Late runs from takeover favourites come to the rescue

MARKET REPORT

If a few old takeover favourites had not come to the rescue the stock market would have presented a sorry sight.

For much of the session it seemed National Grid would, in effect, sum up the display. Regarded as the most boring constituent of the FT-SE 100 index it seemed set to enjoy the distinction of being the best performing blue chip.

It lost out towards the close as sellers chipped at its modest gain and tired old takeover candidates, like Ladbroke and Zeneca, made late runs.

Ladbroke has rarely escaped the bid frame in the past six months and there seems little doubt that a deal is near. Whether it will be a full blown bid is unclear.

At one time Bass was the favourite to strike; then Scottish & Newcastle was dragged into the speculation. It may have been pure coincidence that the latest Ladbroke spurt was accompanied by rumours of a big rights issue with Bass and Scottish among the candidates.

In late trading Ladbroke ticked up 4p to 198p with one deal going through at 199.5p. The shares closed at 196.5p.

Ladbroke's late run continued a pattern which has been established for some months. During much of the session the shares do little but in the final hour or so come to life. The inference, of course, is US buying and it is significant that a deal with the American Hilton Hotels Corporation has emerged as the most likely development.

Ladbroke runs the international Hilton spread; HHC the US hotels. Uniting the two chains has obvious administration and marketing benefits. But there must be some doubt whether such an alliance would be created by HHC bidding for Ladbroke.

One solution could be Ladbroke exchanging its hotels for a large stake in HHC and retaining its betting operations.

Zeneca gained 33p to 1,390p, nursing hopes of takeover action with Roche, the Swiss giant squeezed out of its country's big drug alliance and anxious to expand, the rumoured predator.

Footsie ended 19.7 points down at 3,833.0. Even the supporting FT-SE 250 index ran out of steam. After achieving nine consecutive highs it ended 4 points down at 4,540.1. The downbeat CBI survey and the failure of rumoured bids to emerge were inhibiting influences.

Volume was high, topping one billion shares. Rentokil's raid on BET, collecting 6.8 per cent, was a significant factor; so was heady trading in little Lionheart, a houseware group being reshaped with an open offer and placing raising pounds 4.5m; pounds 4m coming from the sale of its brushes side and Mark Flatman recruited as chief executive from Courtaulds Textiles.

Seaq put turnover at 188 million with one sad little trade going through for the sale of 510 shares at 0.75p. "It must have been a tidying up deal", said one stockbroker. The shares fell 0.75p to 1p.

Pentland, the sportswear group, ran ahead 6p to 112p in brisk trading as word went round it was likely to announce Olympic games sponsorships and tie-ups.

Micro Focus continued its retreat, off 118p at 1,025p, following the failure of the expected bid to appear. But Meyer International, the timber group, jumped 26p to 460p on talk of a bid from Wolseley, off 11p at 464p.

Pelican, the restaurant chain opening its 100th outlet this week, was unchanged at 140p although Whitbread is said to have had a 180p a share offer rejected. Alvis added 2p to 171p on GKN bid hopes.

Wickes, the building materials retailer, shaded to 140p. Mees Pierson, the stockbroker, reports trading has improved since March.

Amersham International jumped 26p to 1,031p as Richard Lapthorne, finance director of British Aerospace, was confirmed as the next chairman.

The decimation of Babcock International's order book by the row between Saudi Arabia and the Government hit the shares 15.5p to 113p. Others with Saudi involvements suffered with BAe off 14p at 864p and Rolls-Royce, despite a successful US analysts visit, 2p to 238.5p.

Mayflower Corporation, the automotive design to bus making group, advanced 4.5p to 112.5p in response to recent analysts visits to its Walter Alexander bus subsidiary.

Industrial Control Services rose 11p to 115p following an pounds 11.4m rights issue at 90p on a one-for-three ratio. The cash goes towards funding its order book running at twice last year's level.

Cafe Inns gained 13p to a 183p peak on its swing from tenanted to managed pubs.

TAKING STOCK

Heading for Ofex is a company created by nine former executives of Inmos, the old Government chip maker. They lived off their redundancy for 11 months and with help from Inmos and grants and loans established Motion Media, which created a video telephone add-in card for IBM compatible computers and has now developed a stand-alone video telephone. Around 1.7 million shares are being sold at 67.5p, raising pounds 1m. Dealings should start within a month. Hawthorne Securities are stockbrokers.

Benfield & Rea, an investment trust investing in Lloyds trusts, held at 110p. There is talk of a bid from a Bahamas group. B&R is run by Benfield Group, the vehicle of Matthew Harding of Chelsea Football Club fame, and merchant banker Rea Brothers.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
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

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?