FTSE 100 Live November 12: AstraZeneca Results, Pascal Soriot, Third Quarter Results, China Purchases, Singles Day Record, US Dollar, Inflation, Gold Price


straZeneca today announced its intention to achieve “modest profitability” on new orders for its Covid-19 vaccine, having so far delivered 1.5 billion doses at cost.

The update came as Astra reported better-than-expected third-quarter sales, although shares fell 5% after profit figures fell short of expectations and chief executive Pascal Soriot said left the pharmaceutical giant’s forecast for the entire year unchanged.

Meanwhile, record sales figures for the Chinese version of Black Friday, known as Singles Day, boosted Asian markets overnight. The momentum did not benefit the FTSE 100 index, which fell from its 20-month high near 7,400.

Live updates


The trend to buy M&S shares continues

The fashion to own Marks & Spencer shares continued today as the once-struggling retailer ends a spectacular week at its highest level since May 2019.

Shares gained a further 2% and rose more than a fifth to 238p after Wednesday’s results showed momentum in the retailer’s long-awaited rally.

Yesterday, retail analysts at brokerage Peel Hunt swung behind M&S with a new target price of 260p. They added, “M&S may never be able to reach the heights it reached years ago again, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a very profitable investment. “

M&S wasn’t the only one posting big share price gains this week, with the trade updates journal also offering rich rewards at ITV and Halfords, among others.

Precious metal miners also surged after the gold price hit a 20-week high of $ 1,850 an ounce to reflect inflation hedging after a sharp rise in consumer prices in the United States at 6.2% in October.

Today, Polymetal International, listed on the FTSE 100, fell back from 14p to 1495p, but the Russian miner is 9% higher during the week. Egypt-focused Centamin is also up 11% since Monday, despite falling 1.45p to 103.9p in the FTSE 250 today.

The FTSE 100 index slipped 37.26 points to 7,346.92 after falling 3% on earnings day for its biggest stock, AstraZeneca. However, Burberry and Johnson Matthey were cheered on as they recovered 3% and 1% after their shares took a hit yesterday.

Highlights for the FTSE 250 index included a 2% rise for Redrow as it became the latest homebuilder to report favorable trading. Shares rose 14.6p to 642.2p after revealing 2.1% growth in net private bookings over the past 19 weeks to £ 672million.

Among FTSE 250 cutters, Molten Ventures slipped 7% at the end of a week in which the venture capital firm changed its name to Draper Esprit.

Wood Group fell 5% despite the Aberdeen engineer announcing a strategic review to determine how to leverage its built environment-focused consulting operations.

His update also showed improvement in revenue and profits in the second half of 2021, but stocks fell 8.65p to 192.35p, Wood said the recovery rate in his projects line had been slower than planned.


Landsec sells Canary Wharf block for £ 200million

The commercial real estate developer said it sold 6-9 Harbor Exchange to a real estate fund managed by private equity giant BlackStone.

BlackStone’s European Real Estate Income Fund (BEPIF) paid £ 196.5million for the property, representing a net return of 4% for the land titles.


Sales growth for singles slows

Sales growth slowed for Singles Day, one of the world’s largest annual online shopping events.

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that created the event in 2009, said it sold $ 84.54 billion worth of merchandise on its platform during the 11-day event, which culminated on Thursday.

The total was a record for the event and 8.5% above last year’s transport. However, this was the first time Singles Day had not seen double-digit percentage growth since its inception by Alibaba.

Yang Guang of Alibaba said the company “has experienced steady and quality growth.”

Singles Day is China’s response to Black Friday. Alibaba created the event as a way to boost sales. It is touted as an alternative to Valentine’s Day, singletons encourage each other to purchase discounted products during the event.

The slowdown in growth comes amid a crackdown on tech giants like Alibaba by Chinese authorities. The crackdown has hit Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma, with Chinese authorities forcing Ma to remove the float from his company Ant Financial last year.


TheWorks optimistic despite supply chain pressure

TheWorks.co.uk, which sells arts, crafts, toys, books and stationery, saw two-year sales growth of 17.9% for the 26 weeks leading up to 31 October.

The better-than-expected performance reflects the growth of stores and e-commerce at double pre-pandemic levels, helped by families taking vacations this summer as well as a strong back-to-school period.

The company said early indications for Christmas sales are positive, although it has incurred significant additional costs to minimize the impact of pressures on the supply chain. Stocks fell 2p to 55p.


Astra causes FTSE 100 weakness

As the largest company in the FTSE 100 index, AstraZeneca’s 3% drop on earnings day meant a weekend in London on a bad note.

Astra fell from 321p to 9123p, although the drop only brought the stock back to where it was at the start of the month. Rival GlaxoSmithKline, meanwhile, built on their recent improvement by adding 5.8p to 1595.6p.

The FTSE 100 index weakened 21.9 points to 7,362.28, with other stocks in the red, including Ladbrokes owner Entain and oil giant Royal Dutch Shell after declines of more than 1%.

Johnson Matthey’s shares stabilized after yesterday’s hard times for the specialty chemicals company, while fashion house Burberry improved 2% after also falling sharply in the previous session.

The FTSE 250 index lost 39.16 points to 23,534.89. The dropouts included Molten Ventures, which was down 6% at the end of a week in which the venture capital firm changed its name to Draper Esprit.


Astra sees ‘modest profit’ for Covid jab

AstraZeneca said it expects the Covid-19 vaccine developed with the University of Oxford to achieve “modest profitability” as more orders are received.

The jab has so far been rolled out on a non-profit basis, with the majority of sales for the current quarter expected to come from these existing pandemic deals. Pfizer and other drugmakers are already selling their Covid vaccines on commercial terms.

Excluding vaccine, Astra’s total revenue has grown 21% in the year so far to $ 23.2 billion (£ 17.3 billion) and 34% in the quarter to reach $ 8.8 billion (£ 6.6 billion).

The company, which completed the addition of US rare disease specialist Alexion during the period, announced a 14% increase in base profit to $ 1.08 per share.


FTSE 100 consolidates at 20-month high

A strong week for European markets ends with the FTSE 100 index in sight of the 7400 mark for the first time in 20 months.

London’s resolute performance follows stronger earnings updates, while investors also ignored this week’s shock of 6.2% inflation in the United States.

The relaxed stock market mood reflects hope that price pressures will begin to ease after the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks global shipping rates, falls back from its observed three-decade high last month.

The fallout from the inflation figure has benefited the dollar-winning stocks of the FTSE 100, with expectations of earlier-than-expected hikes in U.S. interest rates bringing the greenback to its best level against a basket of currencies since July 2020.

The pound remained below $ 1.34 this morning to its lowest level this year, after coming under pressure yesterday by gloomy UK GDP figures for the third quarter.

Chinese markets had a strong overnight session after record sales in their own version of Black Friday, called Singles Day, although sales have grown at the slowest pace since the event began more than ten years.

E-commerce giant Alibaba and rival JD.com are said to have generated more than £ 100 billion in sales between them, as consumers purchased electrical, electronic and personal care products during the event.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 closed more than 1% higher following a technology rally fueled by strong trading on Wall Street on Thursday. The FTSE 100 index is expected to open broadly unchanged at 7387.

Gold also consolidated its recent gains above $ 1,850 an ounce, driven by inflation hedging following the surge in consumer prices in the United States.

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