Footsie follows New York's surge in hectic trading


At long last the stock market, perhaps only briefly, is clinging to New York's coat-tails. Another determined transatlantic surge, lifting the Dow Jones Average to a peak, was for once given a favourable reception rather than the surly indifference which has so often greeted high-powered US share displays.

Footsie jumped more than 50 points to within a few points of its high, hit on the final day of last year. Despite its sudden display of strength it is still lagging a long way behind its New York counterpart.

One of the mysteries of the 1990s, at least in the eyes of market followers, is the yawning gap which has opened between the blue chip share measurement of New York and London.

In the past few months there have been attempts to explain the gulf by describing New York as grotesquely overvalued and suggesting it is sure to suffer a corrective slump today, tomorrow or sometime soon.

As if defying gravity the stretched New York stock market, said to be overheated by Alan Greeenspan, the US banking chief, has continued to romp ahead and was again hitting new peaks during London's opening.

Tokyo's misfortunes in the past few days have made little impact; even so the overnight rebound was welcomed and added to the market's confidence.

The latest Whitehall statistics and the mixed bag of festive trading statements combined to strengthen the belief that interest rates are likely to remain unchanged after this week's Ken and Eddie meeting.

Footsie closed 50.7 points higher, its best one-day gain since November, at 4,107.3, just 11.2 below its record level. Trading was again often hectic with turnover, for the second consecutive trading day, topping 1 billion shares.

Banks, oils and power shares led the charge. The market view is that anyone with reasonable intelligence should be able to successfully run a bank these days and it seems the merest flip of encouragement can produce sharp price movements.

So Credit Lyonnais Laing support lifted Bank of Scotland 11.5p to 30.8.5p and Royal Bank of Scotland 11p to 568.5p. Abbey National, Barclays, National Westminster and even often-overlooked Lloyds TSB also moved ahead.

Oils remained under the whip of takeover speculation and the firming oil price. Weather forecasts pointing to some cold spells, particularly in the US, kept the crude price bubbling and action over Clyde Petroleum was enough to alert the market to the possibility of more takeover action. Lasmo was again strong, up 7.5p to 251p. Cairn Energy, however, had its own agenda. Its latest deal with the Bangladeshi authorities lifted the shares 36p to a 521.5p peak.

On the generating front National Power surged another 14.5p to 493p and PowerGen edged ahead 5.5p to 601.5p. Awaiting the seemingly inevitable strikes, Southern Electricity rose 7.5p to 786.5p and Yorkshire Electricity 4p to 799p.

Festive trading statements had predictable impacts. A flat discourse from the Whitbread brewing and leisure group eroded the shares 21.5p to 740p; Next, with the now expected upbeat statement, put on 12.5p to 541.5p.

Currency influences again undermined some, such as Siebe, the engineering group, off 13.5p to 1,014p. Besides currency worries RMC, the building materials group, had to contend with the recent run of poor weather, leaving the shares down 16p at 887.5p. A profit warning from civil engineer Birse late on Friday claimed a 5.5p fall to 19.75p.

Lloyds Chemists fell 1.5p to 525p as UniChem retired from the bid battle, leaving the way clear for Gehe, the German group. Unichem added 13.5p to 269.5p.

Cable & Wireless, on worries about its cable build-up, shaded 4p to 465.5p but Cookson, on Barclays de Zoete Wedd and NatWest Securities support, rose 3.5p to 251p.

Legal & General, the insurer, had another rousing session, up 14.5p to 393.5p. M&G, the unit trust group, rose 31p to 1,230p.

3i, the investment group gained 3p to 498.5p, a peak, as Barclays, one of its it original shareholders, sold its remaining stake, 2.1 per cent, at 490p. The pounds 59m deal produced a pounds 42m profit for the banking group.

Gieves, the clothing group, fell another 2p to 47p following its profit warning and criticism of its involvement in the Knickerbox lingerie chain.

Westmount, the oil explorer, rose 2p to 47.5p. It has pumped pounds 344,000 into Desire Petroleum, seeking oil and gas around the Falklands, and placed 325,000 shares, raising pounds 130,000.

Taking Stock

Darby, a specialist glass group holding at a 117.5p peak, is trading well but remains a favourite takeover target. It said in the summer it had received approaches but denied it was then involved in takeover talks. Pilkington, Saint Gobain of France and the US PPG group are among the groups linked with Darby. Its interim profits emerged at pounds 880,000 and around pounds 2.25m is expected for last year. The current year could produce pounds 3.5m.

Troubled Lionheart, being developed as a bathroom accessories company by new chief executive Mark Flatman (ex-Courtaulds Textiles), has attracted increased backing from Schroders. The investment group, perhaps averaging down, has picked up 4.6 million shares, lifting its stake to 19.49 per cent. The price gained 0.5p to 8.25p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games