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Bookmakers see stock rise as investors bet they made a few quid as England crash out of World Cup

On top of England’s semi-final heartbreak, the bookmakers will also have benefitted from some of the pre-tournament favourites – Germany, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Belgium – all coming up short
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A Croatia win on Sunday could be the icing on the cake for the bookies

Bookmakers saw their stock rise on Thursday as investors bet they made a few quid as England crashed out of the World Cup at the hands of Croatia last night.

If history has taught us anything, it is to not back the Three Lions, but after a few decent performances and ‘It’s coming home’ memes popping up all over social media, there will no doubt be a lot of people who dipped into their pockets to stick a tenner on England.

READ: England expects: ITV boosted by World Cup viewing surge hope, reported Societe Generale upgrade

On top of England’s semi-final heartbreak, the bookies will also have benefitted from some of the pre-tournament favourites – Germany, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Belgium – all coming up short. A Croatia win on Sunday could be the icing on the cake for the bookies.

That was the hypothesis that the market seemed to be working as FTSE 100-listed Paddy Power Betfair plc (LON:PPB) shares pushed 2.3% higher to 8,495p, while Ladbrokes and Coral owner GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC) added 1.5% to 1,100p, and FTSE 250-listed William Hill gained 1.4% at 300p.

Among other stocks, some of those seen as beneficiaries of England’s better than expected World Cup showing continued to rise, with brewer and pubs operator, Greene King PLC (LON:GNK) up 0.6% to 565.8p, while sporting products retailer Sports Direct International PLC (LON:SPD) ahead 2.3% at 427.2p.

Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group noted: “During England’s match against Panama, Greene King sold an extra half a million pints, and the team’s progress past the group stage of the tournament is likely to provide a significant boost to the company’s bottom line.”

READ: World Cup and sunny weather boost Magners owner C&C Group

Meanwhile, on Sports Direct, he pointed out: “It’s worth noting that during the 2010 World Cup, when England faced the USA in the group stage of the tournament, Sports Direct posted its strongest trading day on record, as consumers rushed to buy football-related sportswear.

“This year’s World Cup, in which England has progressed further than in 2010, could therefore also provide a sizeable boost to sales.”

Investors could potentially find out next week how Sports Direct has fared, with hopes for an update on current trading when the FTSE 250-listed group reports its full-year results next Thursday, 20 July.

Broadcast boost curtailed

But ITV plc (LON:ITV) saw its shares drop as England’s semi-final exit dashed hopes for another advertising boost from its coverage of the tournament, with the stock – like the national team – having had a good run during the tournament.

ITV, which is due to publish its interim results on July 25, has previously guided for “broadly flat” advertising growth in the first half and +2% for total advertising.

However, analysts at Liberum said in a recent note: “We think there could be some upside risk to that, in particular, June’s +17% TV growth guidance given the success of the World Cup and the return of Love Island.”

READ: ITV jumps on England World Cup and Love Island viewing figures

Love Island – showing on sister channel ITV 2 - attracted an average of almost 4mln viewers in its opening week compared with 2.2mln in 2017.

A downgrade in rating by Goldman Sachs on Thursday also did some damage to ITV as the US bank cut the UK commercial broadcaster to ‘neutral’ from ‘buy’ citing valuation grounds after recent outperformance.

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