Market Report: Katherine Garrett-Cox under pressure after bruising encounter with US hedge fund Elliott Advisors


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Katherine Garrett-Cox may have just been named Businesswoman of the Year but she remains under pressure following a bruising encounter with the US hedge fund Elliott Advisors last month.

Alliance Trust’s high-profile chief executive is in effect fighting for her job after the activist investor managed to install a non-executive director on its board. Her fightback gathered pace as Alliance bought Stocktrade from the broker Brewin Dolphin for £14m to boost the fund group’s savings arm. The shares rose by 2.5p to 503.5p. “We believe the deal is positive for Alliance Trust Savings as it had previously been sub-scale with a market share of  2.2 per cent,” said analysts  at Numis. “We expect  there will be significant synergies available, improving the profitability of the combined entity.”

The FTSE 100 edged up 23.41 points to 6,973.04, even though the Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, voiced his concern about productivity in the UK economy.

3i was the biggest riser following a strong set of results that boosted its shares 15.5p to 527.5p.

Centrica also rose 4.4p to 281p after the British Gas owner signed a deal to increase the amount of gas it buys from Gazprom to 4.16 billion cubic metres a year. The UK needs about 70 billion cubic metres of gas a year for heating and electricity.

The blue-chip index was hit as several stocks went  ex-dividend, including drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline, which fell 20p to 1,430.5p.

Tui Travel also fell 11p to 1,196p following a strategic update in which it confirmed that the Thomson Holidays brand will be scrapped over the next two years alongside First Choice.

The world’s largest travel company is hoping to simplify its structure under the Tui banner and offload non-core assets like LateRooms as it targets annual profit growth of more than 10 per cent over the next three years. 

Analysts at Cenkos said: “The group is spending more on capital expenditure than the market expected... In particular, investing in new cruise ships, while admittedly at attractive prices, increases exposure to the lowest returns in the travel sector.”