue.

ADES International Holding PLC (LON:ADES), a leading oil & gas drilling and production services provider in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has said it will announce its interim results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. A conference call will be held the same day at 3.00pm (Egypt) 2pm (UK) 5pm (Dubai) 9am (New York). To participate in the call, investors can email: [email protected]

Belvoir Group PLC (LON:BLV), the UK's largest property franchise, has confirmed that Dorian Gonsalves, its chief executive officer and Louise George, its chief financial officer, will present at the Shares and AJ Bell investor webinar taking place at 6.00pm BST on Thursday, September 17, 2020. A copy of the presentation given via webinar will be available to view post-event on the Reports & Presentations page of the company's website – www.belvoirgroup.com – however, the group said, no material new information will be disclosed.

Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYE) has announced that its management will provide a live presentation relating to its results for the six months ended June 30, 2020, via the Investor Meet Company platform on Friday, September 18, 2020, at 11.00am. The online presentation is open to all existing and potential shareholders. Investors can sign up to Investor Meet Company for free and add to meet Symphony via: https://www.investormeetcompany.com/symphony-environmental-technologies-plc/register-investor

6.50am: Dull start predicted

The FTSE 100 index is expected to start cautiously on Wednesday following mixed performances overnight by US and Asian markets, with all eyes on the latest UK inflation data and tonights Federal Reserve policy decision.

Spread betting firm IG expects the blue-chip index to open around 42 points lower at 6,079, having jumped 79.29 points higher on Tuesday.

Overnight in New York, the Dow Jones Industrials Average closed just 2.27 points, or 0.01% higher at 27,995, but the broader S&P 500 index added 0.5%, and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite gained 1.2% as the sector recovered after recent falls.

Asian markets were also mixed on Wednesday, with Japans Nikkei 225 index up 0.2% but Hong Kongs Hang Seng index down 0.2% in spite of robust industrial output and retail sales data from China.

There was some concern after the World Trade Organization found on Tuesday that the United States had breached global trading rules by imposing multi-billion dollar tariffs in President Donald Trumps trade war with China, a ruling that drew anger from Washington.

Fed rates

The US Federal Reserve will announce its latest policy decision following its two-date meeting at 7.15pm London time today.

Fed chair Jerome Powell and his fellow policymakers are on a state of high alert, according to investment analysts at AJ Bell, in case the recovery from the first-halfs recession proves weaker than expected. Powell recently said the Fed will adjust its inflation target and look for a 2% average over time – meaning that it will be happy to see an overshoot after periods when it has missed that target.

“That means the Fed is prepRead More – Source