HSBC hands Flutter a boost on Gold Cup day

MARKET REPORT: Investors in Paddy Power owner Flutter given a boost as analysts at HSBC hike target price

The bookies may have edged it at Cheltenham yesterday even after Galopin Des Champs romped home in the Gold Cup on St Patrick’s Day.

And investors in Paddy Power owner Flutter were given a further boost as analysts at HSBC hiked the target price for its shares to 16900p from 14300p.

The investment bank said the gambling giant’s plans for an additional listing in the US should lift its value, while clarity over UK regulations in the upcoming White Paper ‘could be a positive catalyst’.

It also hailed ‘strong’ trading in the UK and ‘excellent’ momentum in the US.

The upgrade came as punters – many with a few Guinnesses inside them – watched jockey Paul Townend bring home the 7-to-5 favourite ahead of Bravemansgame and Conflated.

Odds-on: Investors in Paddy Power owner Flutter were given a boost by analysts at HSBC

Odds-on: Investors in Paddy Power owner Flutter were given a boost by analysts at HSBC

However, Flutter shares slid 1.5 per cent, or 205p, to 13625p, rival Entain, which owns Ladbrokes and Coral, dropped 0.5 per cent, or 6p, to 1207.5p and William Hill owner 888 slumped 8.1 per cent, or 5.15p, to 58.85p. The Gold Cup would have provided some much-needed respite for many in the City at the end of a tumultuous week. The FTSE 100 was off 1 per cent, or 74.63 points, to 7335.4, in another grim session for London’s premier index. The FTSE 250 fell by 1.5 per cent, or 287.75 points, to 18470.83.

Rising metal prices boosted mining stocks with Glencore gaining 2.2 per cent, or 9.45p, to 432.65p, Anglo American rising 1 per cent, or 25p, to 2504p, Fresnillo advancing 1.8 per cent, or 12.2p, to 710p. Rio Tinto, however, lost 0.6 per cent, or 31p, to 5250p.

Investors made another dash for safe-haven assets, helping to lift gold producer Endeavour Mining 2.4 per cent, or 42p, to 1760p. Oil prices slipped to around $73 a barrel as demand was hit by fears over the health of the global economy.

Bodycote, the heat treatment specialist, was among those companies that did enjoy a positive trading session. Revenue rose 20.8 per cent to £743.6m for 2022. Profit jumped 23 per cent to £95.3m. Shares gained 5.9 per cent, or 34p, to 615.5p.

Talks over a possible takeover of John Wood Group will go on after the engineering group asked for its potential buyer to be given another month to table an offer.

US private equity giant Apollo has had four bids rejected, including its latest offer of 237p a share.

Its deadline to make an offer by March 22 has been extended to 5pm on April 19. Analysts at Jefferies said their ‘upside scenario’ would be an offer of 290p a share.

Shares were up 1.5 per cent, or 3p, to 205.9p. The boss of BT was slapped on the wrist by the telecoms watchdog after he said his company’s network expansion will ‘end in tears’ for some of its competitors.

Ofcom delayed the conclusion of its investigation into a new Openreach pricing plan as its chief executive Melanie Dawes wrote in a letter to Philip Jansen that his comments caused ‘significant concern’. Shares tumbled 6.1 per cent, or 8.9p, to 137.75p.

Meanwhile, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) rose 2 per cent, or 144p, to 7470p after UBS raised its rating to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ and increased the target price to 8700p from 8500p. The broker put this down to an improved forecast for LSEG’s Trading & Banking (T&B) division.

GSK gained 1 per cent, or 13.8p, to 1400.8p after Deutsche Bank upgraded the company’s stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and lifted the target price to 1700p from 1500p.

But private equity group Bridgepoint sank 10.1 per cent, or 21.7p, to 193.7p after Peel Hunt cut the company’s rating to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ and lowered its target price to 220p from 340p.

Technical products supplier Diploma raised £235m alongside buying Tennessee Industrial Electronics for around £76m Shares rose 3.2 per cent, or 84p, to 2720p.