Market Report: New Morrisons chief executive buys another £500,000 worth of shares in embattled supermarket


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The Independent Online

The new Morrisons chief executive David Potts showed his faith in the embattled supermarket chain’s turnaround by gobbling up another 315,000 shares worth £500,000.

Mr Potts, the former Tesco executive who took over from Dalton Philips in March, has the task of stopping the rot in the group’s sales. As part of the restructuring, he has already sold Morrisons’ convenience store business and shut 11 supermarkets.

He now has more than 800,000 shares worth £1.3m in Morrisons, which ended down 1.9p to 156.6p.

Meanwhile, Dave Lewis, the chief executive of rival Tesco, is yet to put his money where his mouth is: he has still not paid for any shares in Britain’s biggest supermarket out of his  own pocket.

The FTSE 100 ended a choppy day down 1.3 per cent at 6,104.11, pulled lower in afternoon trading as Wall Street opened lower.

The US Federal Reserve’s “no” to a rate rise boosted the price of safe-haven precious metals as the dollar weakened, playing into the hands of gold producer Randgold Resources, which shone 134p higher at 3,863p, and silver miner Fresnillo, up 20p to 610p.

Zoopla’s 1.5p rise to 209.8p, triggered by Deutsche Bank elevating its target price to 240p, placed the online property group among the top performers on the mid-cap index.

The Dublin-based UDG Healthcare spiked 47.5p to 540.5p as it sold its Irish distribution businesses and British travel healthcare arm to the US wholesaler McKesson for €407.5m.

A downgrade to “underperform” from BMO Capital Markets on Premier Oil, off 5.85p at 78.1p, made the oil producer the FTSE 250’s main straggler.

Meanwhile, property tycoons the Candy brothers, Nick and Christian, snapped up more shares in their AIM mining venture Metals Exploration, lifting their stake to just under  50 per cent. Shares in the Philippines-focused gold miner, where the Candys tried and failed to take full control of in 2011, dropped 0.75p to 3.375p as it raised up to $10m in a placing and open offer at 3p per share, with an extra $5m to be secured though debt securities.