Market Report: Evraz echoes out-of-form Chelsea as Roman suffers
His Chelsea team has not exactly been at the top of its game recently, and yesterday another of Roman Abramovich's investments found itself under pressure. Evraz – the steelmaker which is part-owned by the Russian oligarch – was on the slide amid fears a lack of short-term demand for the metal will blow the whistle on its recent rally.
The group's share price has powered up around 25 per cent since becoming one of the first Russian firms to join the Footsie last November, but last night it closed in the red after Austria's Raiffeisen downgraded its rating to "hold".
Citing a rise in steel inventory levels, the broker's analyst, Iryna Trygub-Kainz, warned that the recent uptick in the metal's price had already been "priced in by the market" and – with another major increase not expected until the spring – Evraz "may have exhausted its potential to continue outperforming the stock market".
In response, the company was knocked back to a low of 428p during trading, although with Ms Trygub-Kainz saying she remained positive on its "development potential" long-term, Evraz ended up closing just 3p worse off at 442p.
In early trading the heavyweight miners attempted to rally, but many of them were unable to hold on to their gains. Kazakhmys was the best of the bunch, creeping up 5p to 1,165p, while BHP Billiton retreated 50p to 2,130p after announcing its first-half profits had dropped 7 per cent to $9.94bn (£6.27bn).
Still, following the recent deal to merge Glencore (down 8.8p to 434.45p) and Xstrata (down 2p to 1,198p), BHP boss Marius Kloppers did raise hopes of further M&A in the sector by saying there was "some capacity" on its balance sheet.
Meanwhile, market gossips were reviving vague speculation that Kenmare Resources could be a possible takeover target, with Rio Tinto (up 4p to 3,873.5p) one of the names put forward as a possible bidder, although – with City voices unimpressed by the rumours – the mid-tier Irish digger only ticked up 0.75p to 50.25p.
It was the same old story on the FTSE 100, as – without any news from Greece by the end of trading – the benchmark index eased down 14.33 points to 5,875.93, its third straight day of falls.
"No-one is interested until Greece is sorted," said one trader, summing up the mood after another quiet session in the Square Mile.
Despite Citigroup saying that analysis of other financial crises showed the bank's rally would continue, only Lloyds ended up rising. It was lifted 0.52p to 35.79p while Barclays was pegged back 3.2p to 233.6p ahead of its full-year results tomorrow.
The news that one of its significant shareholders is getting rid of its whole stake left Centrica 8.2p worse off at 294.5p. Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Berhad is selling almost 200m shares in the British Gas-owner, which could net it as much as £594m.
On the FTSE 250, takeover rumours continued to push Inmarsat higher in early trading as the satellite telecoms firm advanced to a high of nearly 480p. Revived speculation earlier in the week suggested it may be in line for an approach, with US giant GE, private equity and Airbus-owner EADS all cited as possible bidders.
Reports that Inmarsat had not received any approaches took some of the shine off the move, but with Bank of America Merrill Lynch saying a move "could... make sense", its shares still finished 18p better off at 455.2p.
Misys was knocked back 8.46 per cent to 298.5p after Panmure Gordon cut its advice to "hold" following the software firm's announcement late on Tuesday that it had agreed several key terms with rival Temenos over their proposed merger.
It meant hopes that a rival aggressor could emerge with a cash offer looked rather optimistic, with the broker's analyst, George O'Connor, saying that the merger will now occur "on an accelerated basis... making a counterbid less likely".
SuperGroup was the clear loser on the mid-tier index, slumping a huge 17.21 per cent to 579.5p, after the fashion chain revealed a slowdown in sales growth over January.
TV production company DCD Media – whose shows include Bridezillas – was soaring as fellow AIM stock Timeweave (1.88p higher at 25.12p) announced it was snapping up a large portion of its convertible debt. The purchase of over £3m-worth of convertible loan notes saw DCD's share more than double, flying up by 126.28 per cent to 7.75p. It also prompted the group to release a statement saying it would meet with the horse racing broadcaster to "understand better [its] rationale and intentions in making this investment".
Bango jumped 39.59 per cent to 137.5p after the payment services firm announced it had signed a deal with Facebook, which comes in the wake of an agreement with Amazon reached at the end of last year.
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