Market Report: Schroders snaps up a 5.2 per cent stake in MySale


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MySale’s share price rout hasn’t put off blue-chip investors. The Australian flash sales site has plunged since listing at 226p last June, most recently putting out a profit warning last week. Early backers, the Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green and Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, have lost tens of millions. But yesterday the esteemed investment house Schroders snapped up a 5.2 per cent stake. Perhaps it is betting that MySale, up 2.25p at 52.5p, has hit rock bottom.

News that the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme will cover even government bonds with negative yields buoyed markets across Europe to record highs. The Footsie scored an extra boost from a slew of positive corporate results and broke new ground for the third time in less than two weeks, rising 41.90 points to 6,961.14.

Direct Line improved 8.5p to 341.1p as Berenberg and Morgan Stanley raised their target prices for the car insurer. Berenberg believes the company could pay out a 42p special dividend next year thanks to its strong balance sheet.

Speculators were pushing rumours that the engineer Weir Group, up 47p at 1,739p, could be on the block. GE Capital is being linked to the business, with starry-eyed punters talking of a 2,800p-a-share bid.

Dividend news helped another engineer, Spirax Sarco, soar 327p to 3,407p as it announced plans to hand £91m back to shareholders through a bumper 120p-a-share special dividend.

JP Morgan sold down its stake in the Israeli spread-betting business Plus500 prior to its recent set of bumper results. But clearly the bank has had a change of heart, raising its holding to just above 5 per cent yesterday. Meanwhile the hedge fund Odey Asset Management took some money off the table, selling just shy of 1 million shares in Plus500, up 12p at 722p.

The Kurdistan-focused Genel Energy, the energy explorer headed by former BP boss Tony Hayward, leapt 42p to 603p despite sliding to a loss of $312.8m last year. The share price jump came as Mr Hayward said the business expects “regular payments for exports as we move through 2015”. Oil and gas operators in the region have struggled with being paid for their work.