MARKET REPORT : Bank of Scotland takeover target draws new queues

Two long-standing bank favourites are intriguing the stock market. Although the sheer exuberance of recent weeks seems to be seeping from many financial shares, Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered are displaying surprising strength. BoS rose 11p to 440.5p, a peak; Standard put on 22p to 1,001p.

The banking twosome is no stranger to take over speculation. BoS has been linked with a host of would-be bidders. Eleven years ago Standard was forced into one of the fiercest banking battles when, with the help of the so-called White Squires, it beat off the attentions of Lloyds TSB.

The Scottish bank has looked particularly vulnerable since its long-time protector, Standard Life insurance group, sold most of its 32 per cent stake last year. The insurer had held the shares for 11 years, buying from Barclays.

The market is convinced an important financial deal is being hatched. BoS, paying pounds 90m for EFT, an asset management company, is seen as a likely candidate and it could be significant its shares, in brisk trading, moved to a peak on a day many bankers were content to remain quietly in their parlours.

Standard is seen as an overseas target. But HSBC, seeking acquisitions, could be interested. It is expected to eventually cut its 61 per cent stake in the Hang Seng Bank of Hong Kong following the Chinese takeover. Standard, with a Hong Kong presence, could fill any gap. HSBC rose 40p to 2,104.5p.

The former building societies that converted to banks were ruffled by J Sainsbury's venture into mortgages. The superstores chain has linked with Standard Life for its loan push.

So on a day Nationwide decided, at least for the time being, to stay a mutual, Abbey National, the first to convert, suffered a 15p fall to 821.5p; Halifax, after a 7.5p gain, had to settle for a 1p fall at 727.5p and Woolwich dipped 2p to 287p. Alliance & Leicester bucked the trend with a 2.5p gain to 600.5p.

The rest of the market ended with modest gains. Early euphoria, following New York's overnight surge, quickly evaporated. After achieving a mid- morning -points gain it was all downhill and Footsie ended with a 27.8 rise to 4,874.5p.

Higher-than-expected June retail sales, strengthening the possibility of another interest rate increase, created the caution.

Tate & Lyle, the sugar group, was another to surrender an early gain. The shares were up 6.5p as a story went round that cash-rich Associated British Foods was preparing to strike. But monopoly considerations make the possibility of such a deal remote. Tate fell back to 429p, up 0.5p, while ABF rose 13p to 571.5p.

Beers produced a few gains but Greene King's progress to a peak of 762p owed more to its growing retail spread than brewing.

Since rolling out impressive interim figures last month the shares have climbed 115p, as the market has warmed to the success of its Magic Pubs Co. The pubs chain, which cost pounds 197.5m, was responsible for much of the 49 per cent profits increase.

Despite more profit downgradings British Airways climbed 7p to 635p. UBS cut from pounds 740m to pounds 580m.

Shield Diagnostic was another which lost early exuberance. At one time the shares were up 40p on its long-awaited deal with Abbott Laboratories. At the close the price was down 17.5p at 550p. Biocompatibles International was another healthcare group to give up gains.

It ended 8.5p lower at 997.5p following a further delay in its licensing talks with Johnson & Johnson, the US giant. Last month the shares were around 1,400p.

Two newcomers made firm starts. Kingfisher Leisure, a theme bar business, finished at 173.5p from a 160p placing and Citadel, a property company focusing on French offices, went to 106.5p from a 100p placing.

Ramco Energy, putting JKX Oil & Gas out of its misery, gained 30p to 1,187.5p. JKX, floated at 190p, rose 3p to 47.5p.

Colleagues, the junk mail business, hardened 16p to 93.5p as a Canadian group, Moore Corporation, made the signalled bid - at 95p. Another cash bid, a 75p affair from Britannia, lifted British Building & Engineering 15.5p to 70.5p.

Pace Micro Systems produced more trading disappointment, falling 9.5p to 53.5p.

Total Systems, the computer concern, gained 6p to 68.5p. MMT Computing has nudged its stake to 5.62 per cent but Total said it was not involved in takeover talks.

Taking Stock

rJulie Ramshaw, the Morgan Stanley analyst who backed Next when it was in the dumps, is still a fan of the group. After a spell at Laura Ashley she recently returned to Morgan Stanley and yesterday let it be known she has put a 12-month 850p target on the shares.

She expects profits this year to reach pounds 191m against pounds 158.8m. Ms Ramshaw first put her faith in Next when the shares were in the penny dreadful category. They are now 732p compared to 13p in 1990.

rSpargo Consulting, the computer services group, nudged interim profits up to pounds 625,000 and with trading running at record levels is set to top the market's pounds 1.45m year's forecast.

The shares rose 2.5p to 114.5p; they were 174.5p earlier this year.

Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again say analysts

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

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

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 ...

IT Operations Manager - London - £55,000

£50000 - £55000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Relationship M...

Day In a Page

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
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past