Categories: Economy

MARKET REPORT: Mirror owner edges up as Montgomery plots buyout

Shares in Daily Express and Daily Mirror owner Reach rose higher after it became the target of a possible takeover bid.

In an update to the stock market after trading closed on Thursday, newspaper mogul David Montgomery said he was considering an offer through his group National World.

Shares in Reach closed 1.9 percent or 2p to 105.7p yesterday, while National World fell 2.4 percent or 0.5p to 20.5p. Montgomery, who turns 74 tomorrow, is a newspaper veteran who led the Mirror Group in the 1990s after the death of Robert Maxwell.

Offer: In an update to the stock market after trading closed on Thursday, newspaper mogul David Montgomery said he was considering an offer through his group National World

A successful bid for Reach would take him back to the top of the Mirror titles as well as a host of local papers. His interest in Reach comes after National World’s acquisition last year of JPI Media, the UK’s third largest news publisher and owner of titles such as The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post.

The broader stock market was boosted by hopes that China will soon ease its strict Covid-19 restrictions, boosting luxury goods stocks across Europe.

Miners were also among the biggest beneficiaries, as investors bet on a renewed demand for commodities from the world’s second largest economy.

Anglo American rose 11.1 percent or 295.5p to 2951.5p, Rio Tinto gained 7.6 percent or 355p to 5030p, Antofagasta rose 6.8 percent or 81p to 1262p and Glencore climbed 2.5 percent or 13p, up to 532p.

Other stocks with exposure to China also gained, with insurer Prudential rising 9 percent or 75.2p to 913.6p and banking giant HSBC rising 5.8 percent or 26.85p to 490p. The FTSE100 gained 2 percent or 146.21 points to 7334.84 and the FTSE 250 rose 1.3 percent or 231.96 points to 18341.57.

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At the end of a week in which online furniture retailer went bankrupt, the city desperately needed some pre-Christmas cheers.

Cue DFS Furniture, which shook off the doom and gloom by saying sales grew again in September. The Doncaster-based company said trade was “resilient” despite rising inflation and pressure on living standards.

Sales since early September have been above last year’s levels and have also surpassed pre-pandemic numbers, with “ongoing evidence that it is taking market share from rivals.”

The bullish update sent shares up 6 percent, or 7.4p, to 131.8p, reversing a trend that wiped out £275 million from the company this year.

AstraZeneca rose 0.6 percent, or 60p, to 10742p after EU regulators approved the use of Beyfortus to protect infants from a seasonal respiratory virus.

Advertising giant WPP gained 1.2 percent, or 9.6p, to 800p after Morgan Stanley raised its target price from 700p from 700p to 730p. Earlier this week, boss Mark Read told PR Week trade magazine that the business pipeline was larger than it was a year ago.

There was also good news for Morgan Advanced Materials, as the group, which makes ceramics and crucibles for metal melting plants, saw its sales rise 10 percent in the nine months to September.

Shares were up 15.8 percent, or 38.5p, to 281.5p.

Darktrace, meanwhile, rose 1.8 percent, or 6.1p, to 348.9p after Numis issued a buy recommendation and a price target of 520p. The Cambridge-based cybersecurity group also assured the market that it would resolve a shareholder revolt over its compensation policies.

At Thursday’s annual general meeting, 20.7 percent of the votes cast opposed the remuneration report. It wrote to the three shareholders — tech entrepreneur Mike Lynch, his wife Angela Bacares and GO ETF Solutions — who rejected the resolution.

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