City fails to unmask Chiroscience's secret admirer

MARKET REPORT

Investors spent most of the day trying to find out who, if anybody, was behind the near 10 per cent share-price rise in Chiroscience, the biotech babe which has attracted several broker's buy notes in the last week.

A round-up of the likely suspects yielded few results. Glaxo-Wellcome, reporting first half figures today, denied it was interested, SmithKline Beecham effectively ruled itself out by saying British biotech companies were too risky to buy outright at this stage in their development while Zeneca declined to comment.

Glaxo itself was the subject of buy recommendations from Societe Generale and NatWest and the shares closed 10p higher at 899p. Chiroscience, who said it had not received any firm approach from anybody, topped the list of FT-SE 250 riser, chalking up a 35p gain at 365p.

Among the drugs tiddlers Phytopharm initially gained 6p to 205p before ending a penny higher as the group sought UK approval for its eczema treatment.

Leisure was again a lively sector following confirmation that Whitbread had made a recommended pounds 133m offer for branded restaurants group Pelican. Whitbread dipped 3p to 686p on the news, but Pelican soared 22.5p to 167.5p. Shares in other restaurant chains rose in sympathy, with City Centre Restaurants advancing 4.5p to 120.5p, Pizza Express closing 6p better at 399p and Canadian Pizza 5p to the good at 88p.

Disappointment that Whitbread had not gone for pubs group Tom Cobleigh knocked its shares back 12p to 210p. A similar fate befell JD Wetherspoon, another themed pub operator, which fell 11p to 864p.

Leading leisure stocks had another good run. The Rank Organisation headed the list of blue-chip risers, adding 10p to 470p on a SBC Warburg buy recommendation. New chief executive Andrew Teare is expected to unveil details of a strategic review of the leisure group next week. Food and drinks giant Allied Domecq filled the number two slot, rising 9p to 438p as Merrill Lynch upgraded from reduce to neutral. Allied is in the process of selling its 50 per cent stake in Anglo-Danish brewer Carlsberg-Tetley to Bass, 2p weaker at 779p.

It was a busy day on the buses. In a chunky 74 page review of the industry, NatWest concluded that diversification by the quoted operators into rail privatisation and overseas expansion offered "tremendous opportunities" and should lead further strong share price performance.

Stagecoach hit an all-time high of 482p, 9p higher on the day, as the broker urged investors to add to their holdings. First Bus, unchanged at 144p, received the same recommendation.

But news that the President of the Board of Trade, Ian Lang, had referred National Express' proposed acquisition of the Midland Main Line rail franchise to the Monopolies and Merger Commission sent the shares into reverse. They shed 12p to 443p after Mr Lang said the company was not prepared to give the undertakings he had sought about withdrawing some parallel coach services and encouraging competition.

Mr Lang was more generous towards promotional printer Bemrose, whose pounds 24.2m acquisition of diary group Charles Letts will not now trouble the regulators any longer. Shares in Bemrose remained unmoved at 340p.

British Airways had a turbulent session. The shares cruised to 526p at one stage after MPs backed its proposed link-up with American Airlines. But minutes before the market closed USAir said it had filed a lawsuit against BA and American alleging that they are seeking to undermine its competitive position and limit competition on transatlantic routes. BA eventually closed unchanged at 518p.

Among media stocks, Pearson fell 18p at 606p on reports of possible delays in the sale of its Westminster Press division and likely cost-overruns for retuning video recorders ahead of Channel Five's launch next year.

United News & Media was also neglected, down 20p at 629p on concern that it may pay too much for Westminster if it becomes involved in an auction for Pearson's unit.

NatWest fell in afternoon trade after announcing first-half results at the top end of expectations. The bank's buy-back of its own shares at 626p pushed the price 12p lower at 616p.

The daily drip-feed of new issues on AIM largely went down well. HIT Entertainment, the children's animation group, closed at a 26p premium to its 163p placing price, but West 175 Enterprises, the US television production company, dipped 5p to 120p.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

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

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
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