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UK stock markets lag as losses for gambling giants weigh on FTSE 100

The UK’s stock markets struggled to get off the ground on Tuesday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The UK’s stock markets struggled to get off the ground on Tuesday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The UK’s stock markets struggled to get off the ground on Tuesday as losses for gambling giants pulled on the FTSE 100.

The blue-chip index was down 63.41 points, or 0.76%, to close at 8,254.18.

Flutter Entertainment and Entain were the biggest fallers of the day, with Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter in the midst of moving its primary listing to the US.

It is reportedly facing higher taxes on sports betting across the pond, thanks to a new bill passed in Illinois.

The losses were only partially offset by gains for some retailers, including JD Sports and Ocado, after new figures showed UK shop price inflation had returned to “normal levels”.

British Retail Consortium (BRC)-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index showed that shop prices in May were 0.6% higher than a year earlier, the lowest growth since November 2021.

But experts said it was not clear what was driving a recent surge in Ocado’s share price, which spiked by nearly a 10th on Tuesday.

“Someone clearly thinks there is value in Ocado’s shares given how the stock jumped more than 8% on no news,” said Dan Coatsworth, investment analyst at AJ Bell.

“This follows a strong rally last week, implying that something is going on.

“Whether it’s an activist investor on the register, a return of takeover speculation, or Ocado joining the meme stock craze, it’s not currently clear what exactly is driving the current rally.”

It was a weak session for top stock markets elsewhere in Europe. Germany’s Dax was down 0.48% at close and France’s Cac 40 closed 0.92% lower.

Across the pond, it was a tentative start to trading with the US’s S&P 500 ticking up about 0.1% and Dow Jones down 0.35%.

The pound was up about 0.1% against the US dollar to 1.278, and about 0.1% down against the euro to 1.175.

The price of Brent crude oil was up 0.95% to 83.89 US dollars per barrel.

In other company news, shares in Persimmon dipped amid speculation that the FTSE 100-listed housebuilder is considering a £1 billion takeover bid for Cala Group.

A report in Sky News said that Persimmon was a strong contender to put in a bid for Cala, a rival UK housebuilder.

But investors appeared to be lukewarm about the possibility of a deal, and its share price was 3% lower at close.

Elsewhere, shares in Boohoo edged lower after the fashion retailer said on Tuesday it was ditching to plans to pay a £1 million annual bonus to each of its top bosses.

The company said its executive directors had chosen to waive their bonuses after it reportedly came under pressure from shareholders. Its share price was 0.6% lower at close.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 36.6p to 410.4p, JD Sports, up 6.6p to 128.05p, Intermediate Capital, up 74p to 2,394p, Fresnillo, up 18p to 614p, and Antofagasta, up 65p to 2,311p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Flutter Entertainment, down 1,175p to 14,815p, National Grid, down 10.85p to 189.15p, Entain, down 33.2p to 674p, Persimmon, down 44.5p to 1,436.5p, and AB Foods, down 81p to 2,641p.