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Sports Direct tops risers; FT sale rumours re-emerge

Sports Direct shares

Sports Direct: LSE (click to enlarge)

Mon close: Sports Direct International topped the risers as Exane BNP Paribas lifted its target price to 860p from 800p. Exane said it continued to value Sports Direct at a premium of around 5% to the sector given the quality of the UK business, strong earnings growth profile and optionality of European expansion.

Shares in Pearson, which were earlier down more than 2%, spiked on the re-emergence of reports that the education group is exploring the sale of the Financial Times. Bloomberg said possible bidders for the newspaper were being sounded out.

Barclays was reportedly planning to cut more than 30,000 jobs in the next two years, just days after the bank ousted chief executive Antony Jenkins. The cuts – which are seen as the only way to address the bank’s underperformance and lift its share price – could take the bank’s global workforce to below 100,000 by the end of 2017.

Tullow Oil said gas exports from the Jubilee Field to the Ghana Gas plant at Atuabo had been suspended since 3 July due to technical issues and is expected to resume mid-August.

Aerospace and defence company Rolls-Royce announced two new deals worth more $2.23bn. The company has been selected by the national carrier of Saudi Arabia to provide long-term TotalCare engine service support, while International AirFinance Corporation has also signed it up to provide Trent 700 engines for 20 Airbus A330 Regional aircraft.

British Land said it had a good start to the year, with strong occupational demand and lettings well ahead of estimated market rental value. In its first-quarter trading update, the company said its Leadenhall Building, also known as the Cheesegrater, is now 90% full, with 107,000 square feet of new lettings and 52,000 square feet under offer.

News that Greece had made payments to the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank seemed to soothe fears for the time being, although traders have learned what to expect.

IG Market analyst David Madden warned: “The focus is now on next month’s repayments to creditors. The Greek debt saga has been on repeat for five years, so traders have learned what to expect, and they suspect this current calm between the storms won’t last long.”

The Footsie finished the day 13.61 points higher at 6,788.69 and the FTSE 250 was up by another 25.51 points to 17,781.42.

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