Market Report: Sports Direct snaps up a 4.8 per cent stake in

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The Independent Online

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct stepped in to help out his old friend Sir Philip Green yesterday by snapping up a 4.8 per cent stake in

Clearance fashion website Mysale, 25 per cent owned by Sir Philip's wife Tina, listed on Monday and was plagued by an error when the share price had been incorrectly quoted in pounds rather than pence. It floated at 226p and fell nearly 30 per cent during its first day. It also had a rather interesting day yesterday, spending most of the day down 6 per cent, before closing up 7 per cent or 13.5p at 201p. When the market closed it was revealed that Sports Direct now owns a 4.8 per cent stake in Aim-listed MySale and said it would use the "relationship" to look at joint venture opportunities in Australasia and Asia. Despite the boost the shares are still 11 per cent below the listing price.

Waning enthusiasm after a spate of floats in the City re-emerged with retailers Card Factory and McColl's, which still failed to get above their listing prices.

Card Factory's first update as a listed company yesterday failed to win fans and it fell 1p to 208p, or 7.5 per cent below its 225p float price.

Newsagent McColl's, which joined the stock market in February, also issued an update about its expansion but fell 2.25p to 169.75p – 11 per cent below its 191p listing price.

The wider market was in a better mood and the benchmark index was propped up by a buoyant oil and gas sector which added nearly 11 points to the index. The FTSE 100 soared 11.79 points to 6,778.56.

Two stocks hit by going ex-dividend were the utility groups United Utilities and Severn Trent, down 24.5p to 861.5p and 41p to 1928p, respectively.

But oil groups were riding high after oil prices surged to $114.45 a barrel as militants in Iraq attacked the country's biggest oil refinery. BP, which has been pulling foreign workers out of the country, rose 8.3p to 514.4p and Shell was up 44p to 2,533p.

Pharmaceuticals giant Shire was the top riser again. The drugs group has been popular with investors on reports it could be the subject of a takeover bid. It gained 125p to 3,785p.