Market Report: Little progress on Vodafone and Liberty Global's asset swapping deal

 

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The Independent Online

When Vodafone said it was in the “early stages” of talks with John Malone’s Liberty Global over swapping some European assets, it wasn’t kidding.

The US billionaire has revealed that more than three months on, little progress has been made on a deal with the mobile giant.

“Conceptually there could be some real value created, but realistically we haven’t been able to figure out a way to do that that’s mutually successful,” Mr Malone told Bloomberg.

Concerned by the lack of progress, investors sent Vodafone down 2.8p to 218.45p.

On the wider market, traders are still waiting for tomorrow’s crucial decision on US interest rates.

Some poor American economic data, though, was just the tonic for investors hoping the Federal Reserve holds rates steady, and helped the FTSE 100 rise 53.01 points to 6,137.6.

Liberum Capital soothed fears that Shell’s £47bn deal for BG might not happen in the depressed environment for oil prices by telling clients it was convinced the pair will wrap things up.

Its analysts think BG, up 10.2p to 1,005p, is now worth buying given it is about 10 per cent below the bid price from Shell, 18p richer at 1,631.5p but still a hold in Liberum’s view.

Rockhopper edged down 0.25p to 43.25p as the oil explorer hailed a “fantastic start” to its exploration campaign in the Falklands with two significant finds.

GW Pharmaceuticals surged 56p, or 10 per cent, to 617.5p after its experimental cannabis drug for treating schizophrenia showed promising signs in a mid-stage trial. The company is also testing the drug, called Cannabidiol, on patients suffering from cancer and epilepsy.

A solid full-year trading update from professional music equipment maker Focusrite, led by former Led Zeppelin sound engineer Phil Dudderidge, hit the right note with investors and it gained 1p to 157.5p.

Teathers Financial, run by FairFX co-founder Jason Drummond, jumped 0.5p, or 19 per cent, to 3.13p after signing a deal with Shard Capital to launch a financial trading platform that gives retail investors access to placings normally reserved for institutions.

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