Markets: Close

Diageo | AMTE | National Grid warning | Parkmead | Abrdn


10pm: Wall Street lower

Stocks on Wall Street closed in the red as investors digested a surprisingly big production cut from OPEC+, and looked ahead to the nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.15%, as the S&P 500 lost 1.02% and the Nasdaq Composite was off 0.68%.

Twitter lost 3.72% amid reports that some of the financial backers of Elon Musk’s controversial deal to buy the social network were backing out.

The FTSE 100 was back below the 7000 threshold, down 0.78%, or 55.35 points, to 6997.27. 

Investment firm Abrdn was downgraded by Deutsche Bank which issued a ‘sell’ rating and trimmed the target price to 125p from 135p ahead of a possible dividend cut when the full year results are unveiled. Abrdn shares fell 1.1%, or 1.54p, to 135.61p.

National Grid alert

National Grid has warned of possible three-hour power cuts if Russia cuts off gas supplies and Britain experiences a cold snap.

The company said it was cautiously confident  there would be enough electricity to meet the demands of businesses and consumers this winter.

But in the “unlikely event” of a shortage of gas, it said some consumer could be without power for certain periods of the day to “ensure the overall security and integrity of the electricity system across Great Britain”. Shares were down 14.4p at 910.40p.

Parkmead surges

Shares in Parkmead Group, the Aberdeen-based energy explorer, surged 12.78% to 60p following a positive update on its UK onshore renewable projects.

It said Kempstone Hill Wind Farm, bought in February this year, had now been fully integrated into the group and had been immediately revenue and cash flow enhancing.  It is now considering a combined wind and solar farm at its Pitreadie project, with added potential for a battery storage unit.

Diageo’s good start

Johnnie-Walker-Princes Street

Whisky and Guinness maker Diageo got off to a good start in its 2023 fiscal year with organic net sales growth across all regions.

Chief executive Ivan Menezes said he expects the operating environment to remain challenging with ongoing volatility due to geopolitical uncertainty, a weakening of consumer spending power, inflationary pressures and disruption related to Covid-19.

“However, I am confident in the resilience of our business and our ability to navigate these headwinds while executing our strategic priorities, including our ambitious 2030 sustainability plan,” he said in a statement ahead of the AGM.

“We remain well-positioned to deliver our medium-term guidance for fiscal 23 to fiscal 25 of organic net sales growth consistently in the range of 5% to 7% and organic operating profit growth sustainably in the range of 6% to 9%.”

Shares slid 1.4%, or 53p, to 3728.5p.

AMTE Power milestone

Battery developer AMTE Power has signed a contract to manufacture its Ultra High Power cells at UKBIC in Coventry to support the next phase of its commercialisation plans.  This is a significant milestone for AMTE Power. 

The use of UKBIC to manufacture cells is a key milestone to upscale production ahead of mass commercialisation plans as AMTE Power progresses towards its first Megafactory in Dundee.

Kevin Brundish, CEO, said: “Having already secured significant early interest in our Ultra High Power cell from major automotive partners, this contract will enable us to bring our products to market sooner while we progress our own Megafactory.”

Imperial Brands

Tobacco company Imperial Brands unveiled a £1bn share buyback as it said current year trading was in line with expectations.

“In line with previous guidance, we expect full-year net revenue and group adjusted operating profit to both grow by around 1% at constant currency,” the company said in a trading update. Shares rose 2.5% or 47p, to 1944p.

Global markets

Oil prices rose for a fourth session early today, with Brent at a three-week high, after OPEC+ agreed to further tighten global crude supply with a deal to slash production by about 2 million barrel per day, the largest reduction since 2020.

Brent crude futures for December settlement rose 22 cents, or 0.2%, to $93.59 per barrel by 0234 GMT after settling 1.7% higher in the previous session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for November delivery gained 22 cents, or 0.3%, to $87.98 per barrel, building on a 1.4% rise on Tuesday.

The agreement between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, comes ahead of a European Union embargo on Russian oil and would squeeze supplies in an already tight market, adding to inflation.

Minutes from the European Central Bank‘s last meeting will be released later today and might shed more light on its thinking going into the next gathering on 27 October when analysts expect a 75 basis points rise in interest rates.

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