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
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk