(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are seen opening slightly lower on Tuesday after the long UK bank holiday weekend, following mixed trading in the US on Monday.
In early company news, home furnishings retailer Dunelm Group reported a rise in sales as customers returned to stores following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Gene and cell therapy company Oxford Biomedica signed a supply agreement with AstraZeneca to expand manufacturing support for the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's Covid-19 vaccine.
IG futures indicate the FTSE 100 index is to open 13.07 points lower at 5,950.70. The blue-chip index closed down 36.42 points, or 0.6% at 5,963.57 on Friday.
Dunelm Group reported a sharp rise in sales over the past two months, but was still unable to provide financial guidance.
The retailer said sales have been strong in the last two months, with total year over year sales growth up 59% in July and up 24% in August. Dunelm said the rise was partly "as a result of pent up demand" following the store closure period and the timing of its summer sale.
"Whilst the year to date performance has been materially ahead of our initial expectations, it is very difficult to provide any meaningful guidance on the future outlook given the uncertainty in the wider economy and the potential impact of further regional or national lockdowns. However, we remain confident in our ability to adapt to the environment and are well-positioned to continue to grow market share," Dunelm said.
Oxford Biomedica said it has signed an 18 month supply agreement under a three-year master supply and development agreement with FTSE 100-listed drugmaker AstraZeneca, for the large-scale commercial manufacture of Covid-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222.
Oxford Biomedica said AstraZeneca will pay GBP15 million upfront as a capacity reservation fee. Subject to the scaling up of manufacturing capacity and continuation of the vaccine programme, Oxford Biomedica expects to receive additional revenue in excess of GBP35 million plus certain materials costs for manufacturing multiple large-scale batches of AZD1222 until the end of 2021.
Elsewhere, AstraZeneca said its Imfinzi drug has been approved in the European Union for the treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.
Investment manager M&G said it has completed the acquisition of UK Wealth Management platform Ascentric from the Royal London Group, for an undisclosed sum.
In the US on Monday, Wall Street ended mostly lower, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.8% and S&P 500 down 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 0.7%.
The Japanese Nikkei 225 index ended down 1.4%. In China, the Shanghai Composite is up 1.6%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong is up 0.2%.
China's manufacturing conditions improved in August, helped by the sharpest increases in output and new orders since the start of 2011, according to data from Caixin.
The headline seasonally adjusted purchasing managers' index climbed to 53.1 in August, from 52.8 in July. A number above 50.0 denotes expansion.
The pound was quoted at USD1.3411 early Tuesday, sharply higher from USD1.3347 at the London equities close Friday.
The euro stood at USD1.1990, up from USD1.1900. Against the yen, the dollar was trading at JPY105.73, up from JPY105.26.
Brent oil was trading at USD45.80 a barrel Tuesday morning, flat from USD45.78 late Friday. Gold was quoted at USD1,989.44 an ounce, up from USD1,968.01.
Meanwhile, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Republicans will soon unveil a new spending bill to aid the coronavirus-battered economy amid an ongoing impasse with Democratic lawmakers.
The White House and Congress have been deadlocked for weeks over a successor to the USD2.2 trillion CARES Act passed as the pandemic struck in March, and key provisions of the law including extra jobless payments and aid to small businesses expired at the end of July.
President Donald Trump's administration has balked at proposals from Democrats, who in May passed a USD3 trillion spending package in the House of Representatives but it stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
However, Mnuchin has said the administration would prefer to spend somewhere closer to USD1 trillion in the new bill.
He said Democratic leaders in the House and Senate "just don't want to negotiate in good faith. The president wants us to help with more money for kids and jobs, and we can put over another trillion dollars into the economy quickly," Mnuchin said in an interview with Fox Business Network.
The economic events calendar on Tuesday has manufacturing PMI prints from the eurozone, UK and the US at 0900 BST, 0930 BST and 1445 BST respectively.
By Arvind Bhunjun; email@example.com
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