MARKET REPORT: Chairman’s £1m vote of confidence in THG

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The chairman of The Hut Group has scooped up nearly £1million worth of shares three months after joining the struggling business.

In a vote of confidence in the online retail group, former ITV boss Charles Allen bought 1.15million THG shares for 86p each.

The City heavyweight, 65, joined THG in March as founder Matt Molding sought to strengthen the board and regain confidence in the stock market.

Vote of confidence: City heavyweight Charles Allen (pictured) joined THG in March as founder Matt Molding sought to strengthen the board and regain stock market confidence

And he hopes buying the shares will prove to be a wise move given the collapse in value.

THG listed at 500p per share at the end of 2020. The stock quickly peaked at 800p but has been in free fall ever since.

However, in a sign that some observers still believe they might be worth more than they currently are, THG has been attracting takeover interest in recent weeks.

Last month the company rejected a 170p per share offer valuing it at £2billion from Belerion Capital and King Street Capital, saying the price ‘significantly undervalues ​​the company and its future prospects’.

Real estate mogul Nick Candy is also rumored to be interested in taking over the company behind brands such as Lookfantastic and Myprotein. Any future takeover could leave Allen sitting on a healthy profit.

But the buying did little to help THG shares in the short term, and they fell 4.6%, or 3.9p, to 81.32p towards the end of trading.

In the third consecutive day of gains, the FTSE 100 rose 0.9%, or 65.09 points, to 7323.41 and the FTSE 250 edged up 0.17%, or 32.32 points, at 19,351.27.

Stock Watch – Amigo

Troubled Amigo has laid out plans to resume lending after a two-year hiatus marred by claims it mis-sold loans.

Shares of the lender rose 0.9%, or 0.05p, to 5.35p higher yesterday after announcing plans for new loan products under a different brand.

Amigo spent around a year fighting for its survival in court amid a deluge of customer complaints over unaffordable loans.

The company now plans to market new loan products.

Global stocks appeared to welcome news that China would reduce its Covid quarantine period to seven days for overseas visitors. In Europe, the French CAC increased by 0.64% and the German DAX by 0.35%.

But across the Atlantic, the news was grimmer as Jefferies said the United States would fall into recession next year.

Given the valuation, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.56%, while the S&P 500 lost 2.91% and the Nasdaq Composite slumped 2.98%.

Back in London, the top index was supported by investors looking to profit from defense stocks.

Rolls-Royce gained 6.5%, or 5.33p, to 87.14p and BAE Systems added 3.5%, or 28p, to 826.6p. And mid-cap defense firm Babcock climbed 6.2%, or 18.8p, to 320p.

Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said: ‘As warnings come in ever faster from military leaders of the threat to peace in Europe, defense spending is expected to take a toll much larger part of government budgets in the future.

With commitments to rapidly increase the number of troops on alert, the requirement for military equipment will be higher and this will help to increase the price of action of defense contractors.

Blue chip energy stocks also helped lift the FTSE 100.

As oil prices rallied towards $120 a barrel, shares of Shell rose 3.1%, or 64.5p, to 2,177p and BP rose 1.4%, or 5.45p, to 397, 05p. Shares of Harbor Energy, which has operations in the North Sea and Southeast Asia, added 3.3%, or 11.9p, to 375p.

The easing of Covid rules in China also helped boost Asia-focused insurer Prudential, sending shares up 4.3%, or 43.5p, to 1,052.5p. The same was true for mining stocks as Glencore added 1.7%, or 7.5p, to 460.25p, Rio Tinto rose 2%, or 99p, to 5150p and Anglo American climbed 0.7 %, or 23p, to 3156.5p.

AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold said it could be a sign that strict Covid measures could be relaxed in the future.

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