The soon to be called European TV behemoth, Sky, (-1.2%) complete with name change to make our lives easier, leads the blue chips lower thanks to the 20p dividend coming off the share price today. Having bought out Sky Italia and most of Sky Deutschland, the company now accounts for 20 million customers across Europe and will make itself a major global player in the modern multi-platform digital media world where the battle for content is hotter than it has ever been.
Elsewhere in the media, ITV’s (-0.6%) advertising revenue continues to be a jewel in its crown and comfortably outperforms the market. However, a fall in viewer numbers has been highlighted as something it wishes to work on, with next year’s Rugby World Cup one of the aces up its sleeve. The stock has languished somewhat since its early Autumn highs, and at around 200p it is relatively unchanged year-to-date despite a large trading range throughout the year.
Virgin Money began trading in London this morning with a listing price of 283p, and has behaved in an orderly fashion so far, trading thruppence higher. The shares priced near the bottom of the expected range to give a market cap of £1.25 billion. IG’s grey market had initially called for a higher valuation but tracked lower as we got closer to deadline day and was only marginally higher when the final price was announced. Despite the resurgent equity market of the last few weeks, the IPO market is still being greeted with some scepticism by investors.
US markets will look to Walmart earnings pre-market for a bottom-up look at the economy. Markets there paused somewhat yesterday but with New York Federal Reserve president William Dudley, speaking in Dubai this morning, pointing out once again it is too early for rate rises given such low inflation, equities are still getting help from central bank speakers.
Currently we are calling the Dow Jones to open 50 points higher at 17,660.