Market Report: All lines lead to a boost for Cable and Wireless

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The Independent Online
LINES are buzzing over Cable and Wireless. The shares rose a further 19p to 463p as the stock market attempted to absorb a variety of stories about the telecommunications giant.

As hopes of lower interest rates resurfaced to give the FT-SE 100 index an unexpected 38.5-point boost to 3,136.3, Cable was one of the star performers.

A buy recommendation from Barclays de Zoete Wedd and an upgrading of the shares of Cable's 57.5 per cent-owned Hong Kong subsidiary by Goldman Sachs, the US investment house, were two of the main influences. Goldman moved its stance from underperform to moderate outperform.

But the market was intrigued by stories of an investment presentation, thought to be at Credit Lyonnais Laing, which was said to indicate that the group's one-2-one mobile telephone sevice was winning customers from Vodafone (down 2p at 535.5p).

Adding to the excitement are the suggestions Cable will eventually reap rich rewards from its Chinese links and is considering demerging its Mercury telephone operation.

Profits in the year ended March are expected to come out at about pounds 1,050m, up from pounds 824m.

Elsewhere the latest shaving of the marginal German interest rates created hopes that they will cut key rates today. A German reduction would go some way to countering the expected US increase, seen as likely to extend to a half a point.

The interest rate cheer filtered though to utilities which also drew strength from the mild report on British Gas, at one time up 15p but closing 11.5p stronger at 296.5p. SG Warburg was one investment house keen on the shares.

NatWest Securities helped to generate interest in electricities. It put forward East Midland - which attracted support in other investment quarters following its dramatic shake-up - Midland, Norweb and Seeboard as its prime selections.

A Goldman Sachs buy programme, said to be worth pounds 100m, was another influential factor. The market was also inspired by a strong New York opening and a recovery in worldwide bond markets. government stocks were firm.

Lasmo had an active session, with Seaq putting volume at 7.1 million. US funds are beavering away. Hedge funds are thought to have increased their shareholdings at a time bidder Enterprise Oil is wooing US investors. Enterprise rose 3p to 447p; Lasmo 2.5p to 151.5p.

Rank Organisation enjoyed Warburg support, up 7.5p to 415.5p, and Hoare Govett gave a helping hand to Abbey National, up 8p to 421p, and TSB, 6.5p firmer at 219.5p.

Royal Bank of Scotland, reporting today, rose a further 12.5p to 440.5p.

Forte, up 7.5p to 232p, attracted a Nomura buy recommendation, and J Sainsbury rose 5.5p to 391.5p as James Capel offered bullish comments.

Suggestions of a shareholder revolt at Euro Disney left the shares 10p lower at 333p, a 1994 low.

It is said that some shareholders are upset by the terms of the group's refinancing package.

Pearson's alliance with the BBC was good for a 28p gain to 650p and Pilkington's talks to sell its insulation side left the shares 3p lower at 190p.

Simon Engineering edged ahead 2p to 128p as Warburg placed the rump of its rights issue at 124p. The take-up was 92 per cent.

British Aerospace moved to 476p, up 2.5p, as it started a two- day presentation to analysts. But conglomerate Wassall fell 2p to 317p on Hoare 'top slice' advice. Hanson warrants were heavily traded, ending 1.25p higher at 36.75p; the shares rose 4p to 268p.

The Do It All reshaping left Boots 3p higher at 556p and its partner WH Smith down 9.5p to 506.5p. RMC, owner of the Great Mills DIY chain, fell 4p to 874p in sympathy.

Brown & Jackson, the Poundstretcher retail chain, tumbled 1.25p to 5p as Gerald and Vera Weisfeld claimed the company was in breach of contract by supporting rival bidder, Pepkor, the South African retailer.

ML Laboratories jumped 18p to 234p on talk of a new licensing deal; Wembley remained in the takeover frame, adding 1p to 13p. Talk continues that US vulture funds are hovering; the famous stadium's preference stock rose 2p to 45p.

Greenway, the oil recycling company created from Kingston Oil & Gas, fell 4p to 88p. Director Raymond Chambers has sold his holding of 2.1 million shares (11.06 per cent) at 87p.

Ingham, the car parts group, remained at its year's low, 114p. The shares have slumped from 160p since the once high-flyer, born out of a wool-spinner, warned in March that profits would not be up to expectations.

It said, however, it would increase its year's dividend to 5p a share from 4.75p.

My Kinda Town, the theme restaurant chain with such names as Chicago Rib Shack and Henry J Bean, created a stir when it made its market debut. The shares, placed at 10p, closed at 14.5p with an 11 million turnover. The nil-paid rights ended at 4.5p in a remarkable volume of 73 million. The company, created by fast-talking American Bob Payton, has 30 outlets.

.Stockbroker James Capel is looking for a high-speed profit performance from Casket, the clothing firm that has become Britain's second-largest cycle maker and has moved into Germany. Analysts Roger Hardman and Ben Britz expect profits of pounds 3.7m for the year ended in March, up from pounds 2.9m. This year they look for pounds 6.2m. The shares, at 54.5p, are regarded as a buy.

The FT-SE 100 index climbed 38.5 points to 3,136.3 and the FT- SE 250 index 11.2 to 3,753.3. Turnover was 728.9 million shares with 26,793 bargains. The account ends on Friday with settlement on 23 May.

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