Market Report: Allied Colloids the share of the day as merger rumours a bound

Mergers are being concocted in the speciality chemicals sector, according to rumours, with Allied Colloids the main focus of attention. Dealers could not get their hands on the company's shares quick enough yesterday. More than 14 million were traded, sending the price up 10.5p to 125p.

Frenetic buying and selling has continued unabated since Tuesday night. One transaction saw 1 million change hands at 118p.

And the buyer? Laporte, which said a few months ago it had pounds 450m to spend, appears to be the predatory name in the frame. Jim Leng, chief executive, has finished restructuring the company and could be looking for other activities to occupy his time. Laporte ended down 7.5p at 629p.

The chemicals sector was not the only one to feel some heat yesterday. Fund managers saw some action following the Merrill Lynch pounds 3.1bn takeover of Mercury Asset Management. MAM jumped 380p to pounds 16.75 and pushed other banking stocks higher. Schroders was the biggest Footsie riser, up 140p to pounds 18.15. Of the second-liners, Perpetual, up 240p to pounds 24.75, and M&G, up 160p to pounds 13.35, were in favour. Henderson joined in the action as well, firming 167.5p to pounds 14.40.

There was talk of corporate action at Rentokil Initial, which ended the day 17.75p better off at 256.75p. However, the house broker said the volume of shares traded was not out of the ordinary. Just over 4 million changed hands.

Separately, investors in Royal Bank of Scotland were in the money, with the shares adding 25.5p to 675p after speculation that Abbey National could bid. The bank was also attracting buyers after news of the merger between First Union and Core States in the US.

Vodafone got the right number yesterday after the previous day's losses. The phone company improved 14.5p to 356p after a snowstorm of positive brokers' notes. Lehman Brothers, SBC Warburg, BZW, UBS and HSBC James Capel all issued buy recommendations.

It was a question of number unobtainable, though, for another telecoms company, Ionica. The group fell from grace in a spectacular fashion yesterday, just four months after its July flotation. Ionica led the second-line fallers by a long stretch, crashing 101p to 156.5p after gloomy interim results and news that its network roll-out was to be delayed sparked a crisis of confidence in the management.

Retailers were left on the shelf yesterday after Safeway's profits warning. The company owned up to a downturn in sales which led to dull interim results. Brokers' downgrades followed, and the company led the Footsie fallers to close 64p poorer at 330p. SBC Warburg, Societe Generale and UBS were among those emitting negative noises yesterday.

Other remaindered food retailers were Sainsbury, down 17.5p at 476.5p, and Tesco, 16.5p poorer at 473.5p.

Exporters had a tough time as the pound strengthened on the back of better- than-expected retail sales figures. Among those to feel the pain were TI Group, down 30p at 470p, and Zeneca, off 41p at pounds 17.17.

Rio Tinto, the global mining giant, was a big Footsie casualty as market- makers took fright at the slide in base metal prices and sent the stock down 26.5p to 720p. UBS is among several brokers to have slashed forecasts. The investment house has lopped its 1998 estimates by 9 per cent. Rio is more exposed to copper than its mining peers, so reports of excess supply in the copper market in the past few days have hit it hard. During the first six months of the year, copper accounted for more than one-fifth of Rio's sales.

P&O got becalmed in early trading after news that Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, had cleared its merger with Stena Line but had attached conditions. The two cross-channel ferry companies will have to give guarantees about passenger fares. P&O was as low as 651p at one point but rallied later to close just 2p down at 667p.

Another transport company suffering from a lack of fuel was British Airways, 8p worse off at 555p, after easyJet said it was seeking legal advice about the airline's plans to offer a rival "no-frills" service.

Suggested Topics
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
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

Java/Calypso Developer

£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, ...

Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Web developer (C#, MVC4, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Jquery)

£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...

Senior Automation QA Engineer (Java, Selenium WebDriver, Agile)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Senior A...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment