Market Report: Sports Direct chiefs cash in their shares

Sports Direct International is famous for flogging large amounts of tracksuits and trainers, but yesterday its bosses were making a name for themselves with the sale of large chunks of shares. David Forsey, chief executive, and the finance chief, Robert Mellors, have sold all their shares ahead of next month's reward scheme which will see them receive 1 million new shares in the new financial year.

Messrs Forsey and Mellors have followed the founder Mike Ashley's lead. Last month he sold 4 per cent of his stake in the retail chain. He has 64 per cent left in the 400-shop company.

When Mr Ashley sold his shares the stock price dipped 7 per cent, but the shares recovered some of this loss and were back near an all-time high. The pair sold their shares at 425p, racking up £3.4m. The share price yesterday added 1.1p to 426.2p.

Sports Direct's management don't receive bonuses, so the share rewards are their pay-off for all the hard work at the pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap group.

Ahead of a four-day break the FTSE 100 edged up slowly but eurozone concerns were still weighing on investors' minds. Some traders said fund managers had begun to top up with shares during afternoon trade to make sure they were not holding too much cash ahead of the new quarter. The FTSE 100 added 24.18 points to 6,411.74.

The sweeteners group Tate & Lyle was top of the tree after a positive update and its shares were 25p better at 850p.

At the other end of the table were the miners. There was an adverse reaction to the Chilean copper miner Antofagasta's announcement that it will resume the development of its Antucoya project, and the shares dipped 41p to 984p.

The City loves a good deal, and it welcomed news that the chemicals company Johnson Matthey had splashed the cash.

The world's largest supplier of catalytic converters is spending £107m on the Swedish chemicals group Formox. Johnson is buying the business that produces catalysts linked to the chemical formaldehyde from PAI Partners' Perstorp Specialty Chemicals. The group's technologies will complement Johnson's existing catalyst business.

Johnson Matthey shares produced a 50p rise to 2,300p.

Also being welcomed by the market was the news that the hotels giant InterContinental has sold its five-star Park Lane hotel for £300m to Qatari-owned Constellation Hotels. Some experts had thought the group would take much longer to sell the 447-room property. The deal helped the shares to book a 55p rise to 2,007p, taking them towards the top of the table.

The struggling credit card insurance group CPP has been given a two-week extension to refinance its £80m debt. The small-cap group, which was fined in November for mis-selling its products, had been facing administration if it could not find a solution. Its founder, Hamish Ogston, made a 1p-a-share approach to buy the group this week, and its existing lenders yesterday gave the extension to 12 April.

CPP said the extension will allow it to "continue discussions relating to a number of alternative financing and strategic options with the aim of concluding these discussions prior to the extended maturity". The shares ticked up 0.95p to 3.94p.

A fifth extension to the put-up-or-shut-up deadline for the private equity firm interested in Theo Fennell, jeweller to the stars, has been announced. The struggling Aim-listed jeweller revealed in September that EME Capital had made an approach. Since then a series of extensions have been made, with a new deadline set for 3 May. The jeweller has struggled to make a full-year profit for more than four years. The shares were static at 10.75p.

The Aim-listed explorer New World Oil & Gas raised £6.3m through the issue of 315 million new shares at 2p a share. Shares in the group that focuses on Belize and Denmark slipped 0.75p to 2.12p.

Andrew "Bert" Black, founder of Betfair, splashed out on another 2 million shares at 11p each in the industrial oils recycler Hydrodec, taking his stake to almost 20 per cent. The shares were unmoved at 10.88p.

The explorer Falcon Oil & Gas joined Aim with a placing of 120.4 million new shares at a price of 14p each, raising £16.9m. John Craven, the serial energy entrepreneur who ran Cove Energy which was sold to Shell, is chairman. The shares closed at 14.63p.

Buy: CENTAMIN

Snap up shares in the gold miner Centamin, Investec insists. Its results this week were better than 2011 but were weaker than expectations. But Investec thinks the Egyptian-focused miner "remains an attractive gold growth play albeit one with a generous overlay of Egyptian political risk". It gives the shares, which are currently 49.45p, a 67.5p price target.

Sell: THOMAS COOK

Flog shares in the holidays group Thomas Cook, Nomura suggests. Harriet Green, chief executive, is "making all the right noises… but with the exception of the disposal of its Canadian business, we have yet to actually witness the results", Nomura thinks. It rates the shares, which are currently 112.4p, a sell with a 105p price target as "success is certainly not guaranteed".

Hold: NATIONAL GRID

Hang on to shares in National Grid, Liberum Capital's analysts recommend. The eagerly awaited new dividend policy for the energy group and its positive trading update earlier this week are a reason to do so. They give the stock a 730p price target and the shares are currently priced at 765p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015