Scottish Daily Mail

Sell, sell, sell! LSE sinks as investors offload shares

- THE By John Abiona

London Stock Exchange Group sank into the red after a group of investors sold around £2.7bn worth of shares.

US private equity giant Blackstone and media group Thomson Reuters offloaded 33m shares in the exchange operator at 8050p each, according to a regulatory filing. This represente­d a discount of around 5pc to LSEG’s previous closing price.

Shares fell 2.7pc, or 228p, to 8244p. The pair sold Refinitiv, the data and analytics giant, to LSEG for about £20bn in 2021.

As part of the deal, Blackstone and Thomson Reuters scooped up around 204.4m of LSEG shares but were restricted from selling the stock for two years.

A waiver was granted in December last year to allow Microsoft to buy a 4pc stake from the consortium as part of a strategic partnershi­p that it signed with LSEG.

Blackstone and Thomson Reuters sold around £2bn of LSEG shares in March.

The London-listed firm, which owns the FTSE Russell index provider, plans to repurchase up to £750m of shares from the pair by April next year.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: ‘Having taken this short-term pain, the overhang on the stock is now almost completely removed.’

The FTSE 100 fell 0.4pc, or 27.85 points, to 7723.23 and the FTSE 250 was down 0.3pc, or 57.27 points, to 19215.45.

Melrose rose highest among the blue chips on the back of an encouragin­g outlook for its aerospace business in the next two years.

Following its restructur­ing programmes, from 2024 the group hopes to buy back shares worth between 5pc and 10pc of its market value every year alongside paying a ‘progressiv­e’ annual dividend.

Shares gained 4.4pc, or 20.6p, to 488p. There was also good news for Auction Technology Group.

The FTSE250 firm, which operates as a marketplac­e connecting bidders with auction houses to buy items such as antiques, sofas and paintings, saw its revenue rise 17pc to £67.3m in the six months to the end of March.

It also said that its art and antiques marketplac­es had performed well at the start of the second half of its financial year. Shares rose 7.9pc, or 53p, to 723p.

Experian, the credit rating group, saw its revenue rise 7pc to £5.3bn in the year to the end of March. But it expects group sales to grow slightly less over the next 12 months, forecastin­g an increase of between 4pc and 6pc. Shares fell 0.2pc, or 5p, to 2735p.

Anglo American’s diamond arm was on course to make fewer sales due to ongoing economic uncertaint­y and a sluggish recovery in Chinese consumer demand.

De Beers, which extracts the precious stones in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa, said it was likely to report £385m of sales between April 12 and May 16.

While the industry is in a traditiona­lly quieter period, such sales would be less than the £435m it made in the previous cycle between March 27 and April 11. Shares inched up 0.2pc, or 4.5p, to 2370p.

At Coats, the industrial threadsmak­er took a hit from customers choosing to reduce stock as demand waned and inventory levels rose.

Sales plunged by a fifth in the first four months of the year, driven by a slump in its Apparel and Footwear divisions. Shares sank 6.4pc, or 4.7p, to 68.3p.

TP ICAP, the world’s largest interdeale­r broker, warned that the benefit of the recent strength of the US dollar was cooling.

The stock brokerage also said it expected interest rates to remain high throughout the year.

The outlook came after its revenue rose 2pc to £606m in the three months to the end of March. Shares fell 3.7pc, or 6.2p, to 162.8p.

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