Shares in Entain rose after an American fund doubled its stake in the gambling giant.

Dodge & Cox, which also invests in pharma giant GSK (up 0.7 per cent, or 9.4p, to 1405p), France’s Sanofi and Google owner Alphabet, increased its holding in the Ladbrokes and Coral owner from 5.01 per cent to 10.33 per cent.

Having first bought into Entain in September last year, the San Francisco-based investment firm is the second-largest shareholder behind The Capital Group Companies. Shares added 1.6 per cent, or 14.8p, to 934.4p.

Dodge & Cox’s fresh investment came after the blue-chip firm last week reported its online gaming revenues fell 6 per cent in the three months to the end of September.

Entain also took a £45million hit from punter-friendly football results in October.

US fund Dodge & Cox, which also invests in GSK, France’s Sanofi and Google owner Alphabet, increased its holding in Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain from 5.01% to 10.33%

US fund Dodge & Cox, which also invests in GSK, France’s Sanofi and Google owner Alphabet, increased its holding in Ladbrokes and Coral owner Entain from 5.01% to 10.33%

The FTSE 100 remained virtually flat at 7,417.76 but the FTSE 250 fell 1.3 per cent, or 236.37 points, to 17747.47. 

European stock markets were a mixed bag as recession fears lingered around the eurozone and investment bank JP Morgan warned that equities will come under pressure amid a cocktail of economic woes.

Back in London, Prudential flagged a recovery in Hong Kong’s economy. 

The insurance group, which focuses on Asia and Africa, said sales shot up 40 per cent to £3.55billion in the nine months to the end of September while profit increased 37 per cent to £1.69billion. 

Shares inched up 0.02 per cent, or 0.2p, to 899.6p.

Melrose was on the march after the firm, which spun off its automotive business in April into a stand-alone company called Dowlais (up 0.7 per cent, or 0.8p, to 108.95p), signed a £4billion agreement with the aircraft engine supplier GE Aerospace. 

Stock Watch – Ten Lifestyle Group

Shares in Ten Lifestyle Group gained 7 per cent, or 6p, to 93.5p as business looked set to boom next year.

Its platform offers luxury lifestyle services from travel to dining for private members and corporate clients.

It extended two large contracts that are both worth between £2million and £5million. 

Ten also landed two deals which are each valued between £250,000 and £2million.

And the fifth agreement it announced was a small contract less than £250,000.

The deal will expand the pair’s long-term partnership and see Melrose become more involved in the after-market support of GE’s GEnx engine. Shares surged 3.5 per cent, or 17.2p, to 507p.

Ocado’s Retail and Technology Solutions divisions are benefiting from a recovery in ecommerce shopping and inflation easing, according to the Bank of America.

As a result, the broker reinstated its coverage with a ‘buy’ rating and target price of 850p.

Shares, however, slipped 2.3 per cent, or 12.2p, to 530p.

Another firm flying high was Easyjet after the data regulator dropped its investigation into a hack in 2020 that affected millions of the budget airliner’s customers.

It was also lifted, along with the rest of the industry, by strong results from Ryanair. Shares gained 1.2 per cent, or 4.8p, to 396p.

Harland & Wolff – the Belfast shipyard that built the Titanic – won a contract worth £8.5million from the recycling firm Cory to build ten barges that will be used to transport waste. 

This is in addition to the deal the pair signed last year to construct 23 barges for £18.1million. Shares rose 3.5 per cent, or 0.5p, to 14.75p.

Kitwave, the wholesale business which sells and delivers everything from fresh food to alcohol and tobacco to convenience stores, restaurants and leisure centres, said its annual results should meet market forecasts following a strong financial year.

And its boss Paul Young, who co-founded the group in 1987, will step down following the next annual general meeting in March.

He will be replaced by the chief operating officer Ben Maxted.

Shares dropped 5.7 per cent, or 15p, to 250p.

Oil tanker maintenance firm Gulf Marine Services raised its profit forecasts for this year and 2024 to reflect increased business opportunities. That lifted shares 4.2 per cent, or 0.53p, to 13.1p.

But there was little cheer for Aptamer after the biotech firm warned first-half revenues will be lower than the year before. 

Shares slid 11.1 per cent, or 0.15p, to 1.2p.

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