Market report

Scotgold’s Swiss loans | Shell’s Russia write-off | Entain update


5pm: Market closes lower

The FTSE 100 index closed down 35.89 points, or 0.5%, at 7,551.81 while Wall Street was painted red as the US Federal Reserve confirmed that it is looking to tighten its monetary policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.8%, the S&P 500 fell 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite was 0.9% lower.

Back in London, a number of stocks trading without entitlement to their dividend contributed to the selling. Aviva, Barratt Developments, Entain, Abrdn and Lloyds Banking Group lost 4.9%, 4.3%, 4.1%, 3.8% and 1.9% respectively, after the stocks went ex-dividend.

Shell was also a drag on the index. losing 2.2%, after the oil major said it will book an impairment of between $4 billion and $5 billion in the first quarter of 2022 after exiting its operations in Russia.

Brent crude oil was quoted at $99.08 a barrel, down sharply from $104.01 on Wednesday evening and falling below $100 for the first time since February.

7am: Scotgold raises Swiss loan funds

Scotgold Resources, the company behind Scotland’s gold mine, has raised £3 million from a syndicate of wealthy Swiss investors.

The loan agreement is via Fern Wealth, a sophisticated wealth management company based in Zug, Switzerland whose focus is to seek out and manage quality investment opportunities for its Investors.

Scotgold intends to use the funds to accelerate its gold production run rate of c.23,500oz a year by the end of Q1 2023.

7am: Entain lifts revenue

Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain said first-quarter revenues rose by a third after a strong performance from its retail shops as Covid lockdown curbs were eased.

The gambling group said online net gaming revenue fell 8% in the three months to 31 March, in line with expectations against a strong 2021.

7am: Shell’s Russia write-off

Shell said it expects to write off $4 to $5 billion post-tax from the value of its assets in the first quarter of 2022 following its decision to exit Russia.

In a Q1 update the company said “prevailing volatility in commodity prices has led to larger ranges in the financial guidance for the quarter”. 

6am: GSK limits supplies to Russia

GlaxoSmithKline said its consumer arm has halted shipments of supplements and vitamins to Russia as a result of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and would prioritise the supply of over-the-counter medicines for basic needs.

The British drugmaker has also reiterated that it would keep supplying essential medicines and vaccines to Russia. GSK has however, halted clinical trials in the country and stopped as much direct involvement with Russia as possible.

As the West has tightened restrictions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin calls “a special military operation”, healthcare companies have continued to supply medicines to Russia as these are excluded from sanctions on humanitarian grounds.

Global markets

Wall Street saw steep declines in tech and other growth stocks after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s March meeting sharpened investors’ focus on the US central bank’s plans to fight inflation.

Stocks had already fallen ahead of the minutes’ release, building on declines from a day earlier when Fed Governor Lael Brainard’s comments raised concerns about more aggressive Fed action to fight inflation.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.42% and the S&P 500 0.97%. The Nasdaq Composite was down 2.22%, a fall of more than 2% for a second consecutive day .

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