Market Report: Footsie hits another peak in subdued trading

ANOTHER record-breaking session, although it was a far from convincing performance. Many experts felt that with New York seemingly catching its breath the stock market would do well to avoid a sharp downturn.

In the event Footsie strolled to yet another peak, ending 33.1 points higher at 5,751.6, and supporting indices, often in more robust form, hit new highs. This week Footsie has had a remarkable run, climbing nearly 170.

Trading, however, was often subdued yesterday with many investors prepared to sit on the sidelines.

Again financials provided the powerhouse. The takeover stories may be looking tired and bewhiskered but there is no denying they still have a tremendous impact on sentiment. Institutional buying, as well as hopes that shares with Far Eastern connections will continue to recover, are other influences.

Standard Chartered, the best performing blue chip for most of the session, illustrated the recovery attraction. Year's profits, next week, are expected to be flat, down to pounds 855m, as Asia extracts its inevitable toll. At one time up 64p, the banking group ended 45.5p higher at 764.5p.

Only weeks ago the shares were bumping along at 543p, lowest for more than two years. Before the Far Eastern crisis erupted last year they were as high as 1,081.5p.

HSBC, figures on Monday, gained 82p to 1,772p. The shares have moved between 2,347p and 1,366p in the past year.

Other financials buoying Footsie included Schroders, the investment group which hit a 2,170p high, up 100p. The still family controlled group could be a major player in any consolidation and make a tempting target for a range of growth-conscious financials. The non-voting shares rose 66p to 1,865p. Both classes, however, are exceedingly narrow markets and it takes little activity to provoke sharp movements. For example recorded volume in the non voters was only 19,552 shares.

Elsewhere Safeway, the supermarket chain, ignored the threat of a profits warning, gaining 14.5p to 375p and EMI, the showbiz group, responded to a statement that Sir Colin Southgate will continue as chairman, with an 10.5p gain to 494.5p. Jim Fifield remains chief officer of EMI Music.

Rank, the leisure group, reflected its results with a 9p gain to 340p and Bass fell 26.5p to 960p as speculation strengthened that it would emerge victorious in the battle for Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts with an exceedingly rich pounds 1.7bn offer.

Diageo, the wine and spirit giant, fell 10p to 605p as a spokeswomen denied that LVMH had sold any of its 11 per cent interest. Cash-rich Associated British Foods, in busy trading, rose 23p to 630p (after 645.5p) on rumours of an acquisition.

BAA firmed to 561.5p as Robert Fleming described the airport group as "a safe and defensive utility with strong asset backing". Salomon Smith Barney lifted its British Aerospace target to 2,300p, helping the shares 32p higher to 1,880p.

Engineer TI Group held at 490p. Merrill Lynch believes the relative fall over the past six months has been overdone. It expects a recovery shortly. The shares touched 690.5p in October. Difficulties in the group's mechanical seals division have created the unease. Merrill sees group profits of pounds 223m last year and pounds 245m this year.

Profit warnings were again a restraining influence. Albert Fisher maintained its reputation as a perennial under-performer, falling 6.5p to 25.5p as it warned interim figures would be lower.

SHL fell 22p to 291.5p after saying interim results would be little changed. Shares of the recruitment selection company were floated in October at 245p.

Core became the latest drugs casualty, crashing 76.5p to 118.5p after warning that two of its three potential drugs faced delays. Racal Electronic gained 8p to 264p following an investment dinner with Henderson Crosthwaite; Da La Rue, the security printer, managed a modest rally after Thursday's shake out, recovering 17p to 287p.

Sema, the computer group did its admittedly outside chances of joining Footsie no harm at all with a 72.5p gain to 1,910p after clinching a pounds 305m five-year contract to operate the Government's benefits agency medical service.

Card Clear, the payment and fraud prevention group, returned to market after the reverse pounds 24.5m takeover of HTEC, which supplies loyalty systems. Suspended at 47p in January the shares touched 57p, closing at 53.5p.

Uno, a furniture retailer, rose 30p to 230p after a large overhang, thought to be a line of stock owned by fund manager Gartmore, was placed by SG Securities.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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 as ECB finally wield the axe
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

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...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

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