Market Report: BSkyB picture dimmed as the analysts tune out

 

The Footsie may have reached a five-month high last night, but punters were switching off BSkyB amid claims the satellite broadcaster has fallen out of touch with the great British public. The group has become increasingly friendless in the Square Mile, and yesterday it dropped another 23p to 666.5p after Bernstein Research's Claudio Aspesi became the fourth analyst in a matter of days to hit it with a downgrade.

Mr Aspesi's decision to cut his advice to "underperform" was particularly notable, given it is the first time he has turned negative on BSkyB. Pointing to the recent success of BT (down 0.8p to 203.1p) and Virgin Media in signing up customers to superfast fibre broadband, the analyst said BSkyB was complacent over the threat from the technology, which raised "the question of whether [it] has lost sight of what the market really wants".

Slashing his target price by a huge 41 per cent to 500p, he also fretted over recent reports claiming the group could face more competition for the rights to show Premier League football as well as the possibility the Competition Commission may force changes to the number of exclusive films it can show on its Sky Movies channels.

The subsequent fall left BSkyB shares at their lowest since October, continuing a tough 2012 in which it has already shed more than 9 per cent. Last week UBS, Citigroup and Investec removed their "buy" ratings, with the former warning that the group may end up paying a significant amount more for Premier League rights.

Overall, the FTSE 100 was lifted 38.78 points to 5,741.15 – a level it hasn't closed at since last summer. The rally was all about the banks, with Barclays gaining the top spot by surging 20.25p, or 10.07 per cent, to 221.3p while Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds were not far behind, climbing 2.22p to 27.05p and 2.68p to 32.27p respectively.

While positive figures from their peers across the Atlantic – including Bank of America – helped, rising sentiment over the eurozone also did its part. It meant stocks in the wider financial sector were going well, including Aviva, which finished 17p stronger at 342p as takeover speculation around the insurer refused to die.

The news that India's Supreme Court will pass judgement today on Vodafone's appeal against a $2.2bn (£1.4bn) tax bill caused some jitters around the mobile telecoms giant. It dipped 0.55p to 174.65p while its European peer Deutsche Telekom was the subject of vague rumours it could become a target for China Mobile.

There are less than six weeks to go until the start of legal proceedings against BP, but Morgan Stanley's Martijn Rats said there was as much as an 80 per cent chance the oil giant could agree a settlement with the US Department of Justice before the trial begins.

However, he warned this would be likely to involve a fine of up to $25 billion for BP – a much higher sum not only than what the City is expecting but also what the company itself has made provisions for – yet BP still crept up 1.05p to 482.45p.

Tesco outperformed its fellow blue-chip supermarkets by charging up 6p to 327p after the news that US billionaire Warren Buffett has raised his stake in the retailer to more than 5 per cent following its recent profits warning.

Takeover talk around Invensys was being reheated yet again, with US giant General Electric put forward as a possible bidder this time. The suggestion was made by Credit Suisse's Julian Mitchell, who said the mid-tier engineer – which was 15.9p better off at 200p – "would fit well with GE's portfolio of assets".

Heritage Oil bumped up 8p to 192p as market gossips revived familiar bid speculation, but traders were instead highlighting improving sentiment towards its operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Talvivaara's fantastic run continued, with the nickel miner jumping up another 19.3p to 358.3p. Earlier in the week, the Finnish government's investment arm raised its stake in the company – whose share price rose 80 per cent in 2011 alone – to more than 11 per cent.

The mid-tier index's gold medal position went to Dixons Retail after the electricals chain moved 1.72p higher to 13.55p, meaning it has gained more than a third in the three days since releasing its Christmas sales figures.

The punters were once again getting excited over Rockhopper as the Falkland Islands-focused explorer powered up 10.75p to 327.25p on AIM. The latest vague speculation claimed it could be nearing a farm-in agreement with a US company, although dealers were treating the whispers with a large pinch of salt.

Meanwhile, President Petroleum –which is searching for black gold a bit further west in Argentina – spurted ahead 13.67 per cent to 39.5p after striking oil.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
Paul McCartney backs the
people
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone