Market Report: Failed placing takes the shine off Johnson Matthey

As blue chips edged back towards their peak Johnson Matthey, the metals group, lost 15.5p to 465.5p, lowest for three years. A failed attempt to place a large line of stock and rumours a sell circular was about to appear did the damage.

The shares have been in ragged retreat for the past year. A year ago they were riding high at 663p. Then the premium rating began to disappear.

Mildly disappointing interim figures piled on the agony, prompting some analysts to pull back their year's forecasts to around pounds 105m, against the pounds 96.1m produced last time.

The group is a casualty of sterling's strength. But with its catalytic converter in the fashionable area of reducing exhaust emissions and hopes riding high for its electronics materials business, Johnson's fall from grace has surprised some observers.

Year's figures are due soon and the sinking shares suggest acute disappointment is on the horizon.

Footsie ended up 19.8 points at 4,681.6 just 12.3 points off its closing peak. In relatively thin trading financials were again the pace setters as the market continued to anticipate the arrival of Halifax next week and later this month Norwich Union. Financials filled the top seven places on the blue-chip leader board with insurance group Legal & General to the fore with an 18p gain to 481p.

Abbey ended 12p higher at 944.5p after touching 950p and Alliance & Leicester seesawed from a 13p gain to end with a 10.5p fall at 627.5p.

National Westminster Bank missed out, falling 5.5p to 785.5p over worries about a reported link with City Mortgage Corporation, a US lender under investigation. Sun Life & Provincial, said to be eyeing Equity & Law, gave up 8.5p to 314.5p.

Zeneca was another to experience a topsy-turvy day as Roche, the Swiss group, took over a German operation, seemingly ruling out the long rumoured strike at the drugs group. At one time down 31p, the shares rallied to close just 2p lower at 1,876.5p with many of the supporters of the takeover story content to exchange Roche for Glaxo Wellcome as the rumoured predator.

The surprise swing in the French elections was seen as reducing the likelihood of any significant British involvement in the French defence industry, lowering British Aerospace 15p to 1,239.5p and General Electric Co 4p to 354p. Rolls-Royce dived 8p to 242.5p as the Cathay Pacific airline grounded its A330-300 fleet because of problems with its Rolls Trent 700 engines. British Airways, said to be in talks to buy Alitalia, fell 14.5p to 711p.

Some football shares had that "sick as a parrot" look. Sheffield Utd's failure to clinch promotion to the Premiership prompted a 20p fall to 45p; the price topped 100p in February and Southampton's managerial vacuum lowered the shares 11p to 91.5p (against a 151.5p peak). Silver Shield, the windscreen franchise group, put on 0.75p to 3.5p on talk it was planning a deal involving Swansea City.

Imperial Chemical Industries firmed 4.5p to 798.5p as Salomon Brothers suggested a 12-month target of 900p but BTR, the hard-pressed conglomerate, had another uncomfortable session, falling 8p to 209p, a 12 month low.

Boots, reported to be planning a pounds 400m share buy-back or special dividend, added 12p to 725p. A signalled share buy back at EMI failed to overcome disappointing figures and the shares finished 48.5p down at 1,172.5p.

BBA, the engineering group, came in for a speculative run, ending 8.5p higher at 329.5p; American Port Services was another said to be on a predator's strike list, gaining 10p to 162.6p.

Shell jumped 20p to 1,209.5p, largely on hopes any Government tinkering with ACT would not hit its dividends because of the need to retain the payment relationship with the group's Dutch side. Among the oil tiddlers Emerald Energy confirmed it had been awarded extra exploration acreage in Colombia. The shares firmed 0.25p to 5.25p.

Celltech's sceptic shock drug disappointment continued to weigh on the shares, off 13.5p to 334p. Interim figures are due today. Cortecs International put on 4.5p to 217p as Nomura said buy with analyst Nick Woolf producing a 420p target.

The Savoy Hotel low-voting "A" shares stretched 15p to a 1,597.5p as speculation continued that Granada was near to clinching a deal with the Wontner family which controls the group through the powerful "B" shares.

A favourable trading statement lifted watch maker Dailywin 11p to 79.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas