THURSDAY MARKET CLOSE: FTSE up despite ITV woes

The wider FTSE 100 Index ended the day up 23.41 points. Picture: PA
The wider FTSE 100 Index ended the day up 23.41 points. Picture: PA
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Broadcasting group ITV was under pressure as industrial action over pay took the shine off figures showing a solid start to the year for advertising revenues.

The stock slipped 1 per cent, off 2.7p to 257.3p, as the trading update also revealed a fresh fall in audience share.

It came as the wider FTSE 100 Index ended the day up 23.41 points at 6,973.04, after it initially fell by as much as 50 points as volatility in bond markets continued to weigh on equities in early trading. However, concerns faded as the session wore on.

Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG, said: “European equity markets might well have been open but with bank holidays in both France and Germany, trading volumes were always going to be a little bit lower.

“Bank of England governor Mark Carney has gone on to give a little more clarity to [Wednesday’s] inflation report, and his eagerness to see a referendum on the UK’s continuing status in the EU conducted ‘soon’ has focused the markets’ attention.”

Alton Towers and Thorpe Park owner Merlin Entertainments was up after its trading statement showed group revenues strongly ahead in the 18 weeks to 2 May. Merlin, which is also behind Legoland and Madame Tussauds, said it was helped by good weather in Europe as well as a continuing boost from promotional activity related to “The Lego Movie”. Shares rose 5.3p to 458.5p.

In the FTSE 250, TalkTalk was 20.9p higher at 384.1p after upgrading its revenue forecasts as it posted pre-tax profits of £32 million for the year to the end of March, up from £31m the year before.

The company was cheered by its strongest ever quarterly revenues growth of 6 per cent and its lowest ever level of customer churn. It also proposed a dividend hike and said it planned to raise the pay-out by 15 per cent next year.