Market Report: Peppa Pig owner's shares fatten on movie deal talk

Lights, camera ... action? With Entertainment One, the co-owner of kids' favourite cartoon porcine Peppa Pig, on the search for acquisitions, The King's Speech-backer Alliance Films has long been rumoured to be in its sights. Yesterday, with the sale process of the Canadian firm looking set to be completed in a matter of weeks, City scribblers were claiming that – win or lose – punters would be switching onto the media firm.

Entertainment One's share price has been in the doldrums ever since it decided in February to scrap plans to sell itself and instead look to make its own purchases. The reason for the weakness, suspects Canaccord Genuity's Alan Howard, is fears over a deal for Alliance being dilutive and whether a fundraising would be launched as a result.

With the news on who has won the race for Alliance – which as well as financing the Colin Firth-starring, Oscar-winning period drama, pictured below, also owns the film distributor Momentum Pictures – expected within a month, the analyst argued that whether Entertaiment One is successful or not, it would "likely encourage the market to look again at [its] strong fundamentals".

Investors weren't ready to pile in quite yet, however. Despite Mr Howard keeping his "buy" recommendation and target price of 237p, Entertainment One ended up following the rest of the market down by falling 1p to 156.5p

The week ended with a bloodbath in the Square Mile as the FTSE 100 closed 111.49 points lower at 5,655.06. Nervousness ahead of key elections on the continent this weekend didn't help, but the fall was being largely pinned on US non-farm payroll figures showing less jobs were added in the States last month than expected.

Commodity stocks bore the brunt of the damage, with heavyweight miners such as Kazakhmys (down 51p to 774p) and Eurasian Natural Resources (down 33p to 520p) not helped by Australia taking a knife to its economic growth forecast.

Tullow Oil was another blue-chip company deep in the red. The oil explorer slipped back 88p to 1,469p following the news that its Teak-4A appraisal well off the shore of Ghana is being plugged and abandoned, with Société Générale's David Mirzai warning it "may delay commercialisation plans".

One of the few bright points was provided by Lloyds as – having fallen for the past two days – it rebounded 0.98p to 32.62p after surprisingly strong first-quarter results from fellow state-owned bank Royal Bank of Scotland, which still crept back 0.08p to 24.47p.

Following last month's resignation of boss David Brennan, AstraZeneca received some support on further optimism the reshuffle will result in a major shake-up of the drugs giant. UBS's Gbola Amusa claimed there was now an increasing "likelihood of strategic announcements in 2012 that would unleash value in Astra's shares", and reiterated his belief that it could become a takeover target.

Saying it was one of several scenarios which could provide "dramatic upside", he added the group to UBS's list of "key calls". However, despite staying ahead for most of the session, Astra ended up 0.08p weaker at 24.47p.

Down on the FTSE 250, builder Taylor Wimpey was knocked back 3.96p to 47.69p by the latest figures from Halifax showing house prices fell last month to their lowest in almost three years.

Having added nearly 10 per cent in less than a month, Debenhams was 5.05p off at 80.4p. Liberum Capital's scribes decided it was time to sell the department store, saying it was facing increasing rent costs and falling margins.

Dairy Crest was bumped up 2.4p to 306.1p as it milked acclaim from Jefferies, with the broker – starting its coverage of the cheesemaker with a "buy" recommendation" – claiming the group's share price " undervalues its stable of top-tier brands".

There was no let-up for Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Fears over the future of its takeover by Vodafone (down 1.2p to 171.8p), which 19 per cent shareholder Orbis has been moaning about, saw the telecoms firm fall for the fifth straight session, sliding 0.19p to 32.76p despite the bid being priced at 38p-a-pop.

On AIM, Plexus Holdings spurted up 4.5p to 128p after the oil and gas engineering services firm signed a contract worth £1.3m with the blue-chip energy giant BG Group.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea