Markets Live: Equity indices edge down, Sensex skids 160 points to 37291

RBL Bank has been the stock market darling ever since it hit the primary market in 2016. But the stock has come under severe pressure recently, …

12:25 pm

Oil prices drop on concern over US economy

Brent crude was up 64 cents, or about 1.1 per cent, at $59.28 a barrel at 0255 GMT. – Bloomberg

Oil prices fell on Thursday for the first time in three days after San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly sounded a note of concern about the strength of the US economy.

Brent crude was down 31 cents, or 0.5 per cent, at $60.18 a barrel by 0638 GMT, while US crude was down 18 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $55.60 a barrel. Oil prices rose around 1.5 per cent in the previous session. Click here to read in full the global oil markets report.

12:15 pm

Indiabulls Housing Finance shares drop 8% on Nifty replacement

Shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance on Thursday dropped 8 per cent as Nestle India will replace the company in the benchmark Nifty 50 index from September 27.

The scrip tanked 7.97 per cent to Rs 420.80 on the NSE. Shares of Nestle India, however, rose 2.97 per cent to Rs 12,890.

Nestle India will replace Indiabulls Housing Finance in the benchmark Nifty 50 index from September 27, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) said on Wednesday.

“The replacement will also be applicable to Nifty 50 Equal Weight Index,” the bourse said in a release. – PTI

12:05 pm

Equities struggle on recession, Brexit fears

MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 1 per cent. File Photo – Reuters

Global bond yields flirted with record lows while stocks inched down on Thursday, as global recession worries from intensifying US-China frictions and the spectre of a no-deal Brexit drove investors to safer harbours.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.15 per cent, Singapore shares hit eight-month lows, while Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.07 per cent.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.65 per cent on Wednesday, due in part to gains in the energy sector following a rebound in oil prices. But US stock futures lost 0.2 per cent in Asia. Click here to read in full the Asian markets report.

11:55 am

USFDA nod bodes well for Unichem Labs

Unichem Laboratories has received ANDA approval from the USFDA for Solifenacin Succinate Tablets, 5-mg and 10-mg to market (a generic version of Vesicare tablets of Astellas Pharma US, Inc). The tablets are indicated for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urinary incontinence, urgency, and urinary frequency. Unichem will commercialise the product from its Goa plant. Shareholders of the company will closely monitor the execution.

11:45 am

Shell makes Series-B funding in PRESPL

Global energy major Shell, along with SBI Ventures Neev Fund has jointly made a Series-B funding of Rs 55 crore in Mumbai based bio-energy company- PRESPL.

This is the first investment of the Anglo-Dutch behemoth in Indian a bio-energy firm, and has been directly cleared by the Shell management in the Netherlands. Shell clocked $ 388.4 billion in revenues for 2018. Click here to read in full the report on Shell’s Series-B funding in PRESPL.

11:25 am

Govt sops boost sugar stocks

Stocks of sugar companies soared in an otherwise bearish market, with the Cabinet clearing fresh export concessions for sugar mills.

On Wednesday, the Cabinet approved incentives of Rs 6,268 crore ($876.74 million) to encourage cash-strapped mills to export 6 million tonnes of sugar in the sugar marketing year starting from October 1.

Shares of Bannari Amman Sugar rose two per cent to Rs 1,150, Dhampur Sugar Mills was up 0.15 per cent at Rs 151, Shashi Sugar rose 5 per cent at Rs 8, Dharani Sugar was up 17 per cent at Rs 8 and Bajaj Hindustan Sugar was up 4 per cent at Rs 6.

India is expected to produce 285 lakh tonnes of sugar in this sugar marketing year. With an inventory of 145 lakh tonnes, the total sugar supply is expected to be the highest ever at about 430 lakh tonnes, exerting huge pressure on prices. _ Our Bureau

11:10 am

Gold, silver open firm as rupee remains weak

Quick funds: With NBFCs turning cautions to lending, many customers are option for gold loans, say players. – iStock.com

Gold and silver prices opened with marginal gains in the futures market on Thursday as currency pressure prevailed.

On Thursday, the rupee weakened further to inch towards the Rs 72 levels against the dollar. The Indian rupee opened lower at Rs 71.90 and depreciated further to Rs 71.95 in the early trades.

This comes despite Wednesday’s Cabinet announcements triggering positive sentiment for the sugar industry and farmers for increased incomes in the coming days and better job prospects through the 100 per cent contract manufacturing decision. Click here to read in full the domestic gold market report.

11:00 am

Company News: Kalpataru Power Transmission

Kalpataru Power Transmission informed the exchanges on Wednesday that it received a notice from the World Bank alleging process violations in bids submitted by its transmission business on two projects in Africa more than 7 years ago. The company disagrees with the Bank’s position and intends to contest the proceedings vigorously, it added. Shares of Kalpataru Power slumped 6.95 per cent at ₹441.05 on the BSE on Wednesday.

10:45 am

Gold prices tick up on recession fears, trade uncertainty

Gold prices eked out gains on Thursday against the backdrop of recession fears, with traders tracking signs of progress on the US-China trade talks and global central banks for direction on interest rates.

Spot gold rose 0.2 per cent to $1,542.06 per ounce, as of 0331 GMT. On Wednesday, the bullion ended lower but remained around its over six-year peak of $1,554.56 hit on Monday. US gold futures were up 0.1 per cent at $1,550.80 an ounce. Click here to read in full the global gold report.

10:25 am

Rupee falls 17 paise against US dollar in early trade

Identification of currency notes is key to successful completion of cash-based transactions by visually impaired persons – FRANCIS MASCARENHAS

The rupee depreciated by 17 paise to 71.95 against the US dollar in early trade on Thursday, tracking a weak domestic equity market and persistent foreign fund outflows. Pessimism over US-China trade talks also put pressure on the domestic unit, forex dealers said.

However, a weak dollar against other major currencies overseas and softening crude prices restricted the rupee’s fall, they added. Click here to read in full the rupee report.

10:05 am

Sensex, Nifty trade on a weak note

The benchmark indices, the BSE Sensex and the NSE Nifty, were trading around 0.5 per cent lower in early session on Friday. The Sensex was at 37,291, down 160 points or 0.43 per cent lower, while the Nifty was at 11,003, down 42 points or 0.39 per cent weaker on its overnight close.

The top gainers on the Sensex were Sun Pharma, Vedanta, Tata Motors, Maruti and IndusInd Bank, while the laggards were YES Bank, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech, HDFC and Axis Bank.

The healthcare, metals, capital goods and auto sector shares rose between 0.3-0.55 per cent to prop up the BSE index, while the finance, capital goods, IT and technology sector shares weighed on the benchmark index, losing between 0.40-0.65 per cent during the session.

According to an agency report, the Sensex, which dropped over 250 points in early trade, was dragged by heavy selling in banking stocks ahead of the expiry of August derivatives amid weak cues from other Asian markets.

In the previous session, the BSE barometer settled 189.43 points, or 0.50 per cent, lower at 37,451.84. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty fell 59.25 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 11,046.10.

During the day, investors can expect greater volatility in the market on the back of weekly and monthly expiration of the August futures and options (F&O) contracts, said Shrikant Chouhan, Head Technical Research, at Kotak Securities.

Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth a net of Rs 935.27 crore on Wednesday, while domestic institutional investors purchased shares worth Rs 359.32 crore, provisional data showed.

The rupee, meanwhile, depreciated 18 paise against its previous close to trade at 71.95 in early session.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan were trading on a negative note in their respective late morning sessions.

Exchanges on Wall Street ended in the green on Wednesday.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.57per cent lower at 59.59 per barrel. (with inputs from PTI)

9:55 am

Oil prices pegged back by mounting concern over US economy

Oil prices fell on Thursday for the first time in three days after San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly sounded a note of concern about the strength of United States (US) economy. Click here to read in full the crude oil market report.

9:45 am

Yen on backfoot as returning confidence dulls safe-haven allure

The dollar held gains against the safe-haven yen on Thursday as ebbing recession worries soothed markets after earlier volatility although the pound nursed its losses as investors became increasingly worried about a hard Brexit. Click here to read in full the global forex markets report.

9:35 am

Why the stock of RBL Bank has fallen 40 per cent over the past month

RBL Bank has been the stock market darling ever since it hit the primary market in 2016. But the stock has come under severe pressure recently, losing about 40 per cent over the past month, since it announced its June quarter results. While the bank delivered strong performance, the management indicating possible deterioration in its asset quality in the next 2-3 quarters, had rattled investors. Click here to read in full the report on why the RBL stock has fallen 40 per cent over the past month.

9:25 am

Asian shares struggle on darkening global outlook

MSCI Asia-Pacific index up 1 per cent. File Photo – Reuters

Global bond yields flirted with record low levels while stocks struggled to recover on Thursday as economic turbulence from intensifying United States (US)-China frictions and the spectre of a no-deal Brexit drove investors to safer harbours. Click here to read in full the global markets report.

9:15 am

Opening bell

The Sensex and the Nifty opened Thursday’s session in the red. The Sensex was at 37,283, down 168 points or 0.45 per cent lower, while the Nifty was at 10,988, down 57 points or 0.52 per cent weaker.

9.00 am

Today’s Pick: Tata Global Beverages (₹280): Buy

The stock of Tata Global Beverages jumped 5 per cent breaking above a key resistance at ₹270 on Wednesday. This rally has strengthened the short-term uptrend and also provides traders with a short-term horizon an opportunity to buy the stock at current levels.

The stock has been in an intermediate-term uptrend since early February 2019 low at ₹177. During the uptrend, the stock had decisively breached a key resistance at ₹220 in May and continued to trend upwards. Short-term trend is also up for the stock. Click here to read in full Today’s Pick on Tata Global Beverages.

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Stocks plummet on trade war escalation

Clothing store chain Fast Retailing and technology investor SoftBank Group went south along with other components of the Nikkei average.

The yen’s sharp strengthening against the dollar and drops in other Asian stocks also helped the Tokyo market snap its two-session winning streak, brokers said.

Following the early morning tumble, however, the market turned almost static with active trading held in check.

Participants retreated to the sidelines to wait for the opening of the New York market after the weekend, brokers said.

“Tokyo stocks this week are likely to be swayed by developments in the U.S.-China trade conflict and Wall Street’s reactions to them,” said Tomoaki Fujii, head of the investment research division at Akatsuki Securities Inc.

“If U.S. equities extend their losses and the dollar slips through ¥105 again, the Nikkei could fall below 20,000,” Fujii warned.

Falling issues overwhelmed rising ones 1,979 to 138 in the TSE’s First Section, while 33 issues were unchanged.

Volume increased to 1,140 million shares from Friday’s 907 million shares.

All of the 33 subsector price indexes dropped.

Shipping firms plunged amid the strong risk-off mood, with Kawasaki Kisen sinking 4.85 percent, Nippon Yusen 2.30 percent and Mitsui O.S.K. 1.83 percent.

The stronger yen bombarded export-oriented issues such as automaker Nissan, technology giant Sony and industrial robot producer Yaskawa Electric.

Oils, including JXTG, Idemitsu and Cosmo Energy, suffered from a drop in crude oil prices.

Clothing store chain Fast Retailing and technology investor SoftBank Group went south along with other components of the Nikkei average.

Meanwhile, automaker Suzuki and tobacco giant JT were among a handful of winners.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key September contract on the Nikkei average plunged 420 points to end at 20,300.Speech

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Japan’s bigger companies slash tax bills to record low

SoftBank Group offers a striking example. The tech company on its own paid no corporate taxes in Japan for the year ended in March, due to …

TOKYO — Japan’s larger publicly traded companies enjoyed record-low tax burdens last fiscal year, Nikkei has found, benefiting from factors such as a heavier overseas presence and greater accounting resources compared with their smaller counterparts.

The median tax burden for 2,025 Japanese companies during the year ended in March was 31.4%, roughly 7 percentage points lower than five years prior.

But the median for those making at least 50 billion yen ($470 million) in pretax profit was even smaller, at a record low of 27.8%. The gap between the average rates for big earners and all companies came to 3.5 points, widening from 1.8 points in fiscal 2009.

SoftBank Group offers a striking example. The tech company on its own paid no corporate taxes in Japan for the year ended in March, due to intragroup capital transactions that generated losses for tax purposes. The group as a whole saw a tax burden of 14%.

Bigger Japanese companies are more likely to have extensive operations in countries with lower tax rates. Trading house Sumitomo Corp. reduced its burden by 3 points in fiscal 2018 to 16.4%, while rival Marubeni paid 17.2%. Both expanded their presence in Southeast Asia and the U.S., where effective tax rates are lower.

Chemical makers, which often have production bases in low-tax countries like Saudi Arabia and Singapore, also tend to have a lesser burden. Mitsubishi Gas Chemical and Sumitomo Chemical paid 13.2% and 19.1%, respectively.

Larger companies also may possess the budget for hiring a team dedicated to minimizing tax bills. Businesses that have a herd of subsidiaries — like trading houses — “are adopting more measures to avoid being taxed twice, like reducing the number of indirect subsidiaries,” said KPMG Tax Corp. partner Naoki Ishizuka.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are aggressive in taking advantage of tax breaks tied to their massive research and development costs. Astellas Pharma cut its tax burden by 14 points to 10.7%.

Losses from previous years also can slash a company’s tax bill. Despite posting a record operating profit in fiscal 2018, Sony paid just under 5% in taxes due to a more than 400 billion yen loss carried forward from problems at its TV and smartphone operations. Hitachi, which similarly posted a record operating profit, paid about 36%.

The tax burden ranged between 20% and 30% for nearly half of Japanese companies — 46% of the group. Eighteen percent of the businesses paid between 10% and 20%. Thirteen percent paid 10% or less.

Big shifts in economic and corporate performance also can produce drastic differences in tax burdens. Companies are expected to face higher burdens as they pay down losses incurred in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

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FTSE 100 marches higher, with Wall Street expected to join fun

… (LON:RIO) down amid falling base metals prices, and two general insurers, Admiral Group PLC (LON:ADM) and Direct Line Insurance (LON:DLG).
  • FTSE 100 closes higher

  • Sterling’s loss is Footsie’s gain

  • All eyes on Fed minutes

FTSE 100 closed higher midweek as traders awaited the publications minutes from last month’s US Federal Reserve meeting.

Traders hope the tone from the US monetary policy committee meeting will be towards a further easing of interest rates, rather than a tightening of policy, which is making dealers buy up shares.

“In late July, the Fed cut rates, and dealers are banking on dovish language in the report, which might signal further rate cuts this year,” noted David Madden, analyst at London-based CMC Markets.

“Since the rate cut, the global macroeconomic mood has soured – US-China trade tensions, the UK and Germany saw negative growth, and increased unrest in Hong Kong,” he added.

The UK’s premier share index finished up 78.97 points at 7,203.97. Meanwhile, the more UK company focused FTSE 250 added 199.66 points at 19,207.75 as no-deal Brexit fears were apparently pushed aside.

On currency markets, the pound lost 0.22% against the US dollar further supporting the internationally-focused Footsie, while the gold price was near flat at US$1,513 an ounce.

3.25pm: Markets upbeat

US stocks have joined in with global markets’ good mood, with retailers Target Corporation and Lowe’s Co leading the way after they reported earnings.

The Dow Jones climbed 222 points or 0.9% to 26,186, while the S&P 500 index was up 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9%.

With market watchers fretting about a possible recession, the retail pair both reported strong consumer demand.

Target shares surged 19% to an all-time high above $101 after second-quarter results from the discounter topped analyst expectations, with same-store sales growing 3.4% compared to the 2.9% expected.

Home improvement chain Lowe’s jumped 11% to $108.43 as it beat the Street’s estimates on revenue, same-store sales and earnings.

“We capitalized on spring demand, strong holiday event execution and growth in paint and our pro business to deliver strong second quarter results,” said chief executive Marvin Ellison, who has been at the company just over a year ago.

Meanwhile, in Brexitland, the pound lurched to day’s lows as newswires AFP and Bloomberg reported that the French government is expecting a no-deal Brexit as the “most likely scenario”, which would result in the immediate imposition of controls on the EU’s borders with Britain.

Sterling was down 0.4% against the dollar at 1.2119 and the euro at 1.0920, while the FTSE 100 was up 1.2% to just over 7,207

Boris Johnson’s Paris visit tomorrow heating up:

Emmanuel Macron aide tells AFP no deal ‘is becoming most likely scenario’

The aide insists that Britain will still have to pay £39bn Brexit divorce bill

‘The idea of saying there’s not a deal so I won’t pay does not work’

— Steven Swinford (@Steven_Swinford) August 21, 2019

2pm: European stocks in the green

There is a focus on Europe today as Boris Johnson heads off to talk Brexit with German premier Angela Merkel, while Germany’s bond sale hits a bum note and Italy reacts to the resignation of prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

After Conte quit and fired off a few epithets at his coalition partners, markets welcomed the populist partnership’s almost-certain end.

Italy’s FTSE MIB is the strongest gainer among the European indices, up 1.9%, while London’s FTSE 100 was up 1.2% at 7,212.

As Germany prepares to welcome the British PM, the country’s central bank created an unwanted record by selling the first ever 30-year government bonds with a zero coupon, which due to the price paid actually will have a negative yield of -0.11%.

READ: Why might investors buy negative yield government bonds?

Merkel meanwhile said in a speech that the talks with Johnson will cover “how we can get the most friction-free British exit from the European Union possible as we must fight for our economic growth”.

Analysts at Monex Europe said: “The chances of a breakthrough seem slim, but given Boris yesterday hinted at Britain being willing to make ‘commitments’, and Merkel said that the Irish backstop could be bypassed by a practical solution, there is at least a glimmer of hope for good news.”

The pound was having none of it, still down 0.3% versus the dollar at 1.2137, with tweeted efforts from the White House not moving the dial either, with the negative German debt further enraging President Trump.

…..We are competing with many countries that have a far lower interest rate, and we should be lower than them. Yesterday, “highest Dollar in U.S.History.” No inflation. Wake up Federal Reserve. Such growth potential, almost like never before!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2019

1.45pm: Experian gets acquisition boost

Among the top blue chips today are credit checker Experian PLC (LON:EXPN), up 2% as it acquired Look Who’s Charging (LWC), an Australian outfit providing nifty technology to the banking sector.

This technology helps with “transaction enrichment and categorisation”, which the London-listed company says is designed to “make banking smoother and more straightforward for bank customers”.

Simply put, LWC shows small businesses and consumers who’s who on their bank statements, rather than a random list of numbers.

Capita PLC (LON:CPI) is also up 2% after it was upgraded to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ at Goldman Sachs.

Other broker action saw Victrex PLC (LON:VCT) upgraded to ‘equalweight’ by Barclays as analysts see 20% upside risk to consensus estimates on earnings per share, while Tullow Oil plc (LON:TLW) was lifted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Canaccord Genuity.

12.25pm: Wall Street expected to join market march higher

Wall Street is tipped to join in the market merry-making on Wednesday, while the FTSE 100 continues to inch higher.

On futures markets, the Dow Jones is pencilled in for an 0.6% gain to just over 26,000, with the S&P 500 seen adding 0.7% and the Nasdaq Composite best of all at 0.8%.

Nerves about a US recession look to have settled a little after last week’s panic, says market analyst Craig Erlam at Oanda.

“Now that everyone is an expert in inverted yield curves and the apocalyptic foresight they contain, there seems to be an odd acceptance of where we’re heading (or is it denial?)”

Another day spent waiting for that special yield curve to invert. #drumsfingers

— Chris Beauchamp (@ChrisB_IG) August 21, 2019

“The Fed will be all too aware of the events of the last week, not just because of its historic significance, but because investors are now relying on them even more heavily to save the day,” Erlam said.

“Markets are effectively pricing in a rate cut every remaining meeting this year. Are investors setting themselves up for disappointment or leaving the Fed with little choice but to follow?

“Clearly Powell can’t afford to get it wrong on Friday because any signal that markets are way off the mark will likely cause further mayhem, not to mention a backlash from the White House.”

While minutes of the most recent Fed meeting are due later today, Erlam said recent events might make them rather outdated.

Back in London, the FTSE is up 80 points or 1.1% at 7,205.28, as the pound softens further, down 0.3% against the greenback at $1.2130.

10.30am: Gains extended as TUI leads the way

London stocks have continued to rally on Wednesday morning, with news of a smaller than expected UK budget surplus unlikely to be providing the catalyst.

The Office for National Statistics revealed that July saw a small surplus of £1.32bn compared to £3.56bn a year earlier.

Public sector net borrowing, excluding banks, is up 60% year over year in the first four months of the fiscal year at £16bn.

“The small surplus in July’s public finances wasn’t enough to make up for the jump in borrowing since the start of the financial year and means that government borrowing still looks like it will overshoot the OBRs forecast,” said Capital Economics.

Economist Tom Pugh said it was likely that government borrowing will continue to overshoot the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast over the next few months as the government ramps up spending on preparations for a no deal Brexit, while a change in accounting approach will raise the deficit by more than £10bn a year.

Among the biggest share price movers in the upper FTSE echelons, tour operator TUI AG (LON:TUI) was flying highest, up 4% to 791.6p.

Research by UBS showed all the airlines showed more deterioration than expected in their most recent customer review scores, nut with TUI showing the highest score among 20 airlines.

Elsewhere, dollar earners were doing well in general as the pound softened another 0.2% against the dollar to 1.2141, with leaders including Smurfit Kappa Group Plc (LON:SKG), Burberry Group PLC (LON:NRBY) and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC (LON:RR.).

The FTSE 100 was up 75 points or 1.05% to 7,199.81, with only five stocks in the red, with miners BHP Group PLC (LON:BHP) and Rio Tinto PLC (LON:RIO) down amid falling base metals prices, and two general insurers, Admiral Group PLC (LON:ADM) and Direct Line Insurance (LON:DLG).

8.52am: Stronger start than expected

The FTSE 100 got off to a stronger than expected start, rising 31 points to 7,155.74.

Sentiment for the coming days could be shaped by the US Federal Reserve minutes out after hours London time.

Ahead of their publication trading volumes in the dealing rooms of the Square Mile are likely to remain subdued.

Gold, a haven investment in times of uncertainty, continued to hold firm above US$1,500 an ounce, reflecting the nerves of the market.

The pound was steady at US$1.2153 with forex traders buoyed by comments by German chancellor Angela Merkel stating the EU would look at “sensible” suggestions for solving the UK-Ireland border issue.

Turing to the stock market, construction group Costain (LON:COST) led the All-Share with a 12.6% rise.

This after its profits crumbled. It appears, however, the carnage wasn’t quite as bad as the market had been anticipating.

Nostrum Oil & Gas (LON:NOG) was the day’s big loser as it tanked 20% after Berenberg slashed its target price and downgraded the shares to ‘sell’.

READ: Nostrum gets bloody nose after Berenberg double-downgrade

6.30am: FTSE 100 set to open a “touch higher”

The FTSE 100 is expected to open a touch higher on Wednesday as investors seemed content to stay put while awaiting possible direction from Fed minutes due later.

Spread-betting firm IG expects the FTSE 100 to open about 4 points higher after the index closed 64 points lower at 7,125 on Tuesday.

Fears of a recession have been mixed with hopes of renewed fiscal and economic stimulus by national governments to counter the slowdown, with US President Donald Trump recently floating the idea of tax cuts while the German government is seemingly considering a bond sale.

Traders will also be looking to the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s previous policy meeting in June, when it cut interest rates for the first time since 2008, to gauge the possibility of further cuts this year.

This will also be in focus ahead of the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole seminar later this week, which will provide further clues on how the central bank plans to boost growth.

The gloomy mood around a recession weighed on US markets overnight, with the Dow Jones ending Tuesday 0.66% lower at 25,962 while the S&P 500 fell 0.79% to 2,900 and the Nasdaq dropped 0.68% to 7,948.

The pessimism continued into the Asian markets on Wednesday, with the Japanese Nikkei 225 down 0.3%, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng bucked the trend slightly and was up 0.11%.

On the currency markets, the pound slipped 0.12% to US$1.2154 against the dollar and was also down 0.05% at €1.0955 against the euro amid ongoing doubts that Boris Johnson will be able to extract any concessions from major EU leaders when he visits Berlin and Paris this week.

Quiet day for company news

Wednesday looks like being another quiet one in the Square Mile, with only a handful of companies known to be releasing news, while there is also some relatively small-time data due.

One of the few set to report is industrial REIT, Hansteen Holdings plc (LON:HSTN), which is due to post its half-year numbers.

Significant events expected on Wednesday August 21:

Interims:Charter Court PLC (LON:CCFS), Costain PLC (LON:COST), Empresaria Group plc (LON:EMR), Hansteen Holdings plc (LON:HSTN)

Economic data: UK public sector net borrowing, US existing home sales, MBA US mortgage applications, US crude oil inventories

Around the market:

Sterling: US$1.2154, down 0.12%

Brent crude: US$60.35 a barrel, up 0.5%

Gold: US$1,502.47 an ounce, down 0.14%

Bitcoin: US$10,230.4, down 5.3%

Proactive news headlines:

ReNeuron Group PLC (LON:RENE) has appointed three people with “world-class breadth of expertise” in the fields of ophthalmology and stem cell research to its scientific advisory board.

Brady PLC (LON:BRY) had reported that recurring revenues for the first half of its financial year have been in line with expectations.

Canadian Overseas Petroleum Limited (LON:COPL) said it will raise £500,000 via a stock placing at 0.1p a share.

Asiamet Resources Ltd (LON:ARS) expects to improve the economics of its Beruang Kanan Main (BKM) copper project Indonesia after signing up a well-connected Chinese engineering, procurement and construction management contractor.

Galantas Gold Corp (LON:GAL) confirmed sales of US$460,000 in its second-quarter following the start of shipments from the Omagh mine in Northern Ireland.

City headlines:

Giuseppe Conte has resigned as Italy’s prime minister, deepening the country’s political crisis – Financial Times

A major newspaper closely connected to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has raised concerns over Oyak’s deal to rescue British Steel from insolvency – Telegraph

British technology start-ups have received a record $6.7 billion in new funding this year, shrugging off concerns over a no-deal Brexit – The Times

Britain will automatically enrol nearly 90,000 companies in a customs system in order to reduce the risk of Brexit disruption, the government said, its latest attempt to show it can leave the European Union without a deal if necessary – Reuters

Mike Ashley has sacked the boss of Jack Wills just weeks after buying the preppy clothing retailer out of administration – Telegraph

The EU turned down Boris Johnson’s latest call to renegotiate the terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc – FT

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US Market Falls Tuesday

The Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund (Trades, Portfolio) and Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio)’ Renaissance Technologies sold out of the stock. Gainers.

U.S. stocks were in the red on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.66% to 25,962, the S&P 500 index fell 0.79% to 2,900 and the Nasdaq Composite Index slid 0.68% to 7,949.

Shares of Baidu Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) gained more than 4% after announcing secondquarter results. The company posted earnings of $1.47 per share on $3.84 billion in revenue, reflecting 1.1% growth from the prior-year quarter. The company beat earnings estimates by 55 cents and revenue expectations by $120 million.

The operating income was 233 million yuan ($31.5 million), while the operating margin was 1%. The operating income for Baidu Core was 2.1 billion yuan, and the operating margin was 11%.

Further, the non-GAAP operating income was 2.0 billion yuan, and the non-GAAP operating margin was 7%.The non-GAAP operating income for Baidu Core was 3.5 billion yuan, and the non-GAAP operating margin was 18%.

Moreover, the adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was 3.4 billion yuan and the adjusted Ebitda margin was 13%.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, the company expects revenue to be between 26.9 billion yuan and 28.5 billion yuan.

During the quarter ended June 30, the Tweedy Browne (Trades, Portfolio) Global Value Fund boosted its stake by 74.2% to 1,356,297 shares. Steven Romick (Trades, Portfolio) reduced his holding by 1.5% to 1,791,516 shares. The Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund (Trades, Portfolio) and Jim Simons (Trades, Portfolio)’ Renaissance Technologies sold out of the stock.

Gainers

Losers

Global Markets

The main European stock markets traded in the red. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 declined 0.90%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.50%, Germany’s Dax fell 0.55% and Spain’s IBEX 35 retreated 1.32%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.36%, India’s BSE Sensex lost 0.20%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.23% and China’s Shanghai Composite slid 0.11%.

Disclosure:The author holds no positions in any stocks mentioned.

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About the author:

Omar Venerio

Omar Venerio is a capital markets, derivatives, corporate finance and financial management professor and Area Head of Finance. He is passionate about the stock market and providing independent fundamental research and hedge fund and insider trading-focused investigation.

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