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Flutter loss widens | 888 hit by tighter rules


The FTSE 100 index closed 34.98 points (0.5%) higher at 7,500.89, tracking advances by US stocks which were again boosted by Wednesday’s weaker-than-expected US inflation numbers.

7am: Flutter losses widen, 888 profits fall

Gambling group Flutter, owner of Paddy Power, Betfair and FanDuel, said interim pre-tax losses had widened despite seeing a growth in revenue throughout the first half.

A pre-tax loss of £112m for the six months ended 30 June, compared to £86m a year earlier, principally because of a £286m charge for amortisation of acquired intangibles.

Revenue rose 11% over the period to £3.38 billion amid recreational player growth, with the group particularly pleased by the momentum seen in the US.

Chief executive Peter Jackson said: “The first half of 2022 was positive for the group with significant progress made against the strategic objectives we outlined in March.

“The second half of the year has started well.”

Rival betting firm 888 Holdings reported a fall in its first-half interim profits which were dented by tightened UK online gambling safety measures and the cost-of-living crisis.

Group revenue fell 13% to £332.1m, with the majority of the business seeing relatively stable revenues, offset by declines in the UK (-25%) reflecting the implementation of more stringent safer gambling policies, and the closure of the Netherlands. Excluding the UK and Netherlands, revenue was up 2% year over year

Adjusted EBITDA came in lowe at £50m (2021: £70.3m).

7am: GDP shrinks

The UK economy shrank by 0.1% between April and June, compared to growth of 0.8% in the previous three months, according to the Office for National Statistics.

ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “With May’s growth revised down a little and June showing a notable fall, overall the economy shrank slightly in the second quarter.” Full story here

Global markets

After a bruising first half of the year, stock market bulls are looking to build on gains in recent weeks as a less hawkish mood emanates from the Federal Reserve.

The S&P 500 is up 15% from its mid-June low, its best eight-week period in more than a year which has brought the index within sight of recovering 50% of its losses since its January high.

The rally gained momentum after Wednesday’s US inflation data showed consumer prices unchanged for July. This has led to speculation that the Federal Reserve will ease back on its aggressive rate hiking strategy.

However, the S&P 500 was 0.07% weaker at last night’s close, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.08% and the Nasdaq Composite saw out the session 0.58% softer.

Oil prices dropped in Asia amid an uncertain demand outlook, though benchmark contracts were headed for weekly gains as recession fears eased.

Brent crude futures fell 49 cents, or 0.5%, to $99.11 a barrel at 0330 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 50 cents, or 0.5%, to $93.84 a barrel.

Brent was on track to climb more than 4% for the week, recouping part of last week’s 14% tumble, its biggest weekly decline since April 2020.

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