Market Report: UBS calls time on ITV's rally

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The Independent Online

UBS has called time on ITV's stellar rally. Shares in the broadcaster have increased 272 per cent since Adam Crozier became chief executive in 2010, outperforming the blue-chip index by an incredible 250 per cent.

But UBS thinks it can't last forever. Tamsin Garrity at the broker says "the market is pricing in much of the advertising recovery, Studios turnaround, balance-sheet restructuring and some benefit from expansion in pay-TV".

The one hope of ITV beating expectations rests with the England football team: if they do well in this summer's World Cup, advertising revenue could beat forecasts. ITV added 1p to 196p.

What a difference a week makes: the life-insurance sector dragged the blue-chip index lower after last Wednesday's annuity reforms in the Budget, but yesterday the sector helped the Footsie to add 0.41 points to 6,605.30.

Life insurers were buoyed by the UK's biggest-ever bulk annuity deal at Legal & General, up 5.3p to 214.8p, and Standard Life's takeover of Ignis Asset Management, which saw it add 26.2p to 400p.

But the top-flight index was pegged back by a placing from RSA, down 7.4p to 87.8p, and the Government's sell-off of another chunk of its holding in Lloyds at 75.5p a share. The bank closed down 3.91p at 75.2p.

There was brisk trade among mid-cap oil and gas operators yesterday. The North Sea explorer Cairn Energy had a second day of gains, 6.2p higher at 167.1p, as management continued to increase their stake in the business. This time it was non-executive director Alexander Berger who splashed the cash.

Salamander Energy added 4.5p to 106.25p after announcing better-than-expected results from a test drill at its West Kerendan-1 site near Indonesia. And Exillon Energy, whose management resigned last week, leapt 14.25p to 122.5p after majority shareholder RusOil owner Alexei Khotin found himself in control of the boardroom.

Carpetright collapsed 30p to 556.5p after issuing its second profit warning in seven weeks. The flooring chain said sales in the eight weeks to 22 March grew just 0.2 per cent.