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Dow Jones surges; Free Port bids invited; Menzies deal

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Traders on Wall St (pic: NYSE)

10pm: Wall Street surges

Wall Street traders drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average to a record close thanks to an injection of news about another vaccine.

Pharma company Moderna stole the limelight from rival vaccine producer Pfizer after revealing that its own jab had shown itself to be 94.5% effective at protecting people from Covid-19.

It is also able to last for up to 30 days in household refrigerators and at room temperature for as much as 12 hours whereas Pfizer’s product requires being kept in very cold conditions.

The Dow fell just short of 30,000, surging by 470.63 points or 1.6% to 29,950.44, while the S&P 500 hit a new peak and closed 1.16% firmer. The Nasdaq Composite ended the session 0.8% stronger.

European equities also surged on the news. Both London and Paris climbed 1.7% while Frankfurt ended the day 0.7% higher. The FTSE 100 closed 104.90 (1.66%) higher at 6,421.29.

Shares in companies likely to benefit from a recovery in consumer sentiment rose strongly. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group soared 9.7%, engine maker Rolls-Royce was up 8.7% and Premier hotel chain owner Whitbread climbed almost 11%.

Shares in companies likely to benefit from a recovery in consumer sentiment rose strongly. British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group soared 9.7%, engine maker Rolls-Royce was up 8.7% and Premier hotel chain owner Whitbread climbed almost 11%.

Oil prices in London soared by more than 2.4% to $43.82 a barrel as the vaccine news stoked hopes of a recovery in energy demand.

Oil companies Shell and BP rose 6.7% and 6% respectively.

4pm: Bars to close

Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the All Bar One and Browns brands, has confirmed it to close up to 20 sites as the hospitality sector faces continued Covid-19 restrictions.

It controls more than 1,700 bars, pubs and restaurants and more than 95% of its sites re-opened after the first lockdown.

It is understood the FTSE 250 company is working with advisers at CBRE to offload up to 20 sites under review, which will be closed if M&B cannot sell them to new owners.

3pm: COP26 sponsors

Three of Scotland’s biggest companies will be among those helping to underpin the COP26 climate change summit due to take place in Glasgow next year.

Full story here

1pm: Five star hotel to close

The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews is the latest five-star hotel to close because of the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the government.

Full story here

8.15am: Markets rise on Asia surge

Investors took their lead from strong overnight sessions in Asia following the latest trade deal and growing hopes of another Covid vaccine and the receding likelihood of a legal challenge to the US elections from Donald Trump.

The FTSE 100 was up 43.53 points (0.69%) at 6,359.92.

7am: Fund manager sells Omega stock

Former Baillie Gifford fund manager Richard Sneller has reduced his holding in Omega Diagnostics, the Scottish firm due to begin manufacturing of Covid test kits.

Mr Sneller, who handed over the reins of his £1.1 billion Baillie Gifford Emerging Markets Growth fund in April, has cut his stake from 6.98% to 5.29%.

He owned 25% of the company at the turn of the year since when the shares soared from 6.5p to beyond 120p. They were trading at today’s open strongly higher at 65p after a bumpy few days.

Wood Group sale

Engineering company Wood Group said it had completed the planned sale of its joint venture interest in Canadian gas turbine group TransCanada to partner TC Energy for $67 million.

The deal represented a multiple of about 7.6 times Wood’s share of expected 2020 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

Aberdeen-based Wood said the sale formed part of its focus on portfolio optimisation, with the cash proceeds to reduce debt.

Free port bids

The Treasury today invites bids for seven free ports in England with expectations that 10 will be set up across the UK. Port of Cromarty has expressed an interest.

Areas selected will benefit from a range of tax reliefs on such things as the purchase of land.

A free port allows companies to pay tariffs only when imported goods are sold into the domestic market, or export the final goods without paying UK tariffs.

The last of the UK’s seven free ports closed in 2012 with the expiry of the Statutory Instruments which allowed them to operate at Prestwick Airport, Liverpool, Southampton, Port of Tilbury and Port of Sheerness.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our new free ports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK, creating new jobs, and turbo-charging our economic recovery.”

Loganair

Loganair signs Menzies contract

Regional airline Loganair has signed a three-year ground handling agreement with Menzies that will provide support for the latter’s staff at Edinburgh and Glasgow airports.

The contract is an extension of Menzies’ existing relationship Loganair, with Menzies already providing de-icing services to the airline at Edinburgh and Glasgow. Menzies also carries out de-icing, cleaning and ground handling services for Loganair at Manchester and the Isle of Man. 

Markets

The FTSE 100 look set to get off to a positive start to the trading week, taking its cue from Asia’s main markets which rose on the back of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

This is a new trading bloc that has seen countries such as China, Japan and South Korea join forces with Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

The alliance, which marks the first time that China, Japan and South Korea are in a single trade agreement, aims to gradually reduce tariffs across many areas.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.05%, while South Korea’s Kospi was up 1.83%. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.81% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.60%.



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