Market Report: Man's fans rush for shares as funds flow

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The Independent Online

Traders couldn't quite believe their eyes. Struggling hedge fund Man Group has finally reported funds are coming in rather than going out. The City had predicted outflows of $1.3bn ( £0.81bn) due to the poor performance of its AHL fund but it actually revealed a better than expected third quarter.

Net inflows reached $0.7bn – the first quarterly inflow of funds for two years.

Investors were so happy with the news they pushed it up more than 3.5 per cent – 2.95p to 85.85p.

Despite the jubilation it wasn't all good news for the world's biggest listed hedge fund manager. The funds were moving in the right direction but the quality of the flows was weaker – the inflows were mainly those into its GLG fund, which has lower margins for the group.

Total funds under management edged up from $52bn to $52.5bn in the quarter and chief executive Manny Roman said he remained "cautious in our outlook for asset flows going forward in the light of continued uncertainty in the macro-economic environment."

Jonathan Jackson, head of equities at broker Killik & Co, said: "On the face of it, the shares remain cheap. However, the stock is not suitable for all types of investor and should be considered high risk. In order to invest, you need to believe in the long-term growth prospects of the alternative investment industry and, in particular, the ability of the AHL trend-following programme to deliver performance. The shares are likely to remain volatile, and driven by general market sentiment, the direction of net asset flows and the performance of AHL."

The wider market was downbeat during most of the day as the debt and budget deal in the US was largely viewed as just delaying the inevitable.

Patrick Latchford at foreign exchange broker Monex Capital said: "The expectation of a resolution in Washington was sufficient to cheer US equities on Wednesday but as the reality of this only being a temporary solution sinks in, we're back with a weakening US dollar and stock markets under pressure."

After a mini rally on Wednesday the FTSE 100 clung on to gains and added 4.57 points to 6,576.16.

Top of the table was BSkyB at a 12-year high after a good first quarter update. It broadcast a 62p, or 7 per cent, rise to 940p.

Another strong contender was beer brewer SABMiller when it reported growth in emerging markets - boosted by Africa - was offsetting its weaker European business. First-half revenues rose 4 per cent and it put on 127p to 3,167p.

Over on the mid-tier index Russia-based precious metals miner Polymetal said falling metal prices meant sales edged down 2 per cent year-on-year to $518m.

But it is on track to hit production targets this year and was 45p brighter at 570p – top of the mid-tier table.

Near the other end of the index was Rank Group which disappointed investors with a profit warning.

The casino and bingo group, majority-owned by Malaysia's Guoco Group, said it will cut costs and warned its half-year profit will be hit by a fall at its bingo business.

The group failed to get a full house at its 97 bingo clubs because the hot summer weather tempted people away.

Not only were regulars not visiting clubs, but fewer were spending time indoors betting as sales at its online bingo business fell by 3 per cent. The City laid down its cards and it tumbled 4p to 150p.

Cash-and-carry group Booker produced a 0.8p rise to 141.9p as its results beat analysts' expectations.

Outsourcing and distribution company Bunzl added 5p to 1,334p after it announced that it had bought Mexican catering distributor Pro Epta and its third-quarter update was in line with forecasts.

Royal Mail's strong share performance slowed slightly but it still added another 5p to 480p.

Struggling Finnish nickel miner Talvivaara had a rare day of popularity – blamed on a short seller squeeze – was 1.27p better at 5.62p.

The long-awaited US listing for Bollywood movie distributor Eros International is going ahead. Its AIM shares will be cancelled the day after its admission in New York, which is due from 4 November.

The group, which distributes films starring the likes of actress Chitrangada Singh, was static at 242.5p.