Market Report: Volkswagen’s sales slump sees car dealers crash

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The City reversed out of the car dealers with the latest Volkswagen sales figures making for grim reading.

The under-fire car maker’s sales slumped 20% last month in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal which has rocked the industry, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Inchcape retreated 3.5p to 774p, Pendragon slipped 0.56p or 1.2% to 45.69p, while Lookers fell 1.45p to 174.75p, although they have emerged largely unscathed from the affair. 

Auto-catalyst maker Johnson Matthey, 17p better off at 2725p today, is now higher than when the testing cheating story broke in September, while it’s a similar story for GKN, whose Driveline unit is used in half the cars worldwide. It rose 2.6p to 294.7p today.

Traders were twiddling their thumbs ahead of the crucial US jobs figures — the last chance for a health check of the world’s biggest economy before the Federal Reserve decides later this month whether to hike interest rates for the first time since 2006.

The FTSE 100 trod water early in the session as a result, edging down 8.77 points to 6266.23 after yesterday’s demolition job caused by not-so-super Mario Draghi underwhelmed investors with his ECB stimulus measures.

SABMiller drifted 11p lower to 4030.5p as US beer drinkers sued to block AB InBev’s £72 billion takeover, arguing the deal would mean they will pay more for lower quality lager.

Alison Cooper, the chief executive of Imperial Tobacco, 5p richer at 3567p, was awarded shares under the group’s incentive plan and immediately sold them to pocket more than £600,000.

Speculation has mounted about a takeover by one its larger tobacco rivals. While it has hit new highs this week, Cooper’s share sale could be premature if a bid is forthcoming.

Bookie Ladbrokes climbed 1.1p to 116.6p as John Kelly settled into the chairman’s seat, while CFD trading firm IG, 4p cheaper at 770p, confirmed the appointment of Peter Hetherington as its new chief executive.

Shire, yet to make a renewed attack on bid target Baxalta, rose 3p to 4554p as JPMorgan suggested the drugmaker was “unlikely” to strike a deal with the US rare diseases firm given Shire’s lowly share price.

Shareholders of AIM-listed oil refining business Hydrodec were unfazed by the departure of chief executive Ian Smale as the shares edged just 0.12p or 3% lower to 4.25p.

It comes after Betfair founder Andrew “Bert” Black, Hydrodec’s largest shareholder at 25%, extended his loan to the cash-strapped company.

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December 4, 2015 |
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