FTSE: Breaking news and analysis from UK markets

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FTSE: Breaking news and analysis from UK markets

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elcome to our FTSE live blog reporting and assessing breaking news as it happens.

Live updates

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After a fairly decent session the FTSE 100 ended down 7.7 at 6712.95 today.

A big collapse in shares of Entain, the Ladbrokes-to-Coral betting group, singlehandedly took four points off the index. It ended down 12% after bidder MGM said it would not be raising its bid for the group, effectively killing  the deal.

WPP took another point off the index with its 4% slide.

The biggest risers were Smith & Nephew, Hargreaves Lansdown and HSBC, which all gained more than 2%. Heavyweight HSBC’s gain added six points to the FTSE but that was not enough to stave off the overall index fall.

The FTSE 250 closed down 36.45 at 20,602.89 despite strong showings from Indivior, up 9%, and Network International, up 6%.

1611074841

It’s Anand’s round…

Long-time Greene King supremo Rooney Anand has raised £200m to pour into Britain’s pub industry, Sky News reported today.

Anand, who spent nearly 15 years as chief executive before stepping down in 2019, was said to be embarking on a buy-up spree – betting on a swift recovery for the sector once lockdown has lifted.

He is said to have tied up with a US backed private equity firm, and will focus acquisitions on smaller operations with the opportunity for fast turnarounds.

1611071829

888 strengthens its hand

Online gambling firm 888 Holdings has agreed a deal to extend its poker partnership in the US with Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE).

Shares in the company nudged higher after it confirmed the multi-year contract extension. 

The extended deal will see 888 continue to provide its poker technology platform and services to the Caesars subsidiary to support online poker rooms under the World Series of Poker brand.

 The UK-based firm said the move will enable 888 to “gain a presence” in new US states once it secures regulatory approvals. Shares in the business were 0.7% higher at 312.22p.

1611071753

Audioboom enjoys lockdown podcast boom

Revenue at podcast company Audioboom soared by a fifth last year, beating expectations for the second year in a row.

 It said that the momentum is expected to carry into this year, and the board expects to have positive underlying earnings in 2021. 

Last year adjusted Ebitda was a loss of 1.8 million US dollars (£1.3 million), down 36% on the year before, with revenue of 26.8 million dollars (£19.7 million). 

“I am delighted that the company continues to perform well on all fronts despite one of the most challenging years in history,” said chief executive Stuart Last.

1611071060

Alumasc builds

Building products group Alumasc’s shares are now up 24% after a strong trading statement for the past six months.

Chief executive Paul Hooper said the board was considering resuming the pre-Covid dividend for shareholders in the light of double digit growth in revenues and return on sales.

He said the group was watching closely government plans for changes to the Help to Buy and stamp duty reliefs but that vaccines and mass testing should counterbalance any negative changes.

1611067240

Dow opens up

Nice early bump to Wall Street as the Dow Jones breaks its losing streak led by energy stocks.

DJIA’s up 207.76 at 31022.02.

FTSE up just 8 at 6729. Perhaps traders had hoped for a better pop in the US after yesterday’s New York market close for Martin Luther King day.

1611065910

Entain shares crash as MGM Resorts folds over £8bn takeover

US casino giant MGM Resorts has walked away from an £8 billion takeover of Ladbrokes owner Entain after its approach was rejected.

Shares in the FTSE 100 gambling firm – formerly called GVC – plunged as much as 20% after MGM ditched its plans.

Las Vegas-based MGM said it would not increase its approach or make a firm offer for Entain “after careful consideration and having reflected on the limited recent engagement between the respective companies regarding MGM’s rejected all stock proposal”.

It comes a week after Entain chief executive Shay Segev announced his shock departure after less than six months in the role and amid the bid battle.

Entain – which also owns brands including Coral, Foxy Bingo and Sportingbet – rebuffed MGM’s £8.09 billion proposal earlier this month, saying it “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects”.

Under the approach, Entain investors would have received 0.6 shares for each share they own – representing a value of 1,383p per share – up 22% on the company’s closing price on December 31 2020.

1611065438

LME open outcry closure latest

Just in… the London Metal Exchange has issued its consultation doc on the potential closure of the 144-year-old “Ring” where traders holler their buy and sell orders at each other in the tradition of open outcry.

In his statement on the consultation, LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain said: “The LME believes it is the right time to consider the permanent closure of the Ring and a move to an electronic pricing structure.”

“The Ring is a greatly treasured aspect of the LME’s rich 144-year history, and its closure is not a decision we or our market will take lightly.

“However, the LME has stood the test of time precisely because of its ability to adapt to the evolution of market dynamics and trading behaviour.”

He said he did not want to use Covid as a pretext to shut the Ring but said “it is fair to observe that this period of electronic pricing has served the market well.”

He added that volumes of trading had been high and pricing transparent to buyers, with more participants being able to access the market.

It’s called consultation, but that looks pretty much like a closure plan to us…

1611063832

Arcadia to shut 31 outlet stores, with hundreds of job losses

Arcadia administrators are set to permanently shut another 31 of the fashion group’s stores by the end of January, with the loss of 714 more jobs.

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire collapsed into administration at the start of December, hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

It is understood that the latest set of cuts will result in the closure of all 21 of the group’s Outfit stores.

Outfit, which was acquired by Arcadia from Sears in 1999, is not a fashion brand itself but sells all of Arcadia’s retail brands in out-of-town destinations for shoppers.

Arcadia and Deloitte declined to comment on the closure update.

1611063685

Hunter cleans up as Brits hit the great outdoors

A booming final quarter for wellies firm Hunter

The upmarket wellies brand said online sales surged 88% in the last three months of 2020.

The firm added that its Original Tall Wellington boots range sold out in key sizes in December.

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