Entain weighed on the FTSE 100 as the index struggled to make headway and was down by the time markets closed on Tuesday.
The gambling company dropped nearly 12% as US casino giant MGM Resorts decided to walk away from a potential takeover bid for the Ladbrokes owner.
It made the company by far the biggest faller on London’s top index, ensuring that the FTSE 100 did not manage to struggle into the green.
But the 7.7-point, or 0.1% ,fall to 6,712.95 was hardly showstopping – joining other lacklustre performances around the world.
The US indices reached heady heights compared to their European cousins with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones gained 0.4% and 0.2%.
But on the continent, the Cac in Paris lost 0.3%, while the Dax closed down 0.2%.
US markets were closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr Day, so Tuesday was the last day of trading in New York before Joe Biden’s inauguration.
On Tuesday, Mr Biden’s new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to lawmakers in the US, as the administration prepares to try to push through a major new stimulus package.
“The backdrop to the session’s trading was Janet Yellen’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee, an appearance that is the initial litmus test for the Biden administration’s stimulus package – a package that has so far failed to set the markets on fire,” said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.
“Cautious after being burned by past experiences, investors appear to be in wait and see mode over the likelihood of the $1.9 trillion deal escaping the Senate intact.”
The pound rose 0.3% against the dollar to 1.3624, and fell 0.1% against the euro to 1.1238. Brent crude oil rose 2.1% to 55.90 dollars per barrel.
Beside Entain, HSBC also announced news, saying that it plans to close 82 branches in the UK, starting from late April. Shares rose 2.1%.
Reassurances that it has seen “exceptional” trading over the key Christmas period did not impress investors in Premier Foods, who sent the company’s shares down by 4.8%.
Superdry got in line for an even worse battering, with its shares dropping 16.3% after raising doubts over its ability to continue as a going concern.
Hammerson was also hit as it revealed that it had only managed to collect 41% of the rents it was owed by the end of 2020. Shares fell 2.1%.
But as the landlord took a hammering, builder Kier soared 9.7% after upping its outlook for the first half of the financial year.
And Hotel Chocolat gained 0.7% after revealing a 19% surge in sales in the 13 weeks to December 27.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Smith & Nephew, up 54.5p to 1,624p, Hargreaves Lansdown, up 43p to 1,600p, HSBC, up 8.45p to 411.45p, Pearson, up 12.4p to 679p, and Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 19p to 1,241p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Entain, down 168.5p to 1,245p, WPP, down 29p to 789.8p, Barclays, down 4.46p to 146.86p, Standard Chartered, down 14.3p to 476.6p, and Flutter Entertainment, down 390p to 14,400p.