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LONDON BRIEFING: AstraZeneca, Sanofi's RSV treatment approved in China

2nd Jan 2024 07:57

(Alliance News) - Stock prices in London are expected to open higher on Tuesday, reacting to a slight expansion in manufacturing activity in China and ahead of a slew of manufacturing PMI data including for the UK.

The London Stock Exchange will reopen today after being closed for New Year's Day on Monday.

Manufacturing PMI data will be released for the UK at 0930 GMT, alongside figures for the EU and Germany in the morning, followed by US data in the afternoon.

In corporate news, AstraZeneca said that its and Sanofi's Beyfortus treatment has been approved in China, while Airtel Africa's chief executive will retire, with the firm promoting a successor from within.

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




FTSE 100: called up 0.2% at 7,749.84


Hang Seng: down 1.6% at 16,769.35

Nikkei 225: financial markets in Japan closed for New Year holiday

S&P/ASX 200: closed up 0.5% at 7,627.80


DJIA: closed down 20.56 points, or 0.1%, at 37,689.54

S&P 500: closed down 13.52 points, or 0.3%, at 4,769.83

Nasdaq Composite: closed down 83.78 points, or 0.6%, to 15,011.35


EUR: down at USD1.1033 (USD1.1074)

GBP: down at USD1.2736 (USD1.2747)

USD: up at JPY141.46 (JPY141.42)

Gold: up at USD2,074.88 per ounce (USD2,065.02)

Oil (Brent): up at USD78.29 a barrel (USD77.56)

(changes since previous London equities close)




Tuesday's key economic events still to come:

09:55 CET Germany manufacturing PMI

10:00 CET EU manufacturing PMI

09:30 GMT UK manufacturing PMI

09:45 EST US manufacturing PMI


UK shop price inflation was unchanged at 4.3% in December, its lowest in a year and a half, but the British Retail Consortium warned that cost pressures threaten to put an end to easing inflation in 2024. The BRC-NielsenIQ shop price index was up 4.3% in December from a year before, the annual rise slower than the three-month average rate of 4.6% and the lowest since June 2022. Food price inflation slowed to 6.7% last month from 7.8% in November. Fresh food price rose by 5.4% annually in December, slowing from 6.7% the month before, while ambient food inflation slowed to 8.4% from 9.2%. However, non-food price inflation picked up to 3.1% in December from 2.5% in November.




AstraZeneca said its and Sanofi's long-acting monoclonal antibody treatment Beyfortus has been approved in China for the prevention of respiratory syncytial virus lower respiratory tract infection in neonates and infants. The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical firm said the approval by China's National Medical Products Administration is based on three "pivotal" late-stage clinical trials and an "extensive" local clinical development programme. It is anticipated to be available during the upcoming 2024/25 RSV season. Beyfortus was approved in the EU in October 2022 and received approval by the US Food & Drug Administration in July 2023 following the unanimous recommendation by the Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee in June 2023. AstraZeneca said regulatory applications are currently under review in Japan and "several other countries".


Airtel Africa announced the retirement of Chief Executive Officer Segun Ogunsanya, naming Transformation Director Sunil Taldar as his successor. Taldar joined the telecommunications company in October and will be appointed to the board as CEO and executive director following a transition period at the beginning of July. At this time, Ogunsanya will formally retire but will be available to advise Chair Sunil Bharti Mittal, the board and incoming CEO Taldar for a 12-month period. Mittal said: "Under Segun's leadership, Airtel Africa has maintained double-digit revenue growth and continued to deliver new, industry-leading products to our customers across Africa...[Taldar's] industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven record of delivery will enable him to deliver our strategic objectives and to lead the group in the next stages of its development."


Outgoing BT Chief Philip Jansen has been approached about the next chair of marketing services firm WPP, according to a report from Sky News on Monday. Jansen, who is set to leave BT in the spring, is reportedly one of a number of candidates to have been considered in recent weeks for the WPP chairmanship. City sources on Monday said WPP's search was yet to reach an advanced stage and that there was no certainty that Jansen or WPP would opt to progress his candidacy further.




Balfour Beatty said it has appointed corporate brokers to manage an initial tranche of its 2024 share buyback programme, repurchasing up to GBP50 million or 63.2 million shares. The infrastructure construction firm intends for this initial tranche to be completed by the end of June, while the total anticipated 2024 share buyback will be confirmed with the firm's full year results in March.




Zanaga said it has agreed a loan repayment extension with FTSE 100-listed mining firm Glencore to the end of March from the end of December. In June, both parties entered into a loan facility agreement, under which a loan of up to USD1.8 million would be provided to Zanaga's partially-owned subsidiary Jumelles by Glencore to provide funding for ongoing working capital required to progress initiatives at the Zanaga project. Zanaga has already paid USD463,000 of the loan facility. Zanaga Chair Clifford Elphick said: "ZIOC is pleased with the ongoing progress being made in advancing discussions with potential partners, and as part of ZIOC's strategic objectives has already recently concluded an [memorandum of understanding] relating to power solutions for the Zanaga project. We look forward to progressing further strategic initiatives in early 2024."


By Greg Rosenvinge, Alliance News senior reporter

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