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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect