Market Report: BlackRock snaps up a 4.77 per cent stake in Ladbrokes


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The Independent Online

BlackRock is taking a punt on Ladbrokes. The investment goliath revealed itself on the share register of the bombed-out bookie last night after markets closed, having snapped up a 4.77 per cent stake.

Ladbrokes reports full-year figures on Thursday, but the City isn’t expecting much. Deutsche Bank earlier this week predicted another year of market share losses and declining profits. Could BlackRock be calling the bottom?

Ladbrokes, which is set to wave off chief executive Richard Glynn, reached a 20-year low in January but has since ticked up. A new chief executive could bring new fortunes. Ladbrokes gained 1.4p to 117.1p.

The FTSE 100 finally broke its 15-year duck and reached a new high of 6949.63, up 37.47 points. The record came thanks to optimism over Greek debt negotiations, signals that US interest rates are set to remain low, and a rally in the heavyweight mining sector. Miners were in form after better-than-expected results from BHP Billiton, which jumped 96.5p to 1643.5p, a three-month high.

Defence and engineering giant Meggitt missed out on the party after reporting a 22 per cent fall in profits. Meggitt lost 34p to 537p.

Online stocks suffered on the mid-cap index – Just Eat slipped 12.8p to 367.2p and AO World dropped 9.7p to 281p. One market maker said: “They’re two ‘jam tomorrow’ companies.”

Drax pushed up 26.9p to 429.9p with the return of rumours, first circulated earlier in the month, that it could be a bid target. “The French” are said to be interested.

News of a £10m payday for investors, in the form of a special dividend, helped property company Development Securities climb 13p to 250.50. Chief executive Michael Marx also announced his departure.

The signature of the President of Cameroon helped oil and gas operator BowLeven jump 4p to 33p on AIM, after the African leader approved the company’s plans to sell a stake in the Etinde project to two other companies. BowLeven is due to receive a $170m windfall.

Wentworth Resources slipped 4.5p to 26.75p on AIM after failing to find oil in Mozambique.