High rollers headed for the hills yesterday as warnings about potential legislation for the gambling industry saw punters ditch Ladbrokes and William Hill. The industry awaits news of a Government review into high-stakes roulette machines – the 33,000 fixed-odds betting terminals that are in betting shops across the UK.
Analysts at Davy warned Ladbrokes is likely to be hit harder than William Hill and has a "higher exposure to machines" so they downgraded Ladbrokes to underweight and William Hill to neutral. Barclays analysts said Ladbrokes looks expensive because there is too much risk with its online strategy and gave it a 123p price target. Ladbrokes fell 5.5p to 145.7p. William Hill was 6.1p weaker at 347.2p.
The wider market was lacklustre after the recent six-day rally led to profit taking. The FTSE 100 eased back 15.61 points to 6,659.42.
Worst performer on the blue-chips was sweetener-maker Tate & Lyle after a profit warning and it tumbled 126.5p to 660p.
Rolls-Royce was also hovering near the bottom of the benchmark index after it warned that US defence cuts will hit 2014 numbers and it was 165p worse off at 1,045p.
Fund manager Aberdeen Asset Management lost 19.4p to 408.2p after analysts at Jefferies downgraded it to underperform.
Toy and model-maker Hornby will welcome former Ladbrokes boss Richard Ames as its new chief executive. Hornby was 2p ahead at 77.5p.
Demand from punters for the technology specialist Actual Experience pushed its shares up 350 per cent during its first day of trading on AIM. Shares in the digital problem solver, spun out of IP Group and Queen Mary University, soared 190.5p to 245p after listing at 54.5p. Meanwhile IP, the mid-tier intellectual property specialist, confirmed details of a £100m capital raising and it ticked up 9.5p to 196.5p.
Cruise operator All Leisure fell 4.5p to 40p after warning full-year pre-tax losses will be between £13m to£14m.
Medical group PuriCore has signed a contract to sell its wound treatment and it was 5p better at 45.5p.