Market round-up: ITV sitting pretty as government attack on BBC bodes well for rivals

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The Downton Abbey and Broadchurch broadcaster dipped 0.9p to 276.5p but is still near all-time highs after surging by almost a third in 2015.

The firm has beefed up its production arm in a bid to counter the possibility of falling advertising revenues — a threat which has not yet materialised.

Since winning the general election, the Government has set its sights firmly on the BBC, questioning its structure and the “regressive” nature of the licence fee. Liberum Capital analyst Ian Whittaker says reducing the BBC’s range of programming “would be positive for ITV” as it would limit the competition for some of its most popular shows.

“Though that doesn’t necessarily lead automatically to increased advertising revenues, it would make ITV’s pricing look more attractive to advertisers,” he added.

Whispers of a takeover propelled shares in equipment testing firm Intertek up 48p to 2457p to the summit of the FTSE 100.

The UK’s benchmark index slipped 25.98 points to 6770.47 as the relief over a Greek bailout deal died down.

Shares in Ocado fell 6.5p to 458.18p as UBS dropped the grocery delivery firm from its buy list.

The company is aiming to seal another tie-up with a major supermarket group overseas but UBS’s analysts reckon a deal is already “priced in” to the stock, adding: “If it’s a global ‘premier league’ food retailer there’s probably upside. If it’s a lower/mid-league player, a new partnership could disappoint.”

Investors bought into Fulcrum Utility Services, up 0.7p to 18.7p, after the energy solutions group was awarded a £3.95 million contract to build a 13-kilometre pipeline linking Scotland’s main gas network to four Speyside whisky distilleries.

Shares in New World Oil & Gas slumped 33% to 0.079p as the oil exploration minnow’s shares resumed trading on AIM. The company hit the headlines in May when Chris Williams, a well-known investor in small-cap oil circles, accidentally bought almost half of it in his mum’s name — a 76-year-old bed and breakfast owner.

Williams, or “Chris Oil” as he likes to be known, bought the shares unaware that the firm’s £1.5 million placing had not yet gone through. He has trimmed the stake to 24.63% meaning he does not have to make an offer for the rest.

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July 18, 2015 |
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