News Column

UK MORNING BRIEFING: ITV Shares Jump As Liberty Buys BSkyB Stake

July 17, 2014

Tom Waite



LONDON (Alliance News) - UK shares have opened lower Thursday as investors step back from the previous day's strong gains with a wary eye on Russia and the Ukraine.



British Sky Broadcasting said it has sold its 6.4% interest in ITV to John Malone'sLiberty Global PLC. The sale has been made at 185 pence per share, a small premium to ITV's closing price Wednesday of 182.95p. Liberty Global said it doesn't intend to make an offer to acquire ITV, whose shares lead the FTSE 100, up 6.1% at 194.90p.



Here is what you need to know at the UK market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: down 0.2% at 6,769.83

FTSE 250: down 0.3% at 15,553.78

AIM ALL-SHARE: down 0.03% at 775.16

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Hang Seng: down 0.1% at 23,492.14

Nikkei 225: closed down 0.1% at 15,370.26

DJIA: closed up 0.5% at 17,138.20

S&P 500: closed up 0.4% at 1,981.57

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GBP-USD: down at USD1.7123

EUR-USD: up at USD1.3524



GOLD: up at USD1,305.01 per ounce

OIL (Brent): flat at USD107.10 a barrel



(changes since end of previous GMT day)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Thursday's Key Economic Events still to come

(all times British Summer Time)



10:00 EU Construction Output

10:00 EU Consumer Price Index

13:30 US Housing Starts and Building Permits

13:30 US Jobless Claims

15:00 US Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Survey

15:30 US EIA Natural Gas Storage

18:35 US Fed's Bullard speech

20:00 US American Petroleum Institute Monthly Report

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A five-hour truce was due to take effect in the Gaza Strip Thursday, as the number of victims continued to rise after 10 days and nights of relentless cross-border attacks. Overnight, the Israel Defense Forces continued pounding Gaza, following another day of rocket barrages fired into Israeli territory, including in Tel Aviv. The death toll in the densely populated coastal enclave rose to 227, with 1,685 injured, many of them civilians, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra said.

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EU leaders failed Wednesday to agree on top political appointments to the bloc at a specially-convened summit, delaying the decision until a new round of extraordinary talks on August 30. The EU is in the midst of a leadership overhaul, following elections in May. Successors need to be found most urgently for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and President Herman Van Rompuy. "To reach agreement on names for extremely important positions, it often takes time ... this is not done in one day," Van Rompuy said after the summit in Brussels. "I am absolutely certain that we will take a decision on August 30," he added.

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The US turned up the pressure Wednesday on Russia with a fresh round of sanctions for its actions in Ukraine, with the EU saying it would soon follow suit. President Barack Obama called the US sanctions "significant but targeted" against Russia's financial, energy and defence sectors. The US move came in close consultation with European allies. Obama had discussed sanctions during recent telephone calls with German, British and French leaders, US officials said. The sanctions announcements came hours after separatists in Ukraine said that they had agreed to hold a fresh round of talks.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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DEUTSCHE BANK CUTS REXAM TO 'HOLD' ('BUY') - TARGET 570 (550) PENCE

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JPMORGAN CUTS DIAGEO TO 'UNDERWEIGHT' ('NEUTRAL') - PRICE TARGET 1760 (1780) PENCE

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TRADERS: MERRILL LYNCH RAISES IMPERIAL TOBACCO TO 'BUY' ('NEUTRAL')

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GOLDMAN CUTS ASHMORE GROUP TO 'NEUTRAL' ('BUY') - TARGET 430 PENCE

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CITIGROUP CUTS DRAX GROUP TO 'NEUTRAL' ('BUY') - TARGET 700 (750) PENCE

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BARCLAYS CUTS CRODA TO 'UNDERWEIGHT' ('EQUAL W.') - TARGET 2100 (2330) PENCE

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TRADERS: LIBERUM INITIATES RIGHTMOVE WITH 'BUY'

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TRADERS: MS RAISES BIG YELLOW GROUP TO 'OVERWEIGHT' ('EQUAL-WEIGHT')

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Anglo American PLC said its platinum production fell 40% in the second quarter as the now-finished platinum miners strike in South Africa hurt operations, but the majority of its other operations saw production increases during the period. The FTSE 100 miner said its platinum production fell 40% to 358,000 ounces for the three months ended June 30 from 594,000 during the same period the previous year as workers from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union only returned to work at the end of June. Anglo American said its iron ore production increased 2% to 11.5 million tonnes during the quarter from 11.3 million tonnes following strong performance at both its Sishen and Kolomela mines in South Africa. The company said its export metallurgical coal production increased 10% and copper production by 6%.

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Sports Direct International PLC said full-year revenues and pretax profit rose, boosted by strong growth in its Sports Retail division, as it continues to trade in line with management expectations. Sports Direct, the UK's biggest sporting goods retailer by revenue said group revenue rose 24% to GBP2.71 billion from GBP2.19 billion last year. Revenue metrics were significantly boosted by growth in the Sports Retail division, with revenues up 24% to GBP2.27 billion from GBP1.83 billion last year.

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SSE PLC will say at its annual general meeting in Australia that its financial outlook for 2014/15 is unchanged and it is on course to give out an increased full-year dividend that keeps up with inflation despite customer losses in its first quarter. The major UK energy supplier said that, in spite of challenging market conditions, it continues to expect that its adjusted earnings per share for 2014/15 will be around or slightly greater than the 123.4 pence achieved in the previous year.

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The UK government will have to guarantee the payment ofBT Group PLC's pension scheme should the company become insolvent, following a court of appeal ruling Wednesday, the Financial Times reported. The court of appeal decision confirmed an earlier High Court judgement. The government had challenged the need to cover pensions agreed after privatisation in 1984.

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British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC said it has sold its 6.4% interest in ITV PLC to Liberty Global Incorporated Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of John Malone'sLiberty Global PLC. The sale has been made at 185 pence per share, a small premium to ITV's closing price Wednesday of 182.95p. BSkyB said it intends to use the aggregate consideration of GBP481 million for general corporate purposes. Liberty Global noted that it does not intend to make an offer to acquire ITV.

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GlaxoSmithKline PLC faces further scrutiny after it has emerged that its staff were caught bribing Chinese officials more than a decade ago, The Financial Times reported late Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.Glaxo also found problems with its China vaccine business in 2001, which led to the firing of about 30 employees, the report said. The US Department of Justice, which is investigating the current allegations of bribery at Glaxo, will take a close look at the earlier scandal. Glaxo is currently weathering investigations from Chinese authorities over allegations it paid up to USD500 million to doctors and hospital executives over the past six years.

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Commercial property investors Land SecuritiesGroup PLC said it made a strong start to 2014, as it attempts to shift its retail portfolio towards "dominance, experience and convenience" through the sale of assets which do not fit well with its strategy going forward. In a first quarter interim management statement, the real estate investment trust said it sold the The Bridges shopping centre in Sutherland for GBP125 million, and acquired a 30% stake in Bluewater shopping centre, Kent for GBP696 million. In London the company said it signed GBP15.2 million worth of development lettings since April 1, with a further GBP6.7 million currently in solicitors' hands.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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Computacenter PLC said it was confident in its growth prospects in the long term and that it remains on track to meet its expectations for 2014, as it saw revenues rise in the half year to end-June. The IT services company saw revenues rise 2%, although revenues were up 4% at constant currency. Within this, services revenue rose 3% and supply chain revenue was up 2%, both on a statutory basis. In both the UK and France revenues were up 14%.

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Entertainment One Ltd said it has agreed to acquire independent television producer Paperny Entertainment Inc and Altamont Holdings Ltd, together Paperny, for a total consideration of CAD29.2 million in cash and shares. Entertainment One will pay a total of CAD14.5 million in cash and will issue 2.6 million shares to fund the acquisition. Paperny is based in the US and Canada, and focuses on non-scripted documentaries.

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COMPANIES - MAIN MARKET AND AIM

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London Capital Group To Report Adjusted Pretax Loss Of GBP0.9M In H1; Unadjusted Pretax Loss To Be GBP0.4M, Vs GBP0.1M Profit Year Before

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Leni Gas & Oil Raises GBP7M Through Arranged Placing Of 200M Shares At 3.5p Each

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Trinity Exploration Makes Deal WithCentrica To Acquire Interests In 2 Offshore Trinidad Blocks; Says Acquisition From Centrica At Total Consideration Of USD23M

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EMIS Group Buys Indigo 4 Systems For Up To GBP3.7M In Cash

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Ricardo Expects Profit To Be In Line With Market Expectations

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Finsbury Food Expects FY Profit Ahead Of Market Expectations; FY Revenues GBP175.7M Vs GBP176.6M; Total Dividend To Be 1p Vs 0.75p

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Africa Oilfield Raises GBP7.0M Gross From Issue Of 77.8M Shares At 9.0p

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Broca Proposes Reverse Takeover Of MXC Capital Advisory; Places New Shares To Raise GBP8.5M As Part Of Reverse Takeover

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Fox Marble To Raise GBP4.8M in Share Placing At 18 Pence Per Share

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London Mining Q2 Marampa Production 1.2Mwmt, Up 30% On Q1; 2014 Marampa Production Guidance Kept At 4.9-5.4Mwmt; Says Effort To Find Strategic Investor Expected To Be Completed By End 2014

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Breedon Aggregates H1 Pretax Profit GBP9.1M Vs GBP4.4M

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Mothercare Q1 UK Like-For-Like Sales Up 0.9%, Total Sales Down In Line With Space Reduction; International Sales Up 14.7% On Constant Currency Basis

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Thursday's Scheduled AGMs/EGMs



LondonMetric Property

Greka Drilling

3i Group

McKay Securities

Mothercare

Caledonia Investments

SSE

AO World

Carphone Warehouse Group

Dixons Retail

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Source: Alliance News


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