After touching a nearly three-year high earlier in the session, the pound is now down slightly against the dollar, reflecting a nervous mood on markets.
A US pension fund has launched a legal action against AstraZeneca claiming it suffered losses when the companyâ????s share price fell after the results of its Covid vaccine trial disappointed investors.Â
Itâ????s not clear how many parcels are in the backlog but they are being returned to senders and in some cases refunded.The Amazon Partner Carrier Programme helps online sellers move parcels into Amazon fulfilment centres so itâ????s not home delivery.
EDF has blamed the pandemic for further delays and cost rises at its Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant being built in Somerset.Â
Gains for Pearson and Cineworld have cooled off slightly in recent minutes, with no signs of the full-blown price explosion seen across the pond.
As discussed earlier on the blog, upwards pressure could be coming from both retail investors and nervous short sellers. Markets.comâ????s Neil Wilson reckons the latter group is more to blame for the shift:
He urged traders to exercise â????extreme cautionâ???? around some of the most volatile companies associated with the WallStreetBets rally.
Tensions between the EUÂ and UK-headquartered pharma giant AstraZeneca have continued today, with company disputing claims made by the European Commission that it pulled out of a crunch talk over delayed vaccine deliveries.
Sky Newsâ???? Adam Parson says the Commission is also calling for the FTSE 100 group to publish the contract between the two:
NEW: European Commission has invited AstraZeneca to publish the entire vaccine contract.I understand EU believes the company has already breached a confidentiality clause when CEO gave an interview. Plus Brussels sources say he misrepresented the [email protected]
An interesting line coming in fromÂ Reuters â???? Iâ????ll add more details when they come through but on the surface this looks like a major blow to Londonâ????s clearing houses:
European stocks have dropped to session lows, with signs of nerves apparent ahead of this eveningâ????s monetary policy decision from the Federal Reserve (due at 7pm GMT).Â Â
Although the FOMC is not expected to take any new action, close attention will paid to its assessment of shifting economic conditions in the face of virus.
Number of rents in cities nearly trebles as tenants move to suburbs and Airbnb flats switch to long-term lets:Â Dividends from these five stocks should hold up even as payouts across the stock market fall.
Nissan is preparing to cut 160 white-collar staff at its giant Sunderland plant as it streamlines its UK operations.
Itâ????s important to note that it is not certain that Pearson, Cineworld and the rest are rising because of a GameStop-style short squeeze â???? stock prices can move for a large number of reasons, and Cineworld in particularly has been pretty volatile since even before the pandemic.
One interesting factor to consider is that some price moves may be a sign of short-sellers burning their positions: that is to say, promptly closing out their shorts out of fear that prices may rise strongly (which would increase the short sellersâ???? losses). In the process, the price gets pushed up.
Again, itâ????s difficult to immediately discern the underlying market dynamics, but burning positionsÂ could be prudent given GameStopâ????s riseÂ has already obliterated some US hedge funds.
Two other climbers who appear to be catching an updraft from current short-squeezing phenomenon are Petrofac and Sainsburys â???? respectively the fourth- and fifth-most-shorted companies on Londonâ????s markets, according to FCA declarations compiled by ShortTracker.
Michael Burry was one of the early champions of GameStop, helping to spark the unprecedented retail frenzy currently underway.
Now, the investorÂ â???? famous in â????The Big Shortâ???? for predicting the subprime mortgage collapse that led to the Great Financial Crisis â????has warned that the retailerâ????s rally may be out of control.
â????If I put $GME on your radar, and you did well, Iâ????m genuinely happy for you,â???? Burry, who made a prescient bet against mortgage securities before the 2008 crisis, tweeted yesterday, adding:
The groupâ????s shares have risen another roughly 80pc in overnight trading, putting it on track for a huge jump at the open:
Shares in education giant Pearson have jumped nearly 12pc this morning, in what appears to be a jump for heavily-shorted stocks in the wake of GameStopâ????s surge in the US.
Goldman Sachs has slashed chief executive David Soloman’s pay by $10m (Â£7.3m) as a penalty for the 1MDB corruption scandal.Â
Babcock shares have dropped sharply this morning after a double downgrade by Barclays, which issued a rare double downgrade on the company.
Barclays cut its rating on the defence manufacturer â???? a key Ministry of Defence supplier â???? from a positive â????overweightâ???? rating to a negative â????underweightâ????, saying the FTSE 250 group will likely need to undertake a capital raise.
Analyst Charlotte Keyworth said a range of uncertainties including Babcockâ????s balance sheet and a lack of guidance would discourage or prevent many investors from buying its shares, despite an â????optically attractive valuationâ????.
She said a Â£400m to Â£600m rights issue now looks likely, with the companyâ????s material debt load made cash flow a key priority.
Pharma giant Sanofi has agreed to produce millions of doses of theÂ BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for the EU, in an unusual collaboration.
Explorer Tullow Oil has fallen after predicting oil production will drop in the coming year due to disruptions in 2020.
The group sees production averaging 60k to 66k barrels per day, compared with 2020â????s 74.9k per day.
It expectsÂ 2020 full-year revenues of $1.4bn, with gross profit standing at about $400m. The companyâ????s debt pile dropped from $2.8bn to $2.4bn over the year.
Tullow and its lenders have reached an agreement to extend a â????redeterminsationâ???? of its reserve-based lending facility by â????up to one monthâ????. It had been due to complete this month.
The FTSEÂ has dipped slightly amid a mixed opening for European markets, with a stronger pound putting some pressure on Londonâ????s blue-chips.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, owner of UK chemists Boots, has named Rosalind â????Rozâ???? Brewer as its chief executive, with current CEO Stefano Pessina moving to executive chairman.
Ms Brewer, who was most recently chief operating officer of cafe chain Starbucks, will become the only black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she takes up the role in mid-March. She previously held roles at retailer Samâ????s Club, part of the Walmart group, including as its leader.
The pound has risen about 0.2pc against the dollar to hit a fresh high of $1.3758, its strongest level since May 2018.
Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to fall as investors shrugged off Microsoft’s bumper results to focus on the impact of Covid on the global economy.
1)Â Arcadia collapsed under Â£750m debt mountain: In an exclusive, documents seen byÂ The TelegraphÂ show Sir Philip Green’s empire collapsed under the weight of debts totalling Â£750m.
2)Â Tim Martin pockets Â£50m in new Wetherspoons share sale: Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin has an extra Â£50m in his pocket after selling almost 4.4m shares in the pub chain on Tuesday.
3)Â 600,000 small firms on the brink as Covid restrictions bite: There was a sharp rise in companies in ‘significant financial distress’ at end of 2020 as business leaders urge Chancellor to take further action.
4)Â Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in turf war over rival satellite plans: The two moguls’ rival satellite companies, SpaceX and Kuiper, have asked US regulators to decide their claims to the same orbital territory.
5)Â Daily commute must evolve to lure â????Covid aristocracyâ????: Lockdown has derailed plans for home workers to return to the office. But the commute is not dead â???? even if some are reluctant to return.
Asian equities slipped on Wednesday as investors looked to the Federal Reserve’s guidance on its monetary policy while futures for US tech shares jumped after strong earnings from Microsoft.
MSCI’s gauge of Asian ex-Japan shares slipped 0.3pc, dragged lower by profit-taking in resource shares as some investors have grown wary of stretched valuations.
But Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.2pcÂ and the region’s tech-heavy markets, such as South Korea and Taiwan eked out small gains, helped by 0.5pcÂ rises in Nasdaq futures after Microsoft’s brisk quarterly results.
Microsoft shares rose 4pcÂ in extended trading after its Azure cloud computing services grew more 50pc. The results boosted optimism for other U.S. tech giants, including Apple and Facebook, which announce quarterly results later in the day.
Meanwhile GoldmanÂ SachsÂ cut its CEO David Solomon’s 2020 salary by $10 million to $17.5 million because of the bank’s role in the 1MDB Malaysian bribery scandal, according to documents filed Tuesday.
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– AMC Set to Wipe Pandemic Plunge After Shares Double in Premarket
– Cineworld is overnight hit amid frenzy for shorted stocks
– Cineworld shares surge as traders fight back against short-sellers
– Short-sellers feel the squeeze as GameStop fever strikes London – live updates
– Pearson shares rise on GameStop contagion
– FTSE 100 continues descent; confusion over AstraZeneca/EU meeting to discuss COVID-19 vaccine supplies
– Pearson and Cineworld shares jump amid 'manic' Reddit short-selling feud
– Heavily-shorted Pearson, Cineworld surge
– AMC shares triple as retail investor raid of hedge fund short targets spreads from GameStop