Market Report: Asos no longer in fashion on AIM


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The Independent Online

The online fashion retailer Asos is no longer the darling of AIM it once was.

Shares in the group slumped 155p, or 5.6 per cent, to 2,622p after UBS dumped 3.1 per cent of the company’s shares at 2,673p each on behalf of an institutional client with a 4 per cent stake.

The share sale came hot on the heels of the news that Asos’s founder and chief executive Nick Robertson is relinquishing control of the company he created 15 years ago.

Traders are betting on more panic-selling to come, especially with fears lingering that Mr Robertson could trim his 8 per cent stake after he leaves the business.

A 73.2-point fall for the FTSE 100 to 6,155.81 meant a reversal of the blue-chip index’s fortunes after Wednesday’s gains.

Just when the prospect of monetary stimulus from China buoyed markets, more weak data from the world’s second-largest economy rattled confidence again.

This time, the worst producer price figures for six years had traders convinced that China’s growth is on the wane, which might be the nail in the coffin for a rise in US interest rates next week.

Equipment rental firm Ashtead was 27.5p better off at 1,018p on the back of a solid update from its larger US peer United Rentals. Jefferies analyst Justin Jordan described it as reassuring in light of the plight of the oil industry, which is taking its toll on the whole sector.

The long-awaited Apple launch in California turned out to be something of a damp squib for investors.

Shares in two Apple suppliers, ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies, drifted lower after the event. The former lost 2.5p at 950p, while Imagination reversed early losses to put on 2p at 258.75p.

Hedge fund Toscafund beefed up its stake in AIM-listed Blinkx, down 0.5p at 24p, to above 22 per cent.

Blinkx, which was spun out of Mike Lynch’s controversial Autonomy, has lost around 90 per cent of its value in less than two years as it struggles to get to grips with mobile advertising, resulting in revenues shrinking for the past couple of years.