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Sports Direct rises after poor day for FTSE

Sports Direct extended its strong run on the stock market after confirming details of a bonus scheme that could see its founder land a shares windfall worth up to £65 million.

The proposed award for Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is dependent on the retailer achieving earnings of £330m in this financial year and £410m in 2015, compared with the £287.9m recorded in the year to July.

Sports Direct leapt to the top of the FTSE 100 Index as the targets impressed investors, although the wider top tier remained in the red with a 3.9 point fall to 6685.5.

Global markets, and mining stocks in particular, have been shaken by weaker-than-expected trade figures from China, which have raised fears about demand from the world's second largest economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average drifted around 25 points lower in lacklustre early session trading.

The pound failed to strengthen after slipping against the dollar and the euro, with interest rates in the spotlight again as Bank of England governor Mark Carney stressed to MPs that rates will only rise gradually given current spare capacity in the economy.

Sterling remained at 1.66 US dollars and 1.20 euros.

Banks were among the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 yesterday, with Royal Bank of Scotland leading declines with a 9.6p drop to 310.2p.

Tesco and Morrisons slipped after industry market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel showed further declines.

Tesco dropped 5.6p to 314.7p after its share fell to 28.7% in the 12 weeks to March 2 - its lowest level in more than nine years - while Morrisons also suffered amid heightened worries ahead of its annual results this week, down 2.9p to 230.8p.

The figures showed its sales declined by 3.2%, leaving its market share at 11.1% compared with 11.8% a year earlier. Analysts expect the struggling chain will report a 13% drop in underlying profits to £787m.

But Sports Direct was enjoying better fortunes with its 4% or 29p hike to 839p, while a number of other retail stocks were also on the front foot.

They included high street stalwart Next, which added 150p to 6745p as investors geared up for its annual results next week.

Rolls-Royce rose for a second session in a row after Friday's news that the engine giant is to buy Daimler's stake in a power controls joint venture formerly known as Tognum. Shares lifted 1%, or 9p, to 1052p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Sports Direct International up 29p to 838p, Aviva 14p ahead at 523.5p, International Airlines Group 10.9p higher at 444p, and Reckitt Benckiser 113p stronger at 4953p.

The biggest FTSE 100 fallers were Royal Bank of Scotland down 9.6p to 310.2p, Johnson Matthey 92p lower at 3096p, Barclays off 5.9p to 236.2p and Antofagasta 18.5p down at 840p.

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