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LONDON BRIEFING: Arrests after anti-lockdown protests across China

11/28/2022 | 02:50am

(Alliance News) - Stocks in London are set to open lower on Monday, amid risk-off sentiment globally, following anti-lockdown protests across several major cities in China.

Sunday saw people take to the streets in several major cities across China to call for an end to lockdowns and greater political freedoms, in a wave of nationwide protests not seen since pro-democracy rallies in 1989 were crushed.

A deadly fire last week in Urumqi, the capital of northwest China's Xinjiang region, has become a catalyst for public anger, with many blaming Covid lockdowns for hampering rescue efforts.

But they have also featured prominent calls for greater political freedoms with some even demanding the resignation of China's President Xi Jinping, recently re-appointed to an unprecedented third term as the country's leader.

In the UK, homes have been selling for 3% below their asking price typically in recent weeks, according to Zoopla.

For much of 2021 and the first half of 2022, the average discount that homes were selling for was 0%, it said, meaning that properties were typically achieving their asking price.

The property website said it expects discounts to increase further in 2023.

Here is what you need to know ahead of the London market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: called down 31.57 points, or 0.4%, at 7,455.10

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Hang Seng: down 1.3% at 17,339.68

Nikkei 225: closed down 0.4% at 28,162.83

S&P/ASX 200: closed down 0.4% at 7,229.10

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DJIA: closed up 152.97 points, 0.5%, at 34,347.03

S&P 500: closed down 1.14 points at 4,026.12

Nasdaq Composite: closed down 58.96 points, 0.5%, at 11,226.36

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EUR: lower at USD1.0379 (USD1.0395)

GBP: lower at USD1.2071 (USD1.2090)

USD: lower at JPY138.09 (JPY139.22)

Gold: higher at USD1,751.22 per ounce (USD1,750.96)

Oil (Brent): lower at USD81.44 a barrel (USD85.21)

(changes since previous London equities close)

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ECONOMICS

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Monday's key economic events still to come:

10:00 CET EU monetary developments

11:00 GMT Ireland retail sales

11:00 GMT UK CBI distributive trades survey

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China's security forces detained people at the scene of a rare demonstration as authorities worked to extinguish protests that flared across the country calling for political freedoms and an end to Covid lockdowns. AFP witnessed police leading two people away from a site in Shanghai where demonstrators gathered over the weekend, while China's censors worked to scrub signs of the social media-driven rallies. The BBC said one of its journalists had been arrested and beaten by police while covering the Shanghai protests. In the capital, at least 400 people gathered on the banks of a river for several hours, with some shouting: "We are all Xinjiang people! Go Chinese people!"

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A GBP1 billion scheme to make middle-income homes in the UK more energy efficient is being launched along with a public information campaign advising people how to cut power usage. UK Energy Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the new Eco+ scheme to extend support for insulating homes as he tries to get households to reduce energy consumption. Labour criticised it as a "reheated announcement with no new resources" that comes "far too little too late". Hundreds of thousands of UK households could receive loft and cavity wall insulation under the scheme running for three years from spring. It is predominantly being targeted at households that do not currently get support to upgrade homes, though a fifth of the funding will be targeted at the most vulnerable. Some GBP18 million will also be spent on a public information campaign giving advice about turning down boiler temperatures and radiators to save energy.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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UBS cuts Persimmon to 'sell' ('neutral') - price target 1,230 (1,290) pence

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UBS cuts Smith & Nephew to 'sell' ('neutral') - price target 970 (1,116) pence

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Redburn cuts abrdn to 'sell' ('neutral')

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Rio Tinto has agreed to create the Juukan Gorge Legacy Foundation after signing a remedy agreement regarding the destruction of two ancient rock shelters at Juukan Gorge in Western Australia in 2020. Under the agreement, the miner will provide financial support to the foundation to progress cultural and social projects including a new keeping place for storage of important cultural materials.

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BP won two new exploration blocks in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore Egypt. The blocks were awarded to BP by Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. The areas are called the Northwest Abu Qir offshore area and the Bellatrix-Seti East block. BP holds a 83% interest in the first area, and a 50% interest in the second area.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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JLEN Environmental Assets reported its net asset value at September 30 rose to 126.3 pence per share from 115.3p per share at March 31. This came as the environment infrastructure fund's portfolio value rose to GBP890.2 million from GP795.4 million in the same time period. JLEN also declared a second interim dividend of 1.70 pence, bringing the total payout for the six months ended September 30 to 3.57p. Chair Ed Warner said: "JLEN has delivered strong returns during a period of extraordinary dislocation in the global economy. During the period the company expanded its portfolio by making four acquisitions and generating a strong pipeline of near-term investment opportunities for further growth."

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Inchcape Chief Financial Officer Gijsbert de Zoeten is standing down with immediate effect. The auto distribution, retail and services company explained that this was a voluntary resignation following an incident in which "through a lapse in judgement, [De Zoeten] displayed personal behaviour falling short of the high standards expected of the leadership." Adian Lewis, Inchcapes's financial controller, has been appointing as acting CFO. The process to find a permanent successor has begun.

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OTHER COMPANIES

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Cerillion reported record full-year revenue and profit thanks to new customer implementations and strong demand from existing customers. In the financial year that ended September 30, the billing and customer relations management software firm reported pretax profit of GBP10.9 million, up from GBP7.4 million the previous year. This came as revenue surged to GBP32.7 million from GBP26.1 million. Cerillion proposed a final dividend of 6.5 pence per share, up from 5.0p a year prior. Chief Executive Louis Hall said the firm has started its new financial year with a "very high degree of visibility" over its earnings thanks to its "very strong" back-order book and "higher level of recurring income". Hall said that the market backdrop also remains "extremely favourable."

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Adriatic Metals announced that the Vares project in Bosnia & Herzegovina is now half-completed. As a result, the project remains on schedule, with first concentrate production planned for the third quarter of 2023. The exploration and development company added that the final cost estimate for the project remains unchanged at USD173 million.

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By Heather Rydings; heatherrydings@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2022 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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