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Sports Direct tumbles on court ruling over documents

Sports Direct tumbles on court ruling over documents

Shares in Sports Direct (SPD) have tumbled after a High Court judged ordered the retailer to hand over documents to the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as part of the accounting regulator's probe into its 2016 results.

Shares in the retailer fell 7.4% to 333.3p, having fallen as low as 328.9p in the immediate aftermath of the ruling.

The FRC has been investing Sports Direct's 2016 results for two years, focusing on the relationship between the company and Barlin Delivery, reportedly owned by John Ashley, the brother of Sports Direct chief executive Mike.

Mike Ashley dominates the shareholder register of Sports Direct, holding 61.5% of the share capital. Fund managers have been reluctant to back the stock, which has been mired in controversy over its use of zero-hour contracts. The shares have lost more than half their value over the last three years.

Among the few with a significant stake is hedge fund group Odey Asset Management, which holds 5.2% of the shares.

William Littlewood holds 2.3% of his Artemis Strategic Assets fund in the company, while Citywire A-rated Andy Brough has 2.9% of his Schroder UK Mid 250 fund in the stock.

Sports Direct rival JD Sports (JD) meanwhile jumped to the top of the FTSE 250, up 5.5% at 514.2p after reporting a 19% jump in first-half earnings.

On the FTSE 100, Ashtead shone, up 4.7% at £23.88 as the tool hire company said it would beat full-year forecasts, following a 20% jump in first-quarter profits.

That bucked a falling FTSE 100, with the index 43 points, or 0.6%, lower at 7,236.

Among 'small-cap' stocks, Debenhams (DEB) jumped 7.4% to 12.4p, up from yesterday's all-time low, as the retailer said it was not actively pursuing store closures.

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