Market Report: Reckitt Benckiser is expected to exercise its great acquisition skills


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The Independent Online

Chatter about new deals for Reckitt Benckiser appealed to the City just as bid hopes were dashed for the medical equipment maker Smith & Nephew.

Analysts at Exane BNP Paribas said the consumer goods giant Reckitt “needs to acquire”, and now that it is about to spin off its drugs business it predicts that Reckitt will utilise “its great acquisition skills and consolidate”. Investors were hopeful, and the shares lifted 10p to 5,190p.

Punters were less keen on the artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew as news that the US firm Medtronic, which had been seen as a buyer of the orthopaedics group, is to buy Ireland’s Covidien for $42.9bn (£25), dashed hopes of M&A action at Smith & Nephew, which slipped 1p to 1,070p.

BT shares were out of favour amid concerns that the regulator Ofcom may crack down on its power in the superfast broadband market. Ofcom is due to publish proposals on pricing for superfast broadband and the outcome could hurt BT’s dominance. Although many thought the reaction was over-exaggerated, the stock still finished the day down 9.4p at 384.9p.

The wider market was in the red again amid continued concerns about the conflict in Iraq. The FTSE 100 was off 23.21 points to 6,754.64.

Commodity and oil groups were buoyed by the strong crude price, with Fresnillo 15p higher at 822p and Tullow Oil 15p better at 856.5p.

The FTSE-250 listed fashion retailer Superdry fell 95p to 905p as some investors wondered if there could be bad news in its July update, while others dismissed the fall as a blip.

The Aim-listed oil tiddler Range Resources spurted 0.14p to 1.7p after it announced an 18 per cent increase in production at its assets in Trinidad.

InternetQ, owner of the Akazoo digital music streaming business, bought the Mexican mobile marketing group UpMobile but fell 1.12p to 275.12p.

Norton Gold Fields extended and raised its offer for the Aim-listed miner Bullabulling Gold to  8 cents, up from 7 cents a share, and Australian-focused Bulabulling glistened 0.25p brighter at 4p.