Market Report: Bank rumours come to defence against Gas fall-out

The British Gas fall-out continued to blitz privatisation shares as the stock market fretted about the likelihood of further regulatory interference.

But talk a big banking deal was near helped steady sentiment and the FT-SE 100 index ended with a 20.5-point gain to 3,759.7.

Once again Gas dominated the proceedings, with Seaq printing turnover at 84.3 million shares. The price dipped to 191.5p, closing 6p off at 195p.

National Grid lost 6p to 186.5p, lowest since December's flotation. The shares represent a sorry spectacle for stockbroker James Capel, which in a controversial and still to be fully explained deal, took on its books 12.5 per cent of Grid from Hanson at 192p. It has since managed to unload some of the shares but the popular guess is that it is still uncomfortably sitting on around 11.3 per cent of the company.

The deal has, at least to some extent, been hedged by Capel through a link with Olayan, a Saudi Arabian company.

BT plunged to new 12-month lows, off 7p at 326.5p, and electricity and water shares were other casualties of feared regulatory zeal.

The English generators, however, were in a cosy world of their own. PowerGen, at one time down 9p, ended with an 8p gain at 547p.

It has wasted no time selling its 80.3 million Midlands Electricity shares for pounds 353.4m - a pounds 69m profit. Buyers are the US bidders that moved in after PG's offer was blocked by Whitehall.

The generator, however, added spice to its share sale by bringing forward its yearly results to today. On the basis that good figures are much easier to add up than poor ones and are often bought forward the market immediately sensed that PG will have an exceedingly happy tale to tell, with the strong possibility of share buy-backs and special dividends.

National Power glowed on the back of its rival. At one time down 10p, it closed at 527p, off just 2p.

Banks were in fine form. The decision by Standard Life to review its 32.2 per cent shareholding in Bank of Scotland got minds whirling about other banking possibilities.

There has for some time been talk of a big deal in the sector. BofS dutifully gave up a little of Monday's gain but Royal Bank of Scotland, planning a round of US presentations, jumped 18p to 538p and Standard Chartered 16p to 624p.

Barclays, on continuing stories that it intends to hive off its investment arm, improved 14p to 762.5p.

Stores were helped along by an encouraging review which prompted stockbroker Mees Pierson to lift its target price for Dixons to 600p. The shares rose 12p to 490p.

Supermarkets continued their advance with Asda 2.25p higher at a 12-month high of 117.75p and J Sainsbury 9p firmer at 387p.

But Wickes, the building materials retailer, had a tough time, falling 7p to 119p. Merrill Lynch seems to have done the damage, selling 12.5 million shares taken on at 114p on Monday at around 117p/118p.

Wolseley was the best-performing blue chip, up 18.5p to 476.5p, with Kleinwort Benson positive.

Meyer International, up 5p at 453p, continued to attract takeover talk and a newcomer to the bid frame, Appleyard, the car group, edged ahead 1p to 106p.

Innovations, a direct sale business, firmed 13p to 195p on suggestions that a proposed management buy-out will be scuppered by an outside bid.

Drugs were weak, with British Biotech off 110p at 2,845p, and Celltech lost 23p to 635p. Cantab Pharmaceuticals, raising pounds 25m through a share placing, was firm at 673p.

British Steel was the subject of conflicting advice. SBC Warburg said sell, cutting this year's forecast from pounds 725m to pounds 645m. Kleinwort lifted its forecast from pounds 650m to pounds 700m and recommended holding the shares, off 4p to 179.5p.

Growing hopes of a link with American Airlines lifted British Airways 85p to 543.5p. Figures are due next week.

Profit warnings crippled Wace, a printer, 44p to 223p and publisher Hodder Headline 36p to 224p.

Southend Property gained 3p to 45p on its Australian involvement but Tepnel Life Sciences lost 7p to 74p following an agency cross at 74p.

Irish resource shares were enlivened by Dublin talk of takeover action. Ivernia West added 2p to 91p and Navan Resources 8p to 224p.

Tullow Oil was firm at 94p on bid hopes.

Thomas Potts, a printer, is the latest to take AIM, closing at 10p against a 5p placing.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
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

Programme Planner

£30000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

HTS GBM - KDB Developer, Kx Q Query Language, £750

£650 - £750 per day: Orgtel: Senior Analyst Developer (KDB/QKx plus Java and F...

Infrastructure Test Lead

£55000 - £60000 per annum + bonus + bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Our c...

Messaging Support Consultant

£40000 - £45000 per annum + bonus + bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Messa...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor