Market Report: City backs ITV to benefit from penny-pinching Beeb

While Auntie penny pinches, ITV will feel the benefit. That was the theory pushing the Britain's Got Talent broadcaster higher yesterday as – with the BBC on a mission to save money – City scribblers argued its bitter rival will be in a prime position to take advantage.

Telling investors to pile into the group, Exane BNP Paribas' Nicolas Didio claimed the "full impact of the BBC's downsizing on ITV's cost structure is yet to come".

As well as the Beeb being less competitive in the battle for sports rights, the analyst added that ITV will be able to get better value for money when making deals with studios and recruiting talent such as news anchors and pundits.

"We estimate that 85 per cent of its broadcasting and online division's costs are sensitive to the BBC's measures," noted Mr Didio, who also said he was more positive on the effect of current advertising trends on ITV than a number of its European peers.

As a result, he bumped up his earnings forecasts and raised his price target by more than a quarter to 108p, as ITV finished the session 3.3p stronger at 88.1p.

The FTSE 100's rally this week gathered pace, with the top-tier index surging up 100.67 points to 5,766.95. Decent demand for Spain's debt auction helped, as did encouraging German economic sentiment data and forecast-beating results from a number of US giants including Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs.

Barclays raced up 9.75p to 220.55p after Bank of America Merrill Lynch tempted investors in by saying there could be earnings upgrades ahead.

At the same time, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland – both of whom had also dropped over the last couple of sessions – were lifted 1.24p to 30.95p and 0.93p to 25.2p respectively.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered bumped up 54p to 1,553p amid speculation over the possibility of Singapore state investor Temasek selling its 18 per cent stake in the emerging markets bank.

After GDF Suez was forced earlier in the week to up its offer in order to win full control of International Power (0.1p ahead at 416.9p), thoughts were turning towards who else in the sector could attract takeover activity. Saying a lot of M&A among the utilities has focused on the UK, Canaccord Genuity's Harold Hutchinson said this theme was "unlikely to go away".

He picked out Centrica, saying it "may be of interest... to the more 'electricity heavy' EU utility groups in future". However, with a number of defensive stocks left towards the bottom of the Footsie as investors went for riskier choices, the British Gas-owner edged back 0.93p to 25.2p.

Burberry (down 94p to 1,492p) and Marks & Spencer (down 9p to 358.7p) were the worst two performers after updates from the retailers were greeted negatively, with the former admitting sales growth had slowed over the fourth-quarter.

On the FTSE 250, Afren shot up nearly as high as 153p in early trading after saying a major oil discovery in Kurdistan could be "transformational". Although the explorer eased back, by the bell it was still 8.5p stronger at 143p. Fellow Kurdistan drillers Heritage Oil (up 10.3p to 146.5p) and Aim-listed Gulf Keystone Petroleum (up 2.5p to 241.5p) were also ahead.

Afren has often been the subject of bid speculation, and traders claimed the latest announcement could only help its appeal. At the same time, Credit Suisse analysts said that – thanks partly to current high oil prices – they were expecting "an increase in M&A activity" in the sector.

Ophir Energy shifted up 27p to 532.5p after they highlighted it as one of the companies which are looking particularly attractive, while Falkland Islands driller Rockhopper (4p higher at 354p) was another, as was Soco International (10.1p higher at 296p), although it was also downgraded to "underperform" by the Swiss broker.

Logica was helped up 3.45p to 82.0p by Investec removing the IT outsourcer's "sell" rating. However, the broker's analysts were hardly gushing, saying that although another profit warning "cannot be ruled out... [it] seems unlikely to happen so soon in the financial year".

Futura Medical was 3.5p better off at 101p on Aim as speculation was revived claiming the condom-maker could be in line for an approach from Reckitt Benckiser (up 52p to 3,612p). Traders, however, were not particularly impressed by the chatter.

There was more solid bid news around penny stock Plus Markets. The junior exchange, which put itself up for sale in February, rose 0.05 per cent to 1.02p after announcing it was considering a number of possible approaches.

Following Argentina's move to renationalise oil firm YPF, Andes Energia – which operates in the country – was knocked back a huge 24 per cent to 34p.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power