MARKET REPORT: Investors flee IAG after hackers steal credit card details of BA passengers


Investors fled airline owner IAG after hackers stole the credit card details of hundreds of thousands of British Airways passengers.

Shares slumped as bosses admitted criminals had pinched enough information about customers’ credit card details to use them.

British Airways faces a possible £500m fine over the data breach which affects 380,000 cards, as well as huge compensation pay-outs.

It is one of the most serious cyber-attacks on a UK company and follows an IT disaster last year which interrupted British Airways flights. Shares fell 1.35 per cent, or 9.2p, to 672p.

Investors seemed nonplussed about reports that buyout firms are eyeing up train operator First Group.

The operator of the Great Western, South Western and Transpennine railways is attracting interest from CVC Capital Partners and others, Bloomberg reported, with deliberations at an early stage.

First Group, which dumped boss Tim O’Toole in May as it slid to a £326m loss, rebuffed interest from US private equity Apollo Global Management earlier this year.

Liberum analysts were enthused. With a buy rating on the stock, they said: ‘We see an opportunity to bridge the gap between First Group’s market-leading positions and its sub-par financial performance.’ But shares were off 1.2 per cent, or 1.15p, to 94.8p.

Online retail financial trading platform Plus 500 took a tumble after one of its biggest shareholders, the gambling software developer Playtech, dumped its holding of around 10 per cent, raising around £176m to help pay debts.

A day earlier the founders of the company – Alon Gonen, Gal Haber, Elad Ben-Izhak, Omer Elazari and Shlomi Weizmann – sold 9.4m shares to raise £145m, cutting their stake to 8 per cent. Plus 500 shares fell 7.3 per cent, or 118p, or 1490p.

Vodafone’s incoming chief executive Nick Read, along with several top Vodafone bosses took the opposite tack. They splashed out on nearly 900,000 shares for about £1.4m. Read, due to take over in October, spent £248,260 on 150,151 shares, while finance boss Margherita Della Valle spent £297,913 on 180,182 shares.

Vodafone shares have been under pressure in recent months but spiked during the summer upon rumours that feared activist investor Elliott was building a stake. Management’s vote of confidence helped shares climb 0.8 per cent, or 1.26p, to 165.26p.

The FTSE 100 dropped to its lowest level for more than six months at one point during the morning as the pound leapt on reports of progress in Brexit negotiations.

Investors were also worried about the potential of more US tariffs on UK goods, and economic data set to come from America. The index closed down 0.6 per cent, or 41.26 points, to 7,277.7.

A sell-off in emerging markets isn’t troubling asset manager Ashmore. Finance boss Tom Shippey said investors wanted to take advantage of weak prices, telling Reuters: ‘There’s no real sign of panic.’

Assets at the end of June climbed to £57 billion, up 26 per cent on a year earlier. Shares rose 1.4 per cent, or 4.8p, to 350p.

Astrazeneca also ticked up after announcing that one of its asthma treatments had been given ‘breakthrough therapy’ status by the US Food and Drug Administration, speeding its passage through the US approvals process. Shares rose 0.3 per cent, or 15p, to 5650p.

Meanwhile, the World Cup and the heatwave helped brewer and pub owner Greene King to a bumper summer. It sold 3.7m pints of beer during England’s seven World Cup matches, with sales on the day of the semi-final against Croatia up 61 per cent compared to the same day one year ago.

Shares rose 7.5 per cent, or 35.6p, to 510.6p yesterday.



Source link