Market Report: Sky has retaliated by playing BT at its own game, offering free broadband

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The Independent Online

Sky has fired its latest salvo in the war for customers with BT.

BSkyB, down 7p at 869p, announced plans to launch a channel dedicated to European Football, Sky Sports 5. It is a clear retaliation against BT Sport, BT's channel launched last year to snare customers in a lucrative broadband-and-TV package. Sky is playing BT at its own game, offering two years' free broadband for those who sign up to its free channel.

Accendo Markets' Mike van Dulken said: "This is a shot across the bow for BT, whose shares have outperformed Sky since last November's win of exclusive rights to the UEFA Champions League." BT lost 9.6p to 396.5p.

Sports Direct was a victim of its own success as Goldman Sachs took the discount sports retailer off its conviction buy list. The banks reasoned that its stellar run of form means there is less upside for investors. Sports Direct fell 10p to 815p.

The Peroni and Fosters brewer SABMiller rocketed 182.5p to 3,460p following rumours that bankers are putting together a $60bn (£36bn) bid for the drinks giant.

The brewer's rally helped to keep a listless blue-chip index flat yesterday, down just 1.45 points at 6,873.55.

Oxford Instruments climbed 30p to 1,374p on the mid-cap index after better than expected full-year results. The X-ray and nanotechnology specialist reported a pre-tax profit of £47.1m, just ahead of last year's £47m figure.

The small-cap marketing group Communisis eased up 1.5p to 59.25p on news that it had swallowed up The Communications Agency for £7.25m.

The radio equipment maker Sepura, up 3.5p to 142.5p, hailed its third year of double digit earnings growth, with profit up 19 per cent to €12.5m. The company, which is aiming to crack North America, also hiked its dividend from 1.68p to 2p.

After a run of form that saw shares triple in a month, traders finally took profit from Leni Gas & Oil, off 0.14p at 3.55p. But the serial entrepreneur and chairman David Lenigas is bullish on the company's prospects, telling TipTV he will not be selling down his share of the business despite the rally.