Markets: Yellow Pages shares ‘near worthless’

YELLOW Pages owner Hibu warned yesterday that its shares could be left with little or no value as it battles to turn around its phone book division.

The directories firm, formerly known as Yell, also said underlying earnings will fall below market expectations this year as its paper directory business struggles. Its already battered shares plunged 35 per cent to stand at just 0.44p, giving it a value of £10.3 million, as it considers ways of restructuring its £2 billion debt pile.

Panmure Gordon analyst Alex Degroote said: “The shares are probably totally worthless.”

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The wider London market struggled to make gains for most of the day despite overnight action by the Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy further in response to last week’s aggressive Fed action. But a late rally helped the FTSE 100 Index to add 20.3 points and close at 5,888.5.

Glasgow-based engineer Weir Group was the Footsie’s top performer as the mining sector and associated suppliers cheered the end of the industrial dispute that had paralysed the South African operations of Lonmin. Weir added 50p to 1,824p, while South Africa-focused Anglo American cheered 25p to 2,034p. Shares in FTSE 250 miner Lonmin gave back early stronger gains to close just 1.5p higher at 651.5p. And United Utilities was a top performer on renewed speculation that the utility company could be the subject of a bid.

NEW YORK: Wall Street rose on last night as investors dipped back into the market after the recent pullback from a rally that had driven the S&P 500 up to just shy of a five-year high.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.01 points, or 0.10 per cent, to end at 13,577.65 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 1.74 points, or 0.12 per cent, to finish at 1,461.05.