Market Report: Battered Footsie struggles back

THE BATTERED and bruised stock market struggled off its knees with the Lloyds TSB banking group providing a rare example of blue-chip excitement.

Footsie was at one time up 118 points, closing 55.5 higher at 5,455. It was yet another ridiculous calculation: only seconds before trading ended the index was nursing an 82 gain. Then a number of maverick trades were punched in.

BG was suddenly 30.5p lower at 340p following late deals at 340p and 342p. The spread on the order book was 340p to 366.5p. Most of the trades just ahead of the two mysterious inputs were around the 355p/358p level.

Abbey National was another casualty. The last order book trade, for 8,740 shares, was at 1,006p. Although the final trade, which was off the order book, was at 1,060p, the shares ended 89p down at 1,006p. Another former building society, Woolwich, seemed to be the subject of a miscue above the ruling price. The last order book trade was 343p against around 320p/325p. Clearly the final Footsie calculation should be revised.

Lloyds, up 51.5p to 755p, was the subject of an array of rumours. Since its interim results three weeks ago there has been growing speculation chairman Sir Brian Pitman is nursing a major corporate excursion.

Imaginations are running riot. A merger with HSBC, the old Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation which owns Midland Bank, is one suggestion. Standard Chartered, once a Lloyds target, is another thought to be in the line of fire. And recurring rumours of strikes at former and existing building societies and an array of insurance companies are going the rounds.

Lloyds has made no secret of its desire to grow. And Sir Brian has said: "Nothing would be beyond us. We are one of the biggest banks in the world".

Credit Lyonnais added to the excitement by examining the rationale of a Lloyds/HSBC merger and even raised the possibility that Lloyds, if it cannot agree a deal, could go hostile with a 1,600p a share bid.

HSBC, which has suffered because of its Asian exposure, put on 66p to 1,326p. Besides the Lloyds speculation, HSBC was buoyed by a Morgan Stanley target price of 2,000p and an overnight recovery in Hong Kong, where share buying by, in effect, the Chinese government prompted an 8.5 per cent gain.

The banking excitement extended to Bank of Scotland, up 20.5p to 615p.

The Hong Kong comeback also contributed to Footsie's progress. With Moscow staging a rally and other overseas markets looking more benign, shares were in a mood for progress from the opening bell. Bargain hunters were evident, particularly in early trading.

British Petroleum, still drawing analytical support for its Amoco take over, rose 52p to 854p and Enterprise Oil, on talk it could be prompted into bid action, flared 31p to 449p.

Rumours of corporate action at hard pressed BTR, the conglomerate seeking to become a focused engineer, sent the shares ahead a further 7.75p to 165p. Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, the US break up specialist, is the name in the frame with conjecture it will mount a full bid or settle for a significant stake.

J Sainsbury improved 15.5p to 519.5p. Switching out of Tesco, the subject of a series of modest profit downgrades, and Asda, expected to be cut by ABN Amro, was behind the gain.

Henlys' expected higher bid for Dennis created more activity on the vehicles pitch. Dennis accelerated 47p to 508.5p and Henlys, where Volvo is buying and has so far put together a 3.3 per cent stake, fell 52.5p to 512.5p. Mayflower Corporation, which has made a 450p cash offer for Dennis, held at 177p.

Debenhams, the department stores chain, hardened 7.5p to 324.5p as Dresdner Kleinwort Benson lifted this year's profits forecast pounds 3m to pounds 135m and next from pounds 142m to pounds 147m.

Cammell Laird, the engineer with a major deal in its sights, jumped 65p to 625p and glass maker Pilkington pulled out of its dive, recovering 7.5p to 89.5p. Waverley Mining, three years ago riding at 132p, fell 1.75p to 8p. On Thursday it became clear takeover talks had collapsed. Azlan, the computer group which is considering whether to make a trading statement, lost 2p to 54.5p. The shares suffered after a profits warning from Datrontech.

SEAQ VOLUME: 914.9m

SEAQ TRADES: 52,773

GILTS INDEX: n/a

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'