Market Report: BT leads the way as Footsie continues its spectacular advance

In just four trading days Footsie has soared 251.6 points, probably the most spectacular advance ever witnessed.

Yesterday, with BT leading the charge, the index rose 72.9 to 5,317.1, yet another peak. Trading was heavy with Seaq turnover nearly hitting 1.2 billion shares. BT and Northern Rock were responsible for around one- third of the action. Supporting indices made modest headway but it was very much a blue-chip party with, it seemed, more fund managers reluctantly stirring from the sidelines.

The latest upsurge occurred after Gartmore, the National Westminster Bank subsidiary with pounds 47bn under management, disclosed it too was piling up cash, raising its liquidity to 17 per cent. It now rivals PDFM as the stock market's biggest bear.

There is no doubt the madcap autumnal stampede has caught many professionals on the hop. One described yesterday's display as "manic" and many likened the WorldCom counter-bid for MCI to the excesses of the last bull market when Saatchi & Saatchi attempted to win Midland Bank and little engineer Benlox audaciously bid for Storehouse.

Still there is a strong view that even at its seemingly heady level the market is still not overvalued and there is room for further headway.

The emergence of the new bid for MCI had BT shares buzzing, largely on hopes it will be forced to return more cash to shareholders via another special dividend.

At one time up 46p they closed 32.5p higher at 442p. Seaq put turnover at a remarkable 159.4 million, indicating arbitrageurs were still playing heavily.

If BT is tempted to walk away from MCI the market believes it would renew its efforts to take over Cable & Wireless. Its earlier attempts failed but did dial C&W to more than 600p. The shares jumped 33p to 560.5p on the prospect of renewed attention.

Others to enjoy the BT buzz included Orange, up 9p to 230.5p, and Vodafone, claiming more than 4.6 million customers, 13.5p at 346p.

Colt Telecom, offering cut-price services, was another enjoying a busy line, drawing additional support from regulatory moves to increase competition. The shares rose 36p to 506.5p. They were sold at 275p in December.

Besides the telecom excitement the market drew strength from a rampant performance by Government stocks, higher by up to pounds 1.25, and a strong New York display with the Dow Jones Average topping 8,000 points.

Shell had another active session with NatWest Securities drawing attention to its lack of sparkle compared with British Petroleum; the shares flared 23p to 476.5p.

Northern Rock could not have chosen a better day for its debut. In heavy trading it ended at 463p against a 451.9p auction price.

Other financials were hitting the high spots with Barclays up 47p to 1,721.5p and National Westminster Bank, selling its Australian fund management side, 16p to 952.5p. Leading retailers, such as Kingfisher and Marks & Spencer, were in the money on hopes they will benefit from the Northern Rock windfall.

Supermarkets, however, were in retreat and after its recent run Storehouse succumbed to profit taking.

Cookson, the industrial materials group, was firm at 252p after a dinner hosted by Henderson Crosthwaite; Dairy Crest, meeting analysts, held at 275p.

Viglen, the Amstrad spin-off, jumped 16p to 79p on its Microsoft agreement and Trace Computers firmed to 71.5p as MMT Computers threateningly lifted its stake to just over 10 per cent. Circuit board maker Prestwick hardened 2p to 32p after aggressive mini-conglomerate TT moved to 8.43 per cent.

Ennex International gained 2p to 38p following encouraging tests on its zinc project in Kazakstan.

Johnston, a builder, fell 22.5p to 302.5p after a profits downturn. London & Edinburgh Publishing managed a 0.5p gain to 5.5p; it reported an interim loss.

Graystone, an engineer, held at 40.5p. Melton Medes, the vehicle of entrepreneur Nathu Puri, has acquired 500,000 shares and now has 4.95 per cent. Standford Rook, after Tuesday's collapse, was up 25p at 175p.

Suggested Topics
News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
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

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

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...

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