Mike Ashley Looks to Re-Cycle Evans

Tuesday, 30 October: At the opening bell the FTSE 100 remained indecisive after mixed global fortunes, assorted earnings and further budget fallout culminated in the failure to push direction. Following the Chancellor’s final budget before Brexit in which he triumphantly stated ‘austerity is finally coming to an end’ many are still trying to evaluate the main winners and losers. Gambling stocks, as we reported yesterday, were one of the early ‘winners’.

Yesterday on Wall Street we witnessed broad losses, with many US indices having one of their worst months since the financial crisis. This caused a volatile session for Asian indices, especially after further tariffs upon China returned to the US agenda. As we write Wall Street is staging a recovery at least, with the S&P 500 up around 0.7%, joined by gains on the NASDAQ of 0.9% and for the Dow Jones of 0.8%.

BP shares climbed early after Q3 profits more than doubled those from a year ago. They also expect the acquisition of assets from miner BHP to be made entirely from cash. Shares eventually retraced from earlier highs to close the day 2% up. Ocado shares were the biggest winner today, climbing 5% on the back of a deal with Kroeger. The deal with the US grocer signals huge faith in the domestic company’s retail technology, and the deal is thought to be for 20 customer fulfilment centres over the next 3 years, at the top end of guidance. From the top to the bottom, Reckitt Benckiser saw the harshest drop on the FTSE 100 today, with shares falling 4.5% after temporary manufacturing disruption hit Q3 performance. Overall their update was fairly solid, overlooking this issue but how much it could impact Q4 and if this isn’t connected to slowing birth rates in China remains unknown.

Mike Ashley has continued his spending spree in anything but football, this time by purchasing Evans Cycles as part of a ‘pre-pack administration’. The retailer has 60 stores across the UK and is only the latest victim to the UK’s high-street demise. He know owns of course Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Agent Provocateur, Flannels and c.30% in Debenhams and French Connection. What he doesn’t own is a Premier League team who have won this season yet. Which could be down to a lack of investment. Or the fact…… let’s leave it there.

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