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AA hit by injury time stall in promotion quest

British motoring darling the AA snatched defeat from the jaw..

British motoring darling the AA snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, as it is set to narrowly miss out on a return to Londons mid-cap index.

Shares in the breakdown firm skidded over seven per cent today taking the firm out of contention for an automatic promotion back to the FTSE 250. Last week, the AA appeared to be in pole position for a speedy return after it was ejected from the index earlier this year.

But with more than £70m wiped off the firms market value since last Tuesday, the firm moved out of contention when the movers and shakers are confirmed by stock exchange authorities later tomorrow.

Online retailer Ocado and Ladbrokes Coral owner GVC are to be promoted to the FTSE 100 with the worlds largest security firm G4S and Mediclinic International making way.

Read more: Future looks bright for Ladbrokes Coral as GVC takeover approaches

Marks & Spencer last week faced relegation from Britains blue-chip index for the first time in over 30 years. The firm was hovering around 100th place but with only two companies placed in 90th place or above – guaranteeing automatic promotion – M&S is to hold onto its place in the Londons premier index.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf said M&S had held on "by the skin of its teeth".

"Reshuffles happen every three months though, so this is a stay of execution rather than a full pardon," he said.

M&S boss Steve Rowe is promising transformation and has been candid in admitting its a lengthy road ahead. However, the pace of disruptive technological change means making M&S special again is a moving target, and management are taking aim from a long way out.

Read more: M&S pledges quicker action on store closures after profits slump


Returning to mid-cap changes, Woodford Patient Capital Trust – an investment trust run by star fund manager Neil Woodford – will be booted out of the FTSE 250.

Electronics engineer Laird is to be promoted alongside newly-listed IntegraFin, the holding company for investment platform Transact.

AAs market value has almost doubled since hitting all-time lows in March. Markets were spooked last year with the shock departure of boss Bob Mackenzie amid brawling allegations. Investors subsequently took a dim view of the firms plans to reposition itself, prompting another sell-off earlier this year. But a decision by a leading credit agency not to downgrade the firm subsequently buoyed investors.

A formal announcement on the reshuffles will be made after markets close on Wednesday evening. The changes will be made effective from close of business on 15 June.

Read more: Woodford sells multi-million pound stake in the AA

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