Market Report: Vodafone talked up by bullish broker notes

In a pallid blue-chip index, there were very few winners as weak US economic growth data had investors running for cover. Vodafone, the mobile telecoms group, was one of only a handful of stocks to close in the black as a raft of broker upgrades saw the shares close 1.5p better at 134.25p.

The sector has been given a new bout of momentum by strong results from France Telecom, which includes two large mobile businesses, Orange and Auna. Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Dresdner Kleinwort all published bullish notes on Vodafone yesterday, although Citigroup warned its clients not to buy the shares in the hope that the company will sell its US wireless business to its partner Verizon. Dresdner was the most bullish, giving the shares a price target of 165p.

The chances of a takeover at the building materials group Hanson now look slim after Cemex, the Mexican cement group, launched a A$12.8bn (£5.2bn) offer for its Australian rival Rinker Group. Traders had been hoping that Cemex would follow up the 2003 acquisition of RMC with a bid for Hanson. Shares in Hanson fell 33p to close at 711p. News of a further slow down in US housing also did the stock no favours.

In the wider market, London shares were unable to hang on to early gains as US GDP figures showed the slowest rate of growth for three years. The FTSE 100 index closed 23.9 worse at 6160.9. Major pharmaceutical stocks AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline continued to attract strong selling after Thursday's disappointing news on new drugs, with Astra another 123p weaker at 3,139p and Glaxo off 41p at 1,410p. The broker Credit Suisse cut its forecasts for both firms.

There was a flight to safety with utility stocks all benefiting from the weakness in racier growth stocks. International Power added 3p to 334.5p, Scottish & Southern Energy climbed 22p to 1,321, and Drax Group added 18p to close at 804p.

Rathbone Brothers, the stockbroker and fund management group, fell 28p to 1,155p, on profit-taking and a negative read across from the Evolution Group's profit warning. Shares in Rathbone have been stuck in a trading range for the past six months, but it looks like a recent breakout on the chart is not going to signal a strong end-of-year run. Meanwhile, Evolution's surprise warning, five weeks after it declared it was on target to meet expectations, knocked the shares back 4.5p to 127.5p.

Despite the collapse of bid talks earlier in the week, Morgan Crucible is finding good support among analysts. Citigroup became the latest broker to make positive comments about the ceramics group, reiterating its "buy" recommendation and upping its target price to 295p from 260p. Shares in Morgan Crucible edged 2.5p better to 263p.

Premier Oil was high on the list of mid-cap risers after reports in Italy suggested ENI, the national oil company, is among those considering making a bid for Premier. So far there is no firm indication as to who might be in talks with the company, although early suggestions that Shell are the bidders appear to have subsided. Shares in Premier surged 34p to close at 1,310p, but the word in the market is that a bid could take the shares as high as 1,400p.

If the government in Uzbekistan gets its way, Oxus Gold's days could be numbered. Amanstaytan Gold, in which Oxus has a 50 per cent stake, has been charged $220m (£116m) in back taxes. Oxus's share of the bill, $110m, is roughly 30 per cent more than its market capitalisation. Needless to say, it is appealing against the ruling, but in what is likely to be a long process investors are unlikely to drive the shares higher. The stock closed 6.25p worse at 9.5p.

Tanzania Gold has been strong over the past few sessions and ended the week 8.5p firmer at 56.5p. The word in the market is that a drilling report, due to be announced next week, will be substantially better than previously forecast. However, with the shares almost 50 per cent better over the course of the week, the results will need to be spectacular if a bout of profit-taking is to be avoided.

D1 Oils, an AIM-listed producer of biodiesel, has been the subject of a handful of takeover rumours in the past. Talk of a 300p takeover offer sent the stock 18p better to 192p, but speculation that the oil giant BP might bid for the company found little support.

There was a good first day of dealing for Matchtech, a specialist technology recruitment group, after it raised £22.2m of new funds through a placing by the broker Arbuthnot Securities. The shares were placed at 310p, giving the group a market capitalisation of £76.1m. The stock closed at 344.5p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf plays a World War II soldier in forthcoming drama Fury
films

Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Sport
football

Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday

Life and Style
The final 12 acts will be facing Simon Cowell, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, Mel B and Louis Walsh tonight
fashion

The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell

News
news

Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home

News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

£18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

£60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past