The FTSE 100 closed down 3.64% on Friday, wiping out gains made in recent months. The latest coronavirus variant from South Africa heralded a fear-based selloff for markets, with airlines, banks, and restaurants feeling the pinch, IG Group PLC senior market analyst Joshua Mahony says. The new variant raises concern that the world could be in for another wave of infections and subsequent restrictions, Mr. Mahony says. "With Pfizer stating that it could take up to two weeks for them to ascertain just how well their vaccine can help limit the effects or spread of the new Covid-19 strain, we are likely to see plenty more volatility as traders consider the implications if initial warnings are correct," Mr. Mahony adds.
Checkit to Raise GBP21 Mln to Fund Opportunities in Deskless Worker Industry
Checkit PLC said Friday that it is planning to raise 21 million pounds ($28 million) via a share placing which will be used toward opportunities it sees in the growing deskless worker industry.
Quadrise Fuels Makes Progress in 2021
Quadrise Fuels International PLC said Friday that it continued to make progress across all fronts following its fundraise earlier in the year.
Science Group Says Performing in Line With or Slightly Above Guidance
Science Group PLC said Friday that performance in all units continues positively and that the company's performance remains in line with or slightly above recent guidance.
Aquis Exchange Appoints Glenn Collinson as New Chairman
Aquis Exchange Ltd. said Friday that Glenn Collinson has been appointed as the successor of Niki Beattie as the new chairman of the company.
EQTEC Shares Rise on Collaboration Deal With John Wood Group
Shares in EQTEC PLC rose Friday after it said it has signed a collaboration agreement with John Wood Group PLC to develop and deploy waste-to-energy projects.
Parkmead Shares Fall on Significantly Widened FY Pretax Loss
Shares in Parkmead Group PLC on Friday fell after the company reported a significantly widened pretax loss for fiscal 2021 despite higher gas prices.
Gran Tierra Sells Petrotal Stake for $30.1 Mln
Gran Tierra Energy Inc. has sold its 16.6% shareholding in Peru-focused oil producer Petrotal Corp. for $30.1 million.
Alumasc Appoints Vijay Thakrar as Chairman
Alumasc Group PLC said Friday that it has appointed Vijay Thakrar as non-executive chairman with effect from Jan. 1.
Synthomer Appoints Essentra's Lily Liu as CFO
Synthomer PLC said Friday that it will appoint Essentra PLC's Lily Liu as chief financial officer.
Recycling Technologies Sets IPO Price Range of 150p-170p/Shr; Trading Seen Starting Around Dec 16
Recycling Technologies Group Ltd. on Friday set an initial public offering price range of between 150 pence and 170 pence a share, implying a market capitalization of up to 111 million pounds ($147.9 million) at the top end.
Adams Shares Fall on Swing to 1H Pretax Loss
Shares in Adams PLC fell on Friday after the company reported a swing to a pretax loss for the first half of fiscal 2022 due to investment-return losses.
Private Equity Buyout Boom Hits Bondholders -- Analysis
Leveraged buyouts of companies by private equity firms are sweeping Europe, leaving corporate-bond investors exposed to losses.
SSE Risks Disappointing Both Income and Growth Investors
1136 GMT - SSE is in danger of "falling between two stools" by disappointing both income and growth investors, RBC Capital Markets says as it downgrades the U.K. energy company to sector perform from outperform. Last week, SSE doubled down on its existing strategy of asset disposals to fund renewable capacity growth, RBC says. From the point of view of income investors, stable cashflow generation from the networks business will be diminished by the capex requirements of the renewables division, and prospective dividend yields screen poorly versus peer National Grid, the bank warns. On the other hand, growth investors attracted to renewables will see SSE selling down to minority positions in offshore developments to help fund overall growth, RBC says.
SSE Faces Delicate Balancing Act to Achieve Growth
1118 GMT - SSE shares fall 1.7% to 1,576 pence after RBC Capital Markets cuts the Scottish power generator to sector perform from outperform and its price target to 1800 pence from 1900p. For income investors seeking stable cash-flow generation, the capital-spending needs of SSE's rapidly growing renewables division reduce the attractions of its power networks, RBC says. In addition, growth investors attracted to the renewables portfolio face SSE selling down to minority positions to help fund growth and keep extra debt off the consolidated balance sheet, the brokerage says. "We don't feel the valuation gap to our sum-of-the-parts valuation will close in the near term and a full split of operations may be needed to achieve this," RBC analysts say.
Ocado, Reckitt Benckiser Show Resilience as Black Friday Turns Red
1113 GMT - Online grocer Ocado and consumer-goods company Reckitt Benckiser were the only two FTSE 100 stocks in positive territory in the first half hour of trading this morning, as a new coronavirus variant sent jitters across markets and turned Black Friday red. Shares in Ocado and Reckitt Benckiser rose initially as investors turned to companies that have been essential during the pandemic, namely in the provision of foods and medicines, AJ Bell says. "Markets are clearly speculating that a rapid spread of a more brutal coronavirus strain could once again derail the global economy," the brokerage says. Ocado shares are up 3% at 1801.5 pence. Reckitt rose 1.2% in early trading to a high of 6,273 pence before slipping 0.6%.
AB Foods Shares Take Hit From Primark's Exposure to Potential New Covid-19 Restrictions
1111 GMT - Associated British Foods shares fall as the prospect of another pandemic-related lockdown or new restrictions leave its Primark clothing chain exposed, given that it only operates out of physical stores. The prospect of additional Covid-19 restrictions has arisen after the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in South Africa. Shares are down 4.7% at 1,851.00 pence.
Breedon's Strong Performance Leads to Upgrades
1047 GMT - Breedon's strong third-quarter performance, together with its larger focus on sustainability, performance optimization and expansion, has led to higher forecasts, Peel Hunt says. The U.K. construction-materials group's 2021 pretax-profit forecast was raised 10% to GBP118 million by the brokerage, which says that Breedon has subtly shifted toward more organic investment, coupled with bolt-on deals, although the prospect of larger acquisitions, including a new geographic market, remain active. "We continue to rate Breedon as a buy as we continue to believe it will grow at a healthy pace driven by organic and acquisitive-led growth," Peel Hunt says, raising its target price to 123 pence from 119 pence.
Oil Companies Fall on Coronavirus Variant Fears
1017 GMT - The FTSE 100 is being dragged by a 3.5% slump in the Brent crude oil price, which in turn is weighing on shares in U.K. market majors Royal Dutch Shell and BP, Russ Mould at AJ Bell says. The drop in the oil price is the market's way of saying it is worried about a reduction in economic activity given fears over a new coronavirus variant, which also explains the decline in metal prices, he says. The flip side of falling commodity prices is that a weaker oil price should provide some relief in terms of inflationary pressures, Mould says. BP falls 5.3% and Shell is down 4.5%. In mainland Europe, TotalEnergies declines 4.5%, Eni drops 4.4% and Equinor slips 3.7%.
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