Market Report: Sky heads to earth after news of email hacking

It has been a rocky week for BSkyB. On Tuesday the satellite broadcaster announced the resignation of James Murdoch as chairman, and yesterday its share price was knocked back to a seven-month low after admitting two counts of email hacking, heightening fears over the likelihood of Rupert Murdoch making another takeover attempt.

Although Sky News claimed both occasions of hacking were in the public interest, punters chose to switch off BSkyB, leaving it at the bottom of the Footsie as it crashed down 22.5p to 635.5p.

After News Corp was forced to abandon plans to take full control of the group last July in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that resulted in the demise of the News of the World, many still believe Mr Murdoch's media empire will try again at some point in the future.

However, Bernstein's Claudio Aspesi warned that the latest revelation "makes this scenario even less likely, with News Corp suitability as the part owner already in question".

Claiming in "the near term the company could come under increased legal scrutiny and face increased legal costs", the analyst added that the fall-out could "distract management from... key structural threats" such as the roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband and increased competition for premium content.

Although it looked unlikely for most of the session, the FTSE 100 did manage a tiny bounce ahead of the long Easter weekend. Having fallen more than 130 points on Wednesday, its worst session of the year, the top-tier index crept up 19.9 points to 5,723.67 despite a surprise drop in manufacturing output.

Still there was definitely a feeling of caution ahead of the release today of closely watched non-farm payroll figures from the US.

The commodity stocks ended up providing much of the rebound following encouraging services sector data from China, while speculation was once again doing the rounds that the country could be about to cut its reserve ratio for banks. Trading giant Glencore closed 22.4p stronger at 411.8p as Xstrata and Antofagasta ticked up 38p to 1,112p and 26p to 1,129p respectively.

However, a number of the banks – including Lloyds (down 0.51p to 31.38p) and Royal Bank of Scotland (down 0.28p to 25.82p) – followed their European peers lower after a drop in Spanish and Italian bonds.

Shire's takeover potential continued to dominate the conversation around the drugs maker, with Nomura's Bhanu Singhal arguing that – after a fall of nearly 10 per cent in less than a month – its "share price does not appear to include a bid premium".

The scribbler went to suggest blue-chip rival AstraZeneca (down 15.5p to 2765.75p) was one of the companies which would benefit the most from making a play for Shire, while also arguing Johnson & Johnson and Lilly would be good matches.

Ashmore climbed 18.9p to 385.6p after UBS added the fund manager to the broker's "most preferred" list, claiming there were "significant structural opportunities for growth" in its emerging market assets.

Talvivaara has not had many fans recently, with the Finnish miner shedding over 9 per cent in just five sessions. Yet last night it topped the FTSE 250 after its plant in the east of the country was given the all-clear by regulators to restart following the death of a worker. Also helping the group jump 16.5p to 239.6p was Goldman Sachs' decision to remove its "sell" rating following the slump in Talvivaara's share price.

The wider market may be downbeat over events in Spain, but Morgan Stanley's Jaime Rowbotham said he was increasingly confident over National Express' business in the country.

Saying the dire economic situation meant buses were becoming more popular, the analyst added that upcoming cuts to rail subsidies would help this trend as he raised his advice to "outperform", prompting the transport group up 8p to 236.5p.

At the other end, Petra Diamonds was knocked back 11p to 166.9p. Goldman Sach's analysts decided to call time on the precious stones producer's recent rally, in which it has advanced more than 80 per cent since November, as they downgraded their rating from "buy" to "hold".

Madagascar Oil spurted up 11 per cent to 27.75p after revealing it had resolved its dispute with the government of Madagascar, meaning the AIM-listed driller is able to start work on three exploration blocks in the country.

Elsewhere, Proteome Sciences announcement that it had granted a non-exclusive licence for its stroke biomarkers to Randok saw the pharma firm power up 5p to 40.25p, as Singer Capital Markets hoped the deal would be "the first of many".

REX/Eye Candy
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?