Hopeful US investors power Vodafone to new peak

MARKET REPORT

Vodafone, the mobile telephone group, is dialling the best stock market numbers. With enthusiasm continuing to grow about the cellular radio market - and the nagging suspicion the group will attract a US take over bid - the shares zipped to a new 272.5p peak, up 7p.

The company already has a large US fan club, with more than 40 per cent of its shares thought to be held by American investors who are attracted by the relatively low rating of its shares compared with similar US telephone groups.

The latest share upsurge is thought to reflect continued US buying. But trans-Atlantic influences do not enjoy exclusivity to the Vodafone line.

The group has met institutional investors in recent weeks and a number of UK stockbrokers have waxed lyrical about the shares. NatWest Securities has suggested Vodafone is the fastest growing FT SE constituent and indicated the price should be 300p. Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull is another bull of the shares.

Since being split from Racal Electronics seven years ago Vodafone has been as low as 78p.

The rest of the stock market tended to laze in the summer sunshine with the FT-SE 100 index climbing 5.5 points to 3,470.6, with encouraging inflation figures overshadowing a poor New York opening.

Currency influences again had an impact. Inchcape's recovery continued with the shares up 7p to 353p; Grand Metropolitan, enjoying the added ingredient of investment presentations, was 5.5p higher at 418p.

P&O rose 12p to 565p as SGB Warburg suggested the shares had fallen too steeply but Amersham International dipped 11p to 988p as NatWest trimmed its profit forecast. BSkyB, the satellite television group, rose 2.5p to 345p on its results but Pearson, confirming its intention to sell its stake, fell 11p to 622p.

Shell gained 6.5p to 734p on Goldman Sachs support while Enterprise Oil slipped 5p to 371p as speculation resurfaced it is planning to sell its 9.8 per cent shareholding in former bid target Lasmo.

Scottish & Newcastle rose 6p to 607p. Director Trevor Hemmings sold 250,000 shares at 601p and now has 18.4 million shares. Mr. Hemmings is a big shareholder in Farringford, the shell company where rumours of a deal are going the rounds. Morland, capturing Unicorn Inns in an pounds 11m deal, lost 5p to 545p. Regent Inns, the unsuccessful bidder, was also marked down 5p, to 475p.

Building shares remained weak with the prospect of another housebuilder sale, BICC's Clark Homes, increasing the already deep gloom in the industry. Tarmac and, it is thought, Trafalgar House already have their house building businesses on the market.

Glaxo Wellcome was a shade easier following negative comments about its Retrovir AIDs drug in the influential New England Journal of Medicine. The journal apparently suggests Retrovir is having little effect in early treatment of the disease. Such a finding is not surprising following earlier investigations. Retrovir, however, represents only 3 per cent of Glaxo's turnover. Zeneca ran into further profit-taking after its recent strong run, falling 15p to 1,107p.

Hanover International arrived on the hotel pitch. Against a 100p offer price the shares closed at 125p. The company is the creation of Peter Eyles, son-in-law of the late Sir Maxwell Joseph, creator of Grandmet. Mr. Eyles - former head of the Norfolk Capital hotel chain - is expected to embark on a rapid Hanover build-up, acquiring hotels for shares. It has already acquired the 98 bedroom Imperial Hotel in Cork from Bridgend, which holds 47 per cent of Hanover. Bridgend held at 15p.

Brockbank, a Lloyds managing agency, arrived on AIM, climbing 5p to 205p. The group, which takes in the Admiral direct insurance operation, achieved profits of pounds 3.5m in the first half of its current year. Gowring, the car dealer which also operates Burger King fast food outlets, rose 3p to 86p. The family-controlled group has climbed from 67p since the start of last month.

Halkin, the luxury goods and duty free group, held at 63p. Williams de Broe believes profits this year will hit pounds 5m with pounds 6.2m likely in the following year. It believes the shares are cheap.

Intercare, with pounds 7m of cash and net assets worth 55p a share, should achieve profits of pounds 2.2m this year, believes Greig Middleton. The group has sold its optical division and now produces wheelchairs and distributes medical products. The shares stuck at 62p.

Canadian Pizza, awaiting take over developments, fell a further 6p to 89p. The shares have lost all but 3p of their gain following last week's announcement that a bid approach had been received.

DATA BANK

FT-SE 100 3470.6 +5.5

FT-SE 250 3870.4 +7.9

FT-SE 350 1730.8 +2.9

SEAQ VOLUME 593.7m shares, 23,000 bargains

Gilts Index 93.04 +0.15

TAKING STOCK

o Enviromed, the medical group, shaded to 39p. Its directors are due to meet next week to consider a bid from its management and an unidentified third party. With talk in the industry that UK and US bidders are circling, the terms will come under close scrutiny. The company was floated at 110p two years ago. Its shares crashed when it issued a profit warning in June.

o It was just like the Irish oil bonanza of the 1980s. Petroceltic, traded on the Irish exploration market, jumped 9p to 39p (after 41p) as stories buzzed of a big gas find off the coast near Cork. According to some reports flares had been seen from the shoreline; others said they had been spotted from aircraft. Petroceltic remained silent but the Irish resources community is convinced it has made a rich strike.

SHARE PRICE DATA

THE INDEPENDENT INDEX

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

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...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'