London’s FTSE 100 opened 0.3% lower on Monday as investors braced for the introduction of new local Covid-19 restrictions, expected to be outlined later in the day by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In overseas trading China’s Shanghai Composite gained 2.6% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3%. Brent Crude prices were 1.3% lower at $40 a barrel and Gold prices were 0.25% lower at $1,925 an ounce.

CORPORATE NEWS

Engineering and industrial software group Aveva (AVV) said it expected to report first-half revenue ‘broadly’ in-line with its expectations, with revenues of around £333 million.

In a separate statement, the company said it had completed the syndication of a £250 million revolving credit facility with HSBC and Santander joining J.P. Morgan, Barclays and BNP Paribas as providers of the facility.

Aveva said its proposed $900 million term loan would not now proceed to syndication, but rather be provided directly to Aveva by Schneider Electric. Shares dropped 4% to £49.50.

International Airlines Group (IAG) said Alex Cruz was standing down as chief executive of its British Airways unit.

Cruz will be replaced by Aer Lingus chairman and chief executive Sean Doyle, though he will remain as non-executive chairman of British Airways.

Aer Lingus chief corporate affairs officer Donal Moriarty will become interim CEO of the Irish carrier, with a permanent appointment to be announced in due course.

IAG also announced that it had appointed Level CEO Fernando Candela to the new position of chief transformation officer. Shares nudged up 0.3% to 103.7p.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) said its coronavirus antibody treatment would advance to two separate phase-three clinical trials at sites in and outside the US that would begin in the coming weeks.

One trial would evaluate the safety and efficacy of AZD7442 to prevent infection for up to 12 months, in about 5,000 participants.

The second trial would evaluate post-exposure prophylaxis and pre-emptive treatment in about 1,100 participants.

The combination of two trials was also designed to reduce the risk of resistance developed by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the company said. Shares dropped 0.6% to £83.70.

Sports-betting and gaming group GVC (GVC) said it had been awarded four sports-betting licences in Germany.

The terms of the licence included a wagering limit of €1,000 per month that can be increased to €10,000 subject to certain criteria being met, or further to €30,000 for 1% of customers, subject to enhanced due diligence and certain loss limits.

The terms also included deposit limits, in-force until customer verification processes were complete, a maximum annual bonus per customer of €100 and the inclusion of certain responsibility requirements by the licence holder. Shares dropped 2% to £10.70.

Real Estate company Great Portland Estates (GPOR) reported it had collected 61% of rent of the September quarter and said that while rental collection and occupancy rates had improved since March, many sectors remained challenged.

For the quarter to 30 September 2020, 61% of rents due was secured within seven working days, up from 57% seen in the June quarter. To date, September quarterly recent collection had risen to 63%, the company said. For September, the company had collected 73% of rent to date. Shares nudged up 0.2% to 644p.

In a third-quarter trading update, logistics warehouse company Tritax Big Box Reit (BBOX) said the UK continued to strengthen. The company added it sees ‘potential for further yield compression in the near-term given attractive structural trends and the secure, long-term income offered by large-scale modern logistics buildings.’

The company also declared a dividend to 30 September 2020 of 1.5625 pence per ordinary share, payable on or around 13 November 2020 to shareholders on the register on 23 October 2020. Shares added 2.2% to 165p.

Power control component supplier XP Power (XPP) said it expected annual performance to be towards the top end of current analyst expectations after its third-quarter revenue jumped 28%.

XP Power also announced that chief executive Duncan Penny would retire at the end of 2020, to be replaced by chief financial officer Gavin Griggs.

On a constant currency basis, revenue for the three months through September had risen 32%. Shares gained 1.3% to £47.6.

Property company LondonMetric Property (LMP) said it had collected 94% for rent that was due up to October.

A further 3% was expected to be received imminently, 2% was currently being deferred under previously agreed payment plans and less than 1% was outstanding, the company said. Shares were flat at 226p.

Shares in bespoke foreign exchange services Argentex (AGFX:AIM) lost 22% to 106p after it said first half revenues to 30 September were 15% lower at £11.8 million.

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Issue Date: 12 Oct 2020