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
Life and Style
President Obama, one of the more enthusiastic users of the fist bump
science
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
tv
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
News
Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders were pictured embracing in 2012
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli posed for this selfie during AC Milan's 5-1 defeat to Manchester City
sport
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth Games
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + ents
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
Extras
indybestSpice up your knife with our selection of delicious toppings
Sport
sport
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
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

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

.NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

C# Web developer (C#,MVC,ASP.NET,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# Web d...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried