City File: Do It All

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The Independent Online
THE MARKET can always be relied on to make one and one add up to at least three. Confronted by rumours that Sainsbury was looking at a large acquisition, dealers incorrectly assumed that the target was Do It All, W H Smith's and Boots' less-than-triumphant DIY joint venture.

Smith shares bobbed up 10p on Friday to close at 453p, despite expectations that interim figures to be announced next week will be less than sparkling, thanks to Do-It-All's problems as the number three in a two-horse race.

Smith's 15 per cent undervaluation compared with the retail sector could soon be history. 'In the past Smith's had an enormous reputation for slipping on banana skins, but they left that behind them with their first-ever rights issue, which was a terrific shock to the company, and they're now much more stable,' said William Cullum, analyst with Panmure Gordon.