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Stocks fall back as Rentokil slumps

Published 18/04/2024, 15:20
© Reuters.  FTSE 100 Live: Stocks fall back as Rentokil slumps
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Proactive Investors -

  • Blue-chip index up 16 points at 7,864
  • Rentokil dips following results
  • easyJet (LON:EZJ) bolstered following trading update

Royal Mail parent sees target hiked on prospective takeover

Deutsche Bank (ETR:DBKGn) analysts have upgraded Royal Mail owner International Distributions Services PLC (LON:IDSI) after news broke on Wednesday of a potential takeover.

IDS was bumped up from a ‘sell’ to ‘hold’ as Deutsche also lifted the delivery firm’s share price target from 160p to 268p.

West Ham co-owner Daniel Křetínský’s bid to buy embattled IDS emerged on Wednesday, with the Czech energy tycoon already holding 27.5% of the company.

Though this initial offer, made earlier this month, was rejected, Křetínský’s EP Group was said to be readying further bids.

Deutsche added Křetínský now had until May 12 under UK takeover rules to announce a firm intention to bid on IDS.

IDS shares slipped 2.5% to 269.20p, after having soared on Wednesday... Read more

European EV demand sinks

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) sank across Europe last month, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has reported.

Registrations of new battery-electric cars fell 11.3% to 134,397 units year on year in March, the group said, meaning the vehicles’ market share shrank from 13.9% to 13%.

EVs accounted for 14.6% of Europe’s car sales last year, with Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Mercedes all reporting a dip in demand for such models over the first quarter.

Overall, new car sales were down 5.2% on a year earlier in March, as the early Easter holiday hit demand across Europe, according to ACEA.

Sales fell in all of Europe’s four largest economies, the group added, with registrations of electric vehicles declining by as much as 28.9% in Germany.

Small-cap Chill Brands up 5% amid shareholder revolt

Shares in Chill Brands (LON:CHLL) were 6% higher in early afternoon trading after it became the unexpected target of an activist shareholder.

After hours on Wednesday, the Vape and CBD products revealed its largest shareholder wants to unseat two senior members of the board.

Jonathan Swann, who holds a 13.45% stake in the London-listed group, has lodged a letter requisitioning a meeting to oust chief commercial officer Antonio Russo and chief operating officer Trevor Taylor. It is seeking the appointment of Graham Duncan and Aditya Chathli.

Chill said it was “deeply concerned” by the development.

In a statement issued to the London, it added: “The company is taking legal advice as to the validity of the requisitioner’s letter and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

Co-op Bank on brink of merger with Coventry Building Society

The Co-operative Bank is set to announce its takeover by Coventry Building Society as early as this week, according to Sky News.

An agreement on the £780 million takeover could be unveiled on Thursday, reports said, after over three months of exclusive talks between the two.

A combination of the two would become increasingly likely with such an announcement, potentially creating an entity with some £90 billion in assets.

The pair would collectively cater to around five million customers, with Co-op having struggled in recent years, requiring bailouts by investors in 2013 and 2017.

Strong start seen on Wall Street

Futures trading had the Dow Jones up 103 points at 38,094 ahead of Thursday’s opening bell.

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 were up 54 and 13 points respectively at 5,075 and 17,713 in the meantime.

NVIDIA Corp (NASDAQ:NVDA) was among those rising, by 1% in pre-market trading, after chipmaking rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co reported expectation-beating first-quarter profits.

Taiwan Semiconductor has recently been “viewed as a key barometer of AI chip demand,” Scope Markets analyst Joshua Mahony said.

“There is a hope that the likes of Nvidia and Arm Holdings (NASDAQ:ARM) will see the buyers step in once again on the hope that we will see a similarly upbeat tone when they report in the coming weeks.”

Arm Holdings was up 0.3% ahead of the markets’ open on the news.

Among losers, Tesla Inc fell 1.7% in pre-market deals after news broke that 300 temporary workers from its German plant had been let go as part of plans to cut staff globally.

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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