MARKET REPORT: Peppa Pig maker Entertainment One rebuts rumour chief is planning to quit 

MARKET REPORT: Peppa Pig maker Entertainment One rebuts rumour its president Mark Gordon is planning to quit

Entertainment One shares surged nearly 16 per cent higher after the maker of Peppa Pig refuted a report that the company’s president and chief content officer was in talks to quit.

It followed an exclusive in the Hollywood trade title Variety that the veteran film and TV producer Mark Gordon was headed for the exit following a stand-off with senior managers.

The company issued a statement declaring that Gordon ‘continues to be a part of the team both now and into the future’.

Stock in Peppa Pig maker  Entertainment One turged nearly 16 per cent higher after thefirm  refuted a report that the company’s president and chief content officer was in talks to quit.

The American bank Citi said there appeared to be a ‘mismatch’ between what the article was actually reporting – namely, that Gordon’s role may change – and the share price reaction.

The stock tanked in late trade on Wednesday when the Variety report first emerged before bouncing back yesterday 15.8 per cent, or 55.4p, to 405.4p.

‘The market appears to have jumped to the conclusion that Mark Gordon is set to exit Entertainment One altogether (based on the negative tone and commentary on internal relations and, perhaps, inaccurate conclusion in the article that suggests there could be a complete departure),’ Citi said. ‘The comment made by the company implies an exit is not on the cards.’

Stock Watch – Mitie 

Mitie Group’s shares rose after profits beat forecasts.

For the year ending March 31, the outsourcer reported operating profit before exceptional items of £88.2million, 6 per cent higher than the prior year and just above the £84-£87million range it had predicted in a trading update in late March.

Employing 52,000 people, Mitie Group manages properties on behalf of banks, retailers, hospitals and local ?? and the Government.

The shares closed up 5p, or 7p, at 146.5p.

City broker Numis, which is strong on the media and entertainment companies, rates the shares a ‘buy’ up to 573p and saw Wednesday’s dip as an opportunity to pick up stock in the group on the cheap.

Supported by a strong start on Wall Street, the FTSE 100 closed the session 0.55 per cent, or 39.63 points higher, at 7259.85.

However, analysts continued to caution against complacency, with the US still in sanctions stalemates with two of its biggest trading partners, China and Mexico.

The defensive qualities of Imperial Brands (up 5.7 per cent, or 112p, to 2073p) and British American Tobacco (ahead 3 per cent, or 87p, to 2915.5p) pushed the two sin stocks to the top of the blue-chip index.

Tuesday saw the start of the buying activity, which was supported by some positive commentary from Barclays Capital on Wednesday.

Two of Footsie’s top five fallers, builder Taylor Wimpey and grocer Sainsbury’s, lost ground after investor rights to a dividend payment lapsed. 

They were off 7.5 per cent, or 12.65p, to 156.5p, and 3.8 per cent, or 7.65p, to 194.55p respectively.

Auto Trader, the blue-chip owner of the car sales site of the same name, was the victim of some mild selling pressure after a ‘curate’s egg’ (partly good, but also partly bad) set of prelims. 

The good: a 15 per cent rise in annual profits; the not so good: revenues from car makers are stuck in reverse gear. The shares, up around 31 per cent in the year to date, closed down 0.4 per cent, or 2.4p, to 585p.

Astrazeneca perked up 1.4 per cent, or 86p, to 6045p, after a drug it is developing to treat chronic lymphocytic leukaemia successfully navigated a Phase III clinical trial.

AZ’s Calquence demonstrated a statistically-significant and clinically-meaningful improvement in progression-free survival. In other words it was proven to help people live longer.

Dropping down a division to the FTSE 250, Mitchells & Butlers advanced 3.6 per cent, or 10p, 290.5p to, after Berenberg upgraded its recommendation on the pubs group to ‘buy’ and lifted its target price to 360p from 265p.

In a separate note to investors, the London arm of the German broker cut its rating on rival operator Ei Group to ‘hold’, which prompted a drop in the stock of 1.7 per cent, or 3.6p, to 204.6p.


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