Market Report: Punters backing Playtech pick up a bumper payout

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Free bets are a clever way for bookies to keep punters hooked, and today gambling software firm Playtech announced an offer of its own that investors could not refuse.

The FTSE 250 firm is dishing out a special dividend of €150 million (£128 million), worth 40p a share to investors, which it said it can afford without hindering its takeover activity. On top of that, shareholders will rake in an inflated interim dividend of 11 cents, up from 9.6 cents last year.

The payouts, which lifted the shares 29.5p to 929p, were unveiled alongside first-half results that showed revenues surged 24% on a constant currency basis to €338 million and adjusted earnings grew 40% to €144 million — ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

The large-caps had Hillary Clinton to thank for their decline as her comments on drug pricing in the US hit pharmaceuticals stocks. The Democratic Presidential candidate called on Mylan to drop the price of its EpiPen, which left Hikma Pharmaceuticals down 117p at 2111p and AstraZeneca 135.5p cheaper at 4944.5p over fears of a crackdown on drug-price hikes. The sector’s decline pushed the FTSE 100 down 52.16 points to 6783.62.

Market-watchers today turned their attention to the two-day annual economic policy symposium at Jackson Hole in Wyoming, where the focus will be on interest rates. “Markets are currently pricing in a one-in-five chance the Fed will hike next month,” said ETX Capital’s Neil Wilson.


FTSE 100 Irish building materials company CRH was 69p firmer at 2538p as it raised its dividend for the first time in seven years and suggested in solid first-half results that Brexit would not hit business in the UK. Investors lost their appetite for Just Eat after Barclays warned of slowing order growth for the takeaway delivery outfit amid increasing competition. It downgraded the shares, which fell 21p to 548p, to Equal Weight.

Observation wheel investor and builder Challenger Acquisitions rose 1.08p to 23.2p after a US court dismissed a case brought against it by Madison Capital Markets, which demanded compensation for advising it on its takeover of Starneth, whose team was behind the London Eye. 

Financial results from pre-revenue mineral explorers are largely academic, but a cash balance of just shy of $2 million (£1.5 million) reassured investors in Asiamet Resources, which rose 0.04p to 2.27p. The healthy sum means the Indonesian copper explorer is unlikely to have to go cap in hand to its AIM following any time soon.

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August 25, 2016 |
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