London open: Stocks higher on Trump news, stimulus talk
Traders bid stocks higher amid reports indicating that the US President and his election rival, Joe Biden, were out of danger from Covid-19 and amid talk of further government stimulus spending on both side of the Pond.
As ever, investors were also keeping a close eye on the ongoing Brexit talks with Brussels.
"Markets have opened the week on a cautiously optimistic footing, with reports that the US President may be allowed to leave hospital today providing some relief from another bout of pandemic-related concerns," said Richard Hunter, Head of Markets at Interactive Investor.
"[...] Further details on the negotiations between the UK and EU are likely to overshadow market data this week as the ultimate deadline draws ever closer [...]."
As of 0928 BST, the FTSE 100 was rising by 0.27% or 16.08 points to 5,917.72, while the pound was advancing 0.09% to 1.2947.
The Prime Minister had told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show that a Brexit deal was "there to be done" and he hoped that the European Union would agree to the Canada-style agreement that the UK wanted.
However, Boris Johnson, who was speaking on the second day of the Tory conference, added that if London and Brussels failed to strike a deal then "we can more than live with it."
Brent crude oil futures were also bouncing back in the background, advancing 2.47% to $40.24 on the ICE.
On Sunday, Dr. Brian Garibaldi, one of the physicians treating Trump at the Walter Reed military hospital, said the president was "up and well" and could potentially return to the White House to continue his five-day course of the anti-viral treatment remdesivir as soon as Monday.
However, other market reports at the weekend cited White House doctor, Sean Conley, whose disclosures reportedly raised some questions about Garibaldi's rosy prognosis.
To take note of, some Americans were already casting their votes through mail-in ballots.
Also at the weekend, Trump's Democratic rival to the US Presidency, Joe Biden, tested negative for Covid-19 for a second time.
On the stimulus front, on Sunday, the Prime Minister unveiled plans for a 'Generation Buy' to help young people get onto the housing ladder.
Across the Pond, during the previous session, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had indicated that Trump's illness might change the arithmetic and pave the way for a deal on another stimulus package.
In economic news, IHS Markit's services sector Purchasing Managers' Index for September was revised up to show a reading of 56.1, against a preliminary print of 55.1 and a reading of 58.8 for August.
Show's over for Cineworld in UK and US
Cineworld on Monday confirmed it would temporarily suspend operations at all of its UK and US theatres from Thursday due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company cited an “increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures” adding that the move would hit 536 Regal theatres in the US and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK.
Oilfield equipment and services outfit, Weir Group, has inked an agreement for the sale of its Oil & Gas unit to US-based Caterpillar for an enterprise value of £314m. The company said that the transaction continued its transformation into a premium mining technology 'pure play' with the new funds enhancing its flexibility to invest in future growth opportunities.
Greencore said business had picked up in the fourth quarter after production was fully restored at its site in Northampton.The maker of sandwiches and other foods for supermarkets said annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be about £85m after charging more than £10m for one-off Covid-19 costs.
LXi REIT reported “robust” rent collection of 97% to date for the September to December quarter on Monday, having been “actively engaged” with all of its tenants over the summer. The FTSE 250 real estate investment trust said that as a result, it was further increasing its quarterly dividend guidance by 6% to 1.44p per share for the fourth quarter ending 31 December. It said that dividend was expected to be fully covered by net rental income for the quarter.
The merger between Vodafone's Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel is now set to proceed after the telecommunication company's lenders granted their consent for a 'security package' for the new company. Said package was meant to protect the new company should Vodafone Idea be unable to meet certain obligations under its Master Services Agreement. That had been the condition set for the merger to proceed and the parties would now approach the National Company Law Tribunal to make the merger effective.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Melrose Industries (MRO) 120.00p 2.87%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 504.80p 2.79%
GVC Holdings (GVC) 1,021.50p 2.66%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 196.60p 2.61%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,601.00p 2.56%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 105.20p 2.31%
Informa (INF) 395.70p 2.22%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,477.00p 2.14%
Experian (EXPN) 3,004.00p 1.80%
BT Group (BT.A) 100.25p 1.57%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Pennon Group (PNN) 1,048.50p -2.10%
Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB.) 7,522.00p -1.96%
Evraz (EVR) 343.70p -1.80%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,670.00p -1.53%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 6,354.00p -1.34%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 8,652.00p -1.21%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,496.00p -1.19%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,633.00p -0.98%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,656.00p -0.81%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 112.80p -0.70%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,477.00p 15.39%
Rank Group (RNK) 100.20p 6.60%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 229.20p 5.52%
BMO Commercial Property Trust Limited (BCPT) 67.50p 4.81%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 250.90p 3.98%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 264.00p 3.73%
IWG (IWG) 272.40p 3.34%
Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 880.50p 3.22%
ITV (ITV) 72.14p 3.18%
HGCapital Trust (HGT) 302.00p 3.07%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Cineworld Group (CINE) 28.74p -27.19%
Greencore Group (GNC) 92.60p -9.04%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 205.20p -6.47%
Watches of Switzerland Group (WOSG) 332.50p -3.62%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 151.40p -3.29%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 32.55p -2.25%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 49.48p -1.73%
Energean (ENOG) 553.00p -1.58%
IMI (IMI) 1,075.00p -1.29%
National Express Group (NEX) 153.70p -1.22%