Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N said it was pausing a coronavirus vaccine trial due to a study participant’s unexplained illness on Tuesday. Eli Lilly and Co LLY.N later said it too had paused the clinical trial of its COVID-19 antibody treatment. The treatment was halted due to a safety concern, leading the US equity market to deepen losses. J&J shares lost 2.3 percent, while Eli Lilly closed down nearly 3 percent.
This comes as hopes for the passage of a new coronavirus relief package faded as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected a $1.8 trillion relief proposal from the White House.
“U.S. stimulus talks are still going nowhere dimming the prospect of a new round of support this side of the election,” said Sydney-based NAB strategist Rodrigo Catril.
“So, for now it is hard to see a deal being agreed before Nov. 3, the market is still travelling with the notion that a new round of stimulus is coming, but at this stage this looks more likely after the election.”
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dipped 0.2 percent while Australia’s benchmark index .AXJO was off a touch and South Korea .KS11 stumbled 0.7 percent.
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FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian equities fall as vaccine trials halt and US aid package talks sour
5.00pm update: FTSE-100 closes down
The FTSE-100 index at the close was down 34.65 at 5935.06.
The FTSE Mid-250 index closed up 59.40 at 17950.41.
3.45pm update: FTSE-100 still down
The FTSE-100 index at 3:45pm was down 34.00 at 5935.71.
3.30pm update: Goldman’s trading business sees boost
Goldman Sachs Group Inc on Wednesday posted its best quarterly performance in a decade.
The Wall Street bank posted a quarterly return on equity of 17.5 percent, its highest since 2010.
Goldman also boasted record earnings per share, beating analyst expectations by a wide margin.
Goldman’s shares rose 0.6 percent in early trading as shares of other big lenders fell.
2.45pm update: FTSE-100 down
The FTSE-100 index at 2:45pm was down 14.32 at 5955.39.
2pm update: Currency latest
The pound at 2pm was 1.3031 dollars compared to 1.2973 dollars at the previous close.
The euro at 2pm was 0.9027 pounds compared to 0.9051 pounds at the previous close.
1.45pm update: FTSE plummets
Despite starting brightly today, FTSE has lost its gains and dropped below yesterday’s close.
The UK index is now at 5,933, despite rising above 6,000 earlier in the day.
12pm update: Asos profits triple
Online fashion group Asos has seen annual profits more than quadruple thanks to cost-cutting action and as customers returned fewer items amid the pandemic.
The firm reported pre-tax profits of £142.1 million for the year to August 31, up 329% from £33.1 million a year earlier, as sales jumped 19% including 18% growth in the UK.
Coronavirus has sent shockwaves through the UK economy
10.45am update: FTSE rise dampened slightly
The FTSE-100 index at 10.45am was up 22.88 at 5992.59.
It is down 11.57 on it earlier gains this morning.
10.30am update: Just East Takeaway see lockdown boom
The company has been an its sales growth soar to 46 percent over the third quarter.
Chief executive Jitse Groen said JET is “well-positioned for autumn and winter, our traditional growth season”.
Meanwhile Citi’s Monique Pollard said it reflected “very strong” trends with also a “lunchtime order opportunity” pushing sales.
9.45am update: FTSE continues to rise
The FTSE-100 index at 9.45am was up 34.45 at 6004.16.
9.15am update: Fisheries standoff sparks sterling uncertainty
Sterling is on the defensive as uncertainty abounds over whether Britain and the European Union will have reached a Brexit deal in time for their self-imposed deadline on Thursday at the EU Summit.
Sterling overnight implied volatility gauges soared to a seven-month high of above 13%, indicating investors were prepared for unexpected moves in the British currency in the next hours.
MUFG’s head of research Derek Halpenny said the focus on fisheries, one of the last remaining sticking points in the talks, suggests a final deal was close.
However, any agreement will likely be far removed from what analysts had initially for, limiting the gains for sterling even if a deal is signed.
“We are only arriving at the possibility of a deal due to its being very narrow in scope…There is set to be considerable disruption and frictions on trade that may well still be underestimated by the markets that will likely curtail the period of pound appreciation following a likely deal over the coming weeks,” Halpenny said.
Sterling fell to a one-week low of $1.2865 and was last trading down 0.4% at $1.2883. It also fell to a five-day low of 91.21 pence versus the euro and was last trading hands down 0.3% at 91.08 pence.
8.25am update: FTSE soars on open
FTSE has shrugged off a pattern of bleak mornings this week by soaring on open today.
The UK index closed at 5,969 yesterday but has already risen to 6,001 today.
This marks a rise of 31.89 points (0.53%) in just 25 minutes.