BT reaches 12-month high despite windfall tax threat

MARKET REPORT

Telecoms dominated the stock market. Nearly every broker in sight seemed determined to dial into BT, and rival Cable and Wireless was engulfed by speculation it planned a major US acquisition.

BT was the heaviest traded share and best performing blue chip, hitting a 12 month high with a 19.5p gain to 461.5p. The market has been impressed by a string of investment presentations, mainly relating to the proposed $20bn takeover of MCI, the US communications group.

The BT share advance has been scored despite Labour threats of a windfall tax and the giant's seemingly endless battles with its industry regulator.

At 461.5p the shares are still below the 486p peak, hit at Christmas four years ago.

The MCI deal, which still has regulatory hurdles to overcome, is part of BT's push for a world-wide role. There is talk that it is planning an alliance with Telefonica, the Spanish group, and yesterday it announce a Japanese joint venture and its involvement in a bid for a Singapore licence.

Cable, up 3p at 509p, is said to have its sights on Sprint, the US group. It was reported to be negotiating with two Sprint shareholders, France Telecom and Deutsche Telecom.

The French denied any talks with Cable, and Sprint claimed a deal with the UK group was not possible under standstill agreements it had with its Continental shareholders. Cable would probably require a rights issue to fund the deal.

It is still negotiating with the Chinese over its control of Hongkong Telecom. The group is expected to cut its HKT stake to nearer 35 per cent in exchange for a prominent role in the development of China's telephone industry.

The rest of the market remained subdued by the election. Footsie ended 24.6 points lower, unable to draw any support from a New York undermined by interest rate worries.

The planned windfall tax continued to weigh on privatised groups with the generators suffering the added discomfort of Westminster calls to give up more generating capacity.

Beer and leisure shares felt the pressure of Labour's proposals for a minimum wage while Bass, off 19.5p to 820.5p, also had to contend with the possibility that the Whitehall probe into its Carlsberg Tetley takeover will be delayed until after the election. First Leisure fell 16.5p to 345.5p.

Associated British Foods, the bread and sugar group, surrendered 5p to 511.5p on persistent talk that it intends to sell part or all of its Irish retailing operations to Tesco, little changed at 334p.

The food producer owns Ireland's largest supermarket operation and also has clothing shops in Eire.

Carpetright had a threadbare session, at one time down 31.5p on worries of a profits warning. But a denial from finance director Ian Sneyd trimmed the fall to 16.5p at 562.5p. Meeting institutions at Kleinwort Benson, he said the market's pounds 33m to pounds 35.5m range was "acceptable" but added analysts at the top should be "more concerned" than those at the bottom.

The twitchiness over Carpetright followed the Limelight fiasco - down another 10p to 97.5p - and the MFI warning.

Cairn Energy's figures and link with Shell provided a 56p boost to 634.5p; Enterprise Oil was back in the frontline with a 16.5p jump to 663p.

Kingfisher bounded 22.5p to 697p on its results but a downbeat Vickers performance left the shares 22p lower at 239p.

Financials had a subdued session. Mercury Asset Management, where suggestions of a Salomon Brothers strike linger, lost 31p to 1,334p and Perpetual was lowered 30p to 2,705p.

Abbey National dropped 17p to 732.5p as Kleinwort and Teather & Greenwood made negative noises.

Stanford Rook, developing a tuberculosis treatment, was the drug casualty. The World Heath Organisation's TB breakthrough sent the shares crashing 120p but at the close they were down 40p at 515p. Xenova, on its trading link with Zeneca, jumped 80p to 435p; the shares came to market at 215p in December.

Stagecoach was again shunted lower, retreating another 34.5p to 689p on its trains embarrassment.

Parity, the computer group, shaded 6.5p to 533.5p as HSBC's investment bank sold one million shares. It found a rich profit irresistible. As Samuel Montagu it backed a management buy-in led by Philip Swinstead four years ago. The price? Just 60p. The bank sold at 527p a share and still has a 2.3 per cent interest.

Kenwood, the kitchen appliance group, rose 11p to 148.5p as bid speculation resurfaced.

Taking Stock

Hay & Robertson, the merchandising group, fell a further 3.5p to 124p. Last month the shares were 178.5p. The slump is surprising close followers of the company, which has trading links with Rudd Gullit, Terry Venables and the Football Association.

There are suggestions interim profits will match the last full-year's pounds 613,000 and the company's stockbroker, Wise Speke, is thought to be near to producing a buy circular

Cementone, the paint and wood preserving group, put on 4p to 52p, best for 12 months. The interest was created by talk of corporate action. Entrepreneur Andrew Perloff is deeply involved but the biggest shareholder is Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya; he is thought to be a likely seller of his 34 per cent stake.

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
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

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on