Market Report: Pub sector has deteriorated since the World Cup


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The Independent Online

Investors have got one thing on their mind – the pub.

Spirit Pub Company climbed 5p to 96p, still trading on the revelation this week that the brewer and pub operator Greene King has taken a 100p-a-share tilt at Spirit. Martin Brown, analyst at Shore Capital, thinks Greene King is likely to return to the negotiating table but says the price will have to be higher. “We certainly think that Spirit shareholders shouldn’t accept anything less than £1.20.”

But while punters were getting their fill of Spirit, rival Mitchells & Butlers cast a shadow over the sector as it admitted trade has deteriorated since the World Cup. Drinks sales slipped 0.2 per cent in the nine weeks to September 20, while total sales were only up 0.1 per cent. M&B, tipped by some to enter the race for Spirit, collapsed 31.9p to 373.7p.

The Footsie chalked up another day of heavy losses in what is turning out to be a brutal week, down 66.56 points at 6,639.71. The tumble was sparked by a sell-off in the US and a rise in weekly jobless claims across the pond. Miners dragged the index 14.09 points lower as metal prices continued to lag.

Hargreaves Lansdown lost 40.5p to 923.5p after a downgrade from RBC Capital Markets. The broker thinks the financial services specialist is overpriced.

Bid hopes helped the microchip maker CSR add 36.5p to 765p, as it extended the deadline for its US suitor Microchip Technology to make a second offer.

People aren’t sending enough parcels to keep UK Mail happy. The private postie slid 75p to 490p after a weak trading update, while Royal Mail lost 14.4p to 400p on fears that the problems are not isolated.

After markets closed, Lloyds revealed plans to sell 57.5 million shares in the recently spun-off TSB, equivalent to 11.5 per cent of the company. After the sale, Lloyds, up 0.81p at 76.3p, will still hold 50 per cent of TSB, which was up 0.2p at 280p.

The online video advertising group blinkx was buoyed 0.5p to 38p on AIM by news that Stanford Business School’s finance chief, Raj Chellaraj, is joining the board as a non-executive. The Autonomy founder Mike Lynch is stepping down.