Why Debenhams Plc, AMEC plc and Homeserve plc Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today

The FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) is barely moving today, up only one point to 6,741 just after midday, with sentiment pretty evenly balanced between the Federal Reserve’s mildly upbeat prognosis for US economy and slightly disappointing American jobs data.

There’s not much moving in the way of individuals shares today either, but we do have a few pieces of news. Here are three shares getting a boost:


Debenhams shares picked up 3.75p (4.6%) to 85.3p after Sports Direct International snapped up a 4.63% stake in the high-street department chain in a surprise move. Sports Direct, founded and run by Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, paid almost £50m for its stake.

Debenhams shares had been on a slide since October, with a feared uninspiring Christmas trading period largely coming to pass, and the firm’s P/E valuation had dropped to just over 10 based on August 2014 forecasts. Maybe Sports Direct’s interest will help rejuvenate the company.


Shares in AMEC (LSE: AMEC) gained 21p (1.9%) to 1,100p during the morning, after the engineering and project management company told us of a provisional agreement to acquire Foster Wheeler, an international engineering and construction firm based in Reading.

The deal is worth approximately £1.9bn, and will be settled half in cash and half in AMEC shares. AMEC chief executive Samir Brikho said he expects to see “double-digit earnings enhancement in the first twelve months“.


Homeserve (LSE: HSV), the emergency home maintenance firm that has been under investigation for alleged mis-selling, has finally learned the possible outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation — a proposed fine of £34.5m.

The penalty is considerably higher than had been expected, with Homeserve having previously set aside just £6m. But the shares did gain 5.4p (1.9%) on the news, to 287.9p, presumably because the markets really dislike uncertainty. The level of the fine includes a 30% early-settlement discount, and Homeserve will now “engage in discussions with the FCA to finalise the notice“.

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Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Debenhams and has recommended shares in Homeserve.