FTSE bounces back as pound slips
Deliveroo’s shares slid to an all-time low after rival Uber Eats announced plans to expand its service to Germany in the coming weeks, ramping up competition among food delivery firms. While the news doesn’t have direct implications for London-listed Deliveroo, which withdrew from Germany in 2019, “it’s a reminder that there are deep-pocketed competitors in this industry,” Berenberg analyst Sarah Simon told Bloomberg. Uber’s senior vice president of delivery, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, told the Financial Times that Germany would be “strategically important”. Shares in Deliveroo, which have had a hard time mustering up gains since listing at the end of March, flopped 9.8p to 233p, extending declines to 40pc below its listing price. Joining the fallers was fellow food delivery service Just Eat Takeaway, which dropped 214p to £77.16, marking it down as one of the worst performers on the benchmark. Germany is one of its most lucrative markets. The wider market pared some of Tuesday’s declines, though the FTSE 100 failed to bounce back up above the 7,000 level as it rose 35.42 points to close at 6,895.29. The FTSE 250 shed 22.82 points 22,085.73. Tobacco giants British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands rebounded 44p to £27.36 and 32.5p to £14.98 respectively. It followed a slump on Tuesday for both stocks on the news that the Biden administration is considering tougher curbs on cigarettes. Healthcare, however, was an outperformer of the day. According to Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets, “a positive read across from US medical devices company Intuitive Surgical” sent medical equipment manufacturer Smith & Nephew to a more than two-month high and to the top of the FTSE 100. It added 52p to £14.66. Drug maker AstraZeneca advanced 126p to £76.20 after India’s Serum Institute said it would sell its vaccine to private hospitals at $8 (£5.70) per dose. Among others in the pharmaceuticals sector, Hikma Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline were in the top 10 winners on the benchmark. Ladbrokes parent Entain rose 36p to a fresh all-time high of £16.63 after BetMGM – a US joint venture with the Las Vegas casino operator – said it was targeting net revenue of $1bn in 2022. It also said it expects the US sports betting market to be worth $32bn, more than previously expected. The US venture is the largest “iGaming” operator – online casinos and bingo – and the second-biggest sports betting firm behind FanDuel, which is owned by FTSE 100 rival Flutter Entertainment. Shares of Flutter rose 20p to £146.95. Meanwhile distribution and outsourcing firm Bunzl weighed on the top flight, down 80p to £24.24 despite saying it expects “robust” revenue growth for 2021. It reported a 1.4pc rise in underlying revenue for the first three months of the year.