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The International Gaming Exhibition, the most comprehensive and international business-to-business (b2b) gaming exhibition on the world stage, got underway in Earl's Court yesterday.
It's one of the most important dates on the calendar for any company active in the online, mobile, betting, bingo, casino and street gaming sectors.
They just have to be there to show their wares and hopefully drum up millions of pounds worth of business.
Whispers from the exhibition suggests that Gibraltar-based PartyGaming (1.8p easier at 190.6p), which is soon to merge with Austrian gaming group bwin to become the world's largest gaming group, has pulled off a coup on the first day of the three-day event.
It has signed a lucrative b2b deal with one or even two Big Daddy US casinos - Boyd Gaming, MGM, Las Vegas Sands and Caesars - to provide them with an online poker platform for the US market when it is finally regulated.
PartyGaming has often said it will be ready to re-enter the US games online market via such agreements once regulation allows, in the state or federal level.
New Jersey and California are two states that have made progress towards online gambling regulations.
Leisure analysts believe other states will follow and companies such as PartyGaming will gain some of the licences. The US is the top online gaming market in the world.
Many European players, including PartyGaming, withdrew form the market after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was created in 2006.
PartyGaming have since settled a legal dispute with the US and is raring to return to the US once regulations are installed.
Rival online gaming group 888 Holdings shed 1.75p to 47.75p. It has yet to strike a deal with US authorities to give it immunity from prosecution over its activities in America prior to the industry being outlawed in 2006. Nevertheless, it has been holding prolonged takeover talks with Britain's biggest bookmaker, Ladbrokes, 0.7p off at 130.3p.
The odds on an early rise in UK interest rates lengthened considerably following shock news of a 0.5pc contraction in fourth-quarter gross domestic product, much worse than the positive 0.5pc that the market expected. The Footsie lost an initial 20 point gain to trade 39 points lower before closing 'only' 26.14 points down at 5,917.71.
Charles Davis, economist at the Cebr, said: 'The data point to a complete loss of momentum-in the recovery at the end of the year. It is too early for the Bank of England to be thinking about interest rate rises despite inflation remaining above target. We expect rates will remain on hold at 0.5pc until 2012 and have not ruled out additional quantitative easing as fiscal tightening takes hold in earnest this year.'
Luxury goods retailer Burberry strutted its stuff with a gain of 33p to 1063p. It recently forecast full-year profits at the top end of market expectations after beating analysts' expectations with a 27pc leap in third-quarter revenue.
Finally convinced that the recent hefty share price rise has been nothing more than a mega bear squeeze ahead of next week's results, punters sold online grocer Ocado 11p lower to 227.6p. Rumoured bidder Wm Morrison dipped 2.9p to 264.7p.
Growing concern about the UK economy and continuing fears about a possible major government upheaval of the banking sector left the part-nationalised Lloyds Banking Group down a further 1.9p to 63.14p.
Despite bullish comments from broker Oriel Securities, Taylor Wimpey cheapened 1.38p to 35.89p. The broker recommends TW and is overweight on the housebuilding sector. It believes 2011 will be a more stable year for the UK housing market than 2010. Without the distractions of a General Election and a Comprehensive Spending Review it reckons a sense of normality will return to the market.
A positive trading update showing a robust order book worth £12bn and a growing new business pipeline valued at £6bn, helped Babcock International climb 8.5p to 579.5p. Investec has a sum-of-the-parts target price of 650p a share.
Forbidden Technologies added 3.5p at 33.5p after signing an agreement with global systems integrator Ericsson which will allow Ericsson to build Cloud services running Forbidden's FORscene video editing platform.
Plus-quoted Oracle Coalfields jumped 8pc to 10.625p. The coal developer and explorer has a 1.4bn tonne coal resource of lignite coal in the South Eastern desert of Singh Province, Pakistan. Interest in the stock has increased because of the potential Indonesian coal export ban and the floods in Australia.
Hand-held computer group Psion lost 5p to 94.5p after warning that it will post an operating loss for 2010 because of foreign exchange losses.
The board forecast that operating losses would be in the region of £1.5m to £2.5m but it remains confident of strong growth in the current year.
It also reported that French software services group Atos Origin had placed a €1.2m order for its rugged Workabout Pro 3. (Credit: Google News, Wires)
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