Market Report: ITV will have a much stronger World Cup than expected


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The Independent Online

ITV was boosted by two thumbs-up from Liberum yesterday. The broker thinks Viacom’s plan to buy Channel 5 is unlikely to pose a challenge. In fact, Ian Whittaker at Liberum thinks Viacom will be a powerful ally in the fight to get platforms such as Sky and Virgin to pay to carry channels. Currently ITV and others have to pay cable and satellite broadcasters to be included in the package.

Even better, feedback from a major media buyer suggests that ITV will have a “much stronger World Cup than we expected”, according to Mr Whittaker, and Morrisons’ new TV campaign is also set to provide a boost. ITV added 4.6p to 186.6p.

Aggreko waved goodbye to celebrated chief executive Rupert Soames yesterday but the temporary power provider climbed 68p to 1,645p thanks to an upgrade from Jefferies. The broker thinks the company is at an “inflection point”, with revenue growth set to return in the final quarter of this year.

Supermarkets were in the dog house after Morrisons, off 3.4p at 197.5p, announced deep and wide-ranging price cuts, piling pressure on Sainsburys, 10.6p lighter at 325.1p, and Tesco, down 6.4p at 286.5p, to follow suit. The price war is likely to squeeze the pips of profit margins.

The blue-chip index marked its fifth day of gains, reaching a two-month high and breaking the 6,800 mark. The FTSE 100 closed up 28.84 points at 6,808.87.

The marine services group James Fisher leapt to the top of the mid-cap index after reporting strong trading. It put on 142p to 1,433p.

The insurer Phoenix Group was 8.5p better at 691.5p after an upbeat trading statement and solid first-quarter cash generation.

Salamander Energy is in takeover talks, the Asian-focused oil and gas explorer revealed yesterday. It was offering assets in Thailand and Indonesia for sale but got more than it bargained for. Ophir Energy, down 4.3p at 259.3p, was named by speculators as a potential interested party, after its planned merger with Premier Oil collapsed this week. Salamander slid up 13.5p to 147.5p.

The Aim-listed Indian outsourcer iEnergizer collapsed 50p to 150p after admitting that profit after exceptional costs for the year just ended will be 7 per cent lower than last.