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Omega submits Covid test case | Macfarlane board hire
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4.45pm: London positive on Covid hopes
London turned positive on hopes that any further Covid restrictions may be less stringent and damaging to businesses.
The FTSE 100 index closed up 50.17 points at 7,188.52.
Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, said: “With US markets closed for Labour Day London’s new term has started in an upbeat if steady manner with all indices getting a big green tick.
“The start of the new term has given investors a chance to assess what the next few months will look like if Delta doesn’t force any restriction U-turns. Figures released by TfL [Transport for London] today certainly seem to suggest that hybrid rather than remote working will dominate over the next months.
“This morning’s commute was the busiest since the pandemic began but one Monday in September doesn’t tell the full story and a quick look across the share prices for Real Estate Investment Trusts and the retail and hospitality sectors shows a mixed bag of performance.
“But once again the big economic picture is being framed by labour shortages and supply chain snarl ups which have dented car sales and slowed the pace of construction. No industry seems immune to the current challenges which look set to eat away at all that lovely recovery momentum which had been hoped would propel the UK through the long winter months. Furlough might be in its final days, but the schemes end seems unlikely to solve this particular riddle.”
Small cap Omega Diagnostics ticked up 0.5p to 53.5p after filing evidence on its Covid testing kit (see below).
9am: Blue chips start brightly
London’s traders gave the FTSE 100 a better than expected start after a weak jobs report in the US on Friday.
After the first hour, the blue chip index was trading 38 points higher at 7,176.47.
Small cap stock Powerhouse Energy was 18% higher after it emerged that German gases giant Linde could deploy some of the UK group’s unique plastics recycling technology.
7am: Omega submits Covid test evidence
Scottish medical testing firm Omega Diagnostics Omega has submitted evidence for its Covid self-testing kit to the European authorities.
The test is already approved for professional-use and once approved would allow the test to be sold in Europe for home-use.
Colin King, CEO of Omega, said: “As a result of a lot of hard work by our team and Ulster University, we are very pleased to have submitted all of the information required for self-test use approval for our VISITECT COVID-19 antigen test. Once approval is granted, we anticipate strong demand for a UK developed and manufactured product.
“Furthermore, we believe we have a high-quality, high-performance product with significant global appeal, including the US market, due to that market’s size and high barriers to entry. “
7am: Macfarlane NED
Macfarlane Group has appointed lawyer Aleen Gulvanessian as a non-executive director with effect from 1 October.
She will chair the Glasgow packaging group’s remuneration committee, succeeding Andrea Dunstan.
Ms Gulvanessian was a corporate partner at Eversheds Sutherland for 30 years before stepping down in May 2019 to become a consultant on boards and governance matters. An experienced corporate lawyer, she has advised private and quoted UK companies across a range of sectors.
Gulvanessian is a member of the Governance Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, to which she was appointed in June 2019.
Stuart Paterson, Chairman of Macfarlane Group, said: “I am delighted to welcome Aleen to the Board of Macfarlane Group. I am confident that her strong legal, Governance and general corporate experience will be a significant asset for the business.”
Chinese equities rose sharply this morning, led by tech shares, amid plans for a new stock exchange in Beijing with sentiment boosted by market-friendly rhetoric. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng also rose 0.5%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.7%, extending a rally on hopes a new prime minister there would bring added fiscal stimulus.
Otherwise, traders are still poring over the implications of Friday’s US payroll data.
The world’s largest economy added just 235,000 new jobs last month – around 500,000 fewer than expected with the rapid spread of the Covid delta variant blamed for the shortfall.
Wall Street is closed for Labor Day.
Brent crude oil fell 82 cents to $71.79 a barrel, while US crude lost 73 cents to $68.56.
In UK corporate news, Dunelm, Ted Baker and Morrisons are among firms reporting figures this week.