MARKET REPORT: Sir Martin Sorrell offered some respite as his digital advertising company S4 Capital bounces back after dismal few days
Sir Martin Sorrell was offered some respite yesterday as S4 Capital bounced back following a dismal few days.
The digital advertising and marketing company’s shares jumped 10.5 per cent, or 10.4p, to 319.4p.
The rally followed a 40 per cent slump in the previous two sessions after S4 said on Wednesday that its auditor PwC has refused to sign off its accounts, delaying its results for a second time.
Concern: A cloud of uncertainty hangs over S4, which was set up by Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured)
The stock is still down 32 per cent since then and 63 per cent since its peak of 870p in September. The rout has seen £85m wiped off the value of Sorrell’s near-10 per cent holding in the past three days as the company’s value has plummeted.
A cloud of uncertainty now hangs over S4, which was set up by Sorrell, 77, after his departure from WPP. He ran WPP for 33 years, taking it from a £1m company in 1985 to having market capitalisation of more than £16billion when he left in 2018.
S4 employs more than 7,500 people across 33 countries and reached the £1bi;;ion unicorn milestone in just over a year.
The FTSE 100 inched up 0.3 per cent, or 22.22 points, to 7537.90 while the FTSE 250 was up 0.3 per cent, or 57.94 points, to 21,218.01.
April 1 meant a pay boost for millions after the UK national living wage rose 6.6 per cent from £8.91 to £9.50. But it also came with a host of energy price and tax rises.
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said: ‘People face the financial pain of higher energy costs, water rates, council bill and vehicle duty this month.
‘Worries are mounting that we ain’t seen nothing yet in terms of an energy shock.’
Russia’s largest steelmaker NLMK failed to publish its first financial statements for the year as its shares were suspended at 32 US cents.
The FTSE 100’s biggest riser was Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Durex condoms and Strepsils, as shares rose 3.1 per cent, or 178p, to 6010p. Analysts at Barclays set a target price of 9100p a share, up from a previous target of 8800p.
Arch-rival Unilever, whose brands include Marmite and Ben and Jerry’s, rose 1.5 per cent, or 53p, to 3508p. It was given a 4600p target price by Credit Suisse while Morgan Stanley, which was not so keen, cut its target from 4200p to 3800p. Both Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever were last month among a group of businesses with Russian operations that experts said ‘have blood on their hands’.
Mining giants Anglo American was up 2.4 per cent, or 97p, to 4069.5p while Rio Tinto gained 2.4 per cent, or 144p, to close at 6225p.
This week Anglo American offloaded its remaining 8 per cent stake in the South African mining firm Thungela Resources while Rio Tinto bought the Rincon lithium project in Argentina for £630m.
Fashion brand Next enjoyed a small bounce, adding 1.3 per cent, or 76p, to 6108p.
But Homewares retailer Dunelm was down 1.3 per cent, or 14p, to 1077p. The FTSE 250-listed company yesterday appointed Karen Witts as its new chief financial officer.
Witts, who held the same role at Kingfisher for seven years, will join Dunelm’s board in June.
Asset manager Sanne has posted significant growth, with turnover last year up 16.5 per cent to £203.7m. It follows a £1.5billion takeover from Apex Group in August after a battle of the suitors between Apex and Cinven, a private equity firm in London.
The business reported a loss of £2.2m before tax in 2021, from a £20.5m profit the year before. Shares fell 1 per cent, or 9p, to 905p.
Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa fell 0.1 per cent, or 4p, to 3409p, after it said that it will quit Russia. The FTSE 100 business said the Russian operation represents less than 1 per cent of its forecasted sales.
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