market report & shares; Equities manage to banish the foreign exchange blues

The feared crunch failed to materialise. Sterling, as expected, felt the impact of the no-change interest rate decision but shares ignored the currency turmoil, with the FT-SE 100 index closing 9.5 points higher at 3,261.2.

New York's holiday strength, with the Dow Jones Average hitting a new peak, helped banish the foreign exchange blues, which were not as deep as many had expected.

But the stock market remains jittery. Talk the currency crisis has merely been delayed is a nagging irritant that could become much more intense if the pound comes under more pressure. Trading was, however, thin, with many snatching an extra day's holiday. By the close turnover was a modest 467.7 million shares.

Smith New Court remained out of favour. At a time many financials are drawing strength from takeover speculation in the sector, Smith has slipped and slithered from almost 500p. The shares lost another 5p to 419p. Talk of a profit warning persists.

At the interim stage, profits fell from £30.3m to £20.2m. There have been hopes the securities group will achieve about £43m for the year.

The shares have significantly failed to respond to speculation about the destination of Rothschild's 20.1 per cent interest. Schroders has often been mentioned as a possible buyer.

Any such swoop by Schroders would, it is thought, be the prelude to a bid for full control.

SG Warburg remained the centre of attraction, with the shares slipping 5p to 837p. There was intense speculation Swiss Bank Corporation would disclose its bid terms today. But the feeling is growing SBC will not have the field to itself. National Westminster Bank is thought to be hovering, hoping to move in once SBC has shown the colour of its money. Overseas bidders are also thought to be in the frame.

An investment group of Warburg's stature, even if it is having an exceedingly difficult time, is clearly a considerable prize. If, as some suggest, its 75 per cent-owned fund management group, Mercury Asset Management, is kept under the Warburg umbrella, the package become even more attractive. MAM rose 14p to 901p, a year's high.

Body Shop International had another difficult session, falling 6p to 143p. The shares, hit by cautious trading comments, have been as high as 194p this year.

British Petroleum went to a new high, up 8.5p to 464p, on better-than- expected first quarter figures. But three-month results from Unilever left the shares off 24p at 1,212p.

Siebe, the engineer, added 15p to 590p on Barclays de Zoete Wedd support, but GKN gave up 5p to 632p ahead of an analysts' trip today to its Westland helicopter offshoot. The visitors are not, it would seem, expecting particularly bullish comments.

The Chirac victory in the French presidential elections gave the Euros a lift, with Eurotunnel up 9p at 207p and Euro Disney 20p to 213p. CarnaudMetal Box rose 62p to 2,325p. Another with French connections, the packaging and paper group Arjo Wiggins Appleton, enjoyed the extra support of a 22.9 per cent sales advance and the shares gained 7p to 277p.

Hays, the business support group, firmed to 310p. It announced new distribution contracts worth £103m.

The Telegraph gained 7p to 449p. Quarterly figures are due today; they are expected to be accompanied by terms of the Conrad Black bid for full control.

Ladbroke gained 2.5p to 186.5p as the rumour resurfaced it was trying to buy the US Hilton hotels operation. It already controls the international Hilton hotel spread. But any deal would represent a mammoth swallow for Ladbroke and require a heavy rights issue.

Royal Bank of Scotland encountered selling, down 9.5p to 412p. Interim figures are due today. With lower bad debt provisions making a significant contribution, the market expects a surge from £201m to £302m.

The failure of expected developments at VSEL left the shipbuilder's shares down 22p to 1,683p. British Aerospace fell 3p to 531p.

Tadpole Technology had an eventful session, falling 19p to 187p, on a gathering feeling bearish developments were imminent. Trading was brisk, with a run of small selling orders unsettling the market. The company said it knew of no reason for the activity and the stockbroker Albert E Sharp said it remained a strong buyer. Tadpole shares have had a volatile career; they hit 376p last year. Scattered buying lifted Magnum Power 8p to 181p.

Unipalm's remarkable progress continued. The shares rose a further 21pt to 205p. They have shot ahead from 120p in recent weeks. Last week the company said bullish comments from the stockbroker Henry Cooke Lumsden and the development of its Internet secure trading service were, as far as it knew, the only influences behind the strength of the shares.

Donelon Tyson, the civil engineer, gave up 1.75p to 4.25p as administrative receivers moved in at its Tysons Construction offshoot. The group is thought to have cut borrowings from a £19m peak to about £12m.

Frost, the independent garage chain, retreated 6p to 265p on speculation it planned an acquisition that could double its size.


o Forward Group was suspended at 268p, ahead of a £13.5m cash and shares take over. It is buying Exacta Circuits, a maker of printed circuit boards for the electronics industry. On sales of £44.1m last year it achieved profits of £3.4m. The investment group 3i has 23 per cent of Exacta and will emerge as a large institutional shareholder in Forward.

o NatWest Securities remain keen on Waste Management International, up 30p at 300p. But it says the shares will "probably only start to perform when the quarterly earnings per share comparisons are positive once more". WMI has two problem areas - France and Italy - which will not be sorted out until 1997. Profits this year are expected to be £175m with £200m next and £230m in the following year.

Prices are in sterling except where stated. The yield is last year's dividend, grossed up by 20 per cent, as a percentage of the share price. The price/earnings (P-E) ratio is the share price divided by last year's earnings per share, excluding exceptional items.


The Index allows you to access real-time share prices by phone from Seaq. Simply dial 0891 123 335, then add the unique 4-digit code printed next to each share. To access the latest financial reports dial 0891 1233 followed by one of the two-digit codes below.

FTSE 100 - Real-time 00 Sterling Rates 04 Privatisation Issues 36

UK Stock Market report 01 Bullion Report 05 Water Shares 39

UK Company News 02 Wall St Report 20 Electricity Shares 40

Foreign Exchange 03 Tokyo Market 21 High Street Banks 41

Anyone with a tone-dial telephone can use this service. To check if that includes you, call 0891 123 396. For a full description of The Independent Index, including its portfolio facility, call 0891 123 333. For assistance, call our helpline 071 873 4375 (9.30am - 5.30pm).

Calls cost 39p per minute (cheap rate), and 49p at all other times. "Inc VAT"

Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
People walk through Autumn leaves in St James's Park yesterday
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

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits