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Media stocks send London markets higher

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by Elaine Frei

In London on Friday, equities markets were up slightly with the FTSE 100 up by only 3 points to 5,903.4 and the FTSE 250 adding 0.3 percent to 9.513.0. These small gains added on earlier increases, with the 100 up 1.7 percent over the week and the 250 gaining 2.8 percent since Monday’s opening.

Bids news spurred gains in the media sector. It was revealed that SMG, which owns STV and Virgin Radio, is in talks with UTV sent SMG 2.9 percent higher to 72p, while UTV added 7.6 percent to 344¼p. GCAP Media was also the center of takeover talk, sending it 3.2 percent higher to 215p.

In the tobacco sector, Imperial Tobacco gained 2.2 percent to £18.18 on the news that while a US court found Altria and Reynolds American guilty of violating racketeering laws it did not impose a fine on either company. Analysts said that this outcome made it more likely that the Phillip Morris division of Altria would make an immediate bid for Imperial.

Among losers on the day was PartyGaming, which was 2.2 percent lower to 111p after ABN Amro reduced its recommendation on the online gamer from “buy” to “hold”. Miner Kazakhmys declined by 2.3 percent on the news that China has raised interest rates weighed on mining stocks, as investors were concerned that the move would have an effect on the demand for metals. Among mid-caps, Carphone Warehouse dropped 1.7 percent to 266¾p after Citigroup began coverage of the company with as “sell” recommendation.

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News posted: August 18, 2006

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