Market Report: Punters who gambled on Bwin.Party are out of pocket


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The Independent Online

Punters who gambled on Bwin.Party are out of pocket.

The online gaming group, which runs the PartyPoker website, announced in November that it was in talks about selling up. William Hill, Playtech and the Canadian gaming group Amaya were all touted as potentially interested parties. But yesterday Bwin went tumbling 18.95p to 83.55p after reports in the trade press that deal talks are now off. Whoever the mystery party was, it apparently lost interest after running the slide rule over the business.

The market was in a topsy-turvy mood, with one small-cap trader saying: “It’s all madness today.”

The blue-chip index rose 45.41 points to 6,873.52 despite a batch of bad results, with the mining giant Anglo American rising 39p to 1,204.5p despite announcing a loss of $2.5bn (£1.6bn) last year. The performance still beat expectations and came amid a wider rally for commodity companies, as well as a bounce for oil operators. Tullow topped the index, up 19.9p at 405p as oil prices continued to rise.

An endorsement from UBS helped the drug group GlaxoSmithKline climb 67.5p to 1,553p. The bank said: “For the first time in over a decade, we see scope for substantial earnings growth in the coming three to five years, driven by new products in ViiV [GSK’s joint venture developing HIV treatments] and vaccines.”

Afren bounced around, it shares tanking by as much as 35 per cent after the cash-strapped oil and gas explorer announced that deal talks with Nigeria’s Seplat are off. But the company ended the day on the front foot, up 0.16p at 7.27p. Stephane Foucaud at the investment bank FirstEnergy said: “Given that it is not in the bondholders’ interests to put the company in administration, I guess that they will have to give some lifeline to the company, putting it on a stronger footing to talk with potential buyers.”

The retail investor favourite Fitbug, which makes health and fitness monitoring devices, leapt 0.25p to 6p on AIM after announcing a 310 per cent jump in full-year sales, with momentum accelerating. It has signed sales deals with Amazon, Argos and Sainsbury’s  in the past year.