FTSE 100 called lower as lockdown reality sets in

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The FTSE 100 looks set to open in the red after the Prime Minister on Saturday effectively placed the UK under house arrest with new restrictions aimed at halting the alarming rise in coronavirus infections.

The measures, set be implemented on Thursday, are a little less draconian than those in place over the spring and early summer.

Even so, economists believe the financial toll will be high, with one expert stating £1.8bn will be lost every day the nation stays under lockdown.

Meanwhile, reports that Rishi Sunak was ready to announce his opposition to the new strictures by resigning have been firmly denied.

Saturday’s farcical announcement, which was put back several times, therefore interfering with peak TV, temporarily overshadowed the week’s other big news – Tuesday’s US election.

US election

Globally, there have been a few nerves ahead of the vote. The opinion polls have Democrat Joe Biden well ahead, but then they were wrong in 2016 when Donald Trump was first elected.

The element of uncertainty is the reaction of the loser, particularly if Trump fails to secure a second Whitehouse term, and whether the process will be mired in litigation if, unexpectedly, it is a close race.

“I maintain that the Senate race is the crucial one and will have the most impact on markets,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“A Republican Senate will be an immediate negative, but probably the best outcome for equity markets longer-term.

“Massive fiscal stimulus and much higher taxes will be off the table in this scenario.”

Here at home, the business calendar remains busy with updates from blue-chips Sainsbury (LON:SBRY), AstraZeneca (LON: AZN) and Associated British Foods (LON: ABF) this week.

Around the markets

  • Pound worth US$1.2906 (-0.32%)
  • Bitcoin $13,706.57 (-0.14%)
  • Gold US$1,882.90 per ounce (+0.16%)
  • Brent crude US$36.58 (-3.58%)

6.45 am: Early Markets: Asia / Australia

Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher today after a private survey showed that China’s manufacturing sector expanded for the sixth straight month in October.

China’s Shanghai Composite was up 0.08% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged higher by 1.13%.

Shares in Japan led gains with a 1.51% rise and South Korea’s Kospi followed closely with a 1.48% gain.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.40% higher after Aussie manufacturing activity expanded by the most in over two years in October.

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Proactive Australia news:

Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX:AVL) has produced high-purity vanadium pentoxide from representative leach liquor using hydrometallurgical methods, tested as part of a detailed flowsheet validation program for the Australian Vanadium Project.

Emyria Ltd (ASX:EMD) has strengthened its capital position after receiving a Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive refund of A$954,180 for the financial year 2019/2020.

Ironbark Zinc Limited (ASX:IBG) has executed a Letter of Interest (LOI) with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM), the official export credit agency of the United States’ Federal Government.

VIP Gloves Ltd (ASX:VIP) saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) surge 340% in the September quarter, boosted by a sharp rise in average selling price and the addition of two production lines.

Pharmaxis Ltd (ASX:PXS) (OTCMKTS:PXSLY) (FRA:UUD) has reached the top biotech echelon with the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) agency’s approval of its cystic fibrosis treatment Bronchitol® (mannitol) representing a transformational milestone.

Imugene Ltd (ASX:IMU) (OTCMKTS:IUGNF) has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug (IND) approval to initiate a phase-1 clinical trial of its checkpoint immunotherapy candidate, PD1-Vaxx in the USA.

Musgrave Minerals Ltd (ASX:MGV) has achieved gold recovery results described as exceptional in initial metallurgical test-work on Starlight gold lode at Break of Day deposit within the Cue Gold Project in the Murchison region of Western Australia.

Castillo Copper Ltd’s (ASX:CCZ) (LON:CCZ) (FRA:7OR) systematic infill soil sampling at the Mkushi Project in Zambia’s copper-belt have confirmed eight target areas with significant copper anomalism and extended strike lengths, which now range from 1.5 to 4.2 kilometres.

Nexus Minerals Ltd (ASX:NXM) RC drilling has confirmed high-grade mineralisation within the proposed open pit at Pinnacles JV Gold Project in the eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

Great Boulder Resources (ASX:GBR) has received more encouraging assay results, which suggest that Mulga Bill at the Side Well Gold Project sits within a large mineralised system, with gold identified over more than 3 kilometres of strike and coincident with a deeper weathering profile and extensive shearing.

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