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.




Suggested Topics

Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Telesales Executive - Cloud Software/SaaS - £37,000 OTE

£25000 - £37000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you seeking to furth...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game