London midday: Miners pace the advance as copper prices rally
London stocks were still firmly in the black by midday on Monday despite ongoing concerns about the pandemic, with miners pacing the gains as copper prices rallied and as hopes of a Covid-19 vaccine lifted sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was up 1% at 6,155.64.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: "Even though the pandemic is getting worse, stocks in Asia drove higher and the feel-good factor spilled over to this part of the world. At the back end of last week, it was reported that Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir - a potential treatment for Covid-19 - reduced the fatality rate in patients by 62%.
"BioNTech, which is working with Pfizer on a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, said they are hoping to get approval for the drug by Christmas. It seems that optimism surrounding the drug stories has overshadowed the fact that yesterday was another record day in terms of new cases, according to the WHO."
Investors were also looking ahead to the start of the US earnings season, with big banks JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup among those slated to report.
The positive tone in markets came despite a rise in new coronavirus infections in the US and elsewhere.
On home shores, the latest survey from Springboard showed that visits to shops in the UK more than halved in June despite the reopening of many non-essential shops from the Covid-19 lockdown.
Footfall fell 56.3% in June from a year earlier as a spike in activity the first week after reopening on 15 June petered out towards the end of the month.
The monthly decline was a big improvement on the 73.3% year-on-year drop in May when almost all shops were closed. In the week after reopening footfall jumped 40% from a week before but in the final two weeks of the period activity rose 6.6% and 2.4%.
Footfall fell by 55% in both England and Wales compared with a 73% decline in Scotland and Wales where non-essential stores reopened later. Visits to shops in central London were down 81% despite a spike in activity in the first week after reopening.
Activity varied greatly between locations in June from a year earlier. Footfall dropped by 65% on high streets and 62% in shopping centres but by 32% in retail parks. Springboard said this was partly because retail parks have grocers and homeware stores, which reopened earlier than other non-food retailers.
But the retail data company said the figures may indicate how bricks and mortar shopping will develop as retailers adjust to the new environment created by the crisis.
"The fact that retail parks are easily accessible by car, they are open air and comprise large spacious stores, makes them more appealing to consumers during the phases of easing lockdown restrictions," Diane Wehrle, Springboard's insights director, said.
"This is a sharp contrast with high streets and shopping centres which rely on a blend of shoppers, workers, students, tourists and residents to fuel spending. A large proportion of shopping centres are located within town centres."
In equity markets, mining stocks were the standout performers, with Rio Tinto, Anglo American and BHP all sharply higher as copper prices surged on possible supply issues after workers at a Chilean mine owned by Antofagasta voted in favour of strike action.
Elsewhere, gold miner Centamin shone after it reported higher second-quarter production and said it was on track to meet full-year guidance as it said the pandemic had not materially affected operations.
Security services firm G4S was the top performer on the FTSE 250 after it said first-half profit would be significantly ahead of market consensus.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Evraz (EVR) 313.00p 4.65%
Fresnillo (FRES) 976.60p 3.89%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 939.00p 3.07%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,738.00p 2.64%
Avast (AVST) 570.50p 2.61%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,974.40p 2.57%
BHP Group (BHP) 1,704.60p 2.39%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,141.00p 2.33%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,160.00p 2.18%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 3,856.00p 2.17%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 634.00p -2.16%
National Grid (NG.) 865.20p -0.67%
Tesco (TSCO) 214.00p -0.37%
Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) 262.40p -0.30%
Relx plc (REL) 1,804.50p -0.30%
Informa (INF) 439.00p -0.30%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 117.95p -0.25%
BT Group (BT.A) 109.80p -0.18%
ITV (ITV) 67.20p -0.15%
Schroders (SDR) 2,928.00p -0.07%
FTSE 250 - Risers
G4S (GFS) 130.05p 8.87%
Capita (CPI) 40.12p 5.80%
Hammerson (HMSO) 77.54p 5.47%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 48.40p 5.26%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 29.65p 4.22%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 543.40p 4.10%
Victrex plc (VCT) 1,911.00p 4.03%
Carnival (CCL) 1,024.50p 3.90%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,085.00p 3.53%
Future (FUTR) 1,218.00p 3.40%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Sanne Group (SNN) 615.00p -3.00%
Hastings Group Holdings (HSTG) 171.10p -2.78%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 700.50p -2.71%
Sabre Insurance Group (SBRE) 256.50p -2.47%
Savills (SVS) 782.00p -2.19%
PPHE Hotel Group Ltd (PPH) 1,120.00p -2.18%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 147.00p -2.00%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,282.00p -1.99%
National Express Group (NEX) 162.90p -1.93%
Investec (INVP) 168.25p -1.92%