Market Report: Footsie hopefuls lead way as trade remains a trickle

SHARES enjoying a sporting chance of joining the exclusive Footsie club made much of the stock market running yesterday.

The committee that decides the composition of the FT-SE 100 share index is due to meet this week. With the FT-SE 350 index and the FT-SE Mid index likely to make their appearance in the next week or so, it could be the last time the committee's Footsie deliberations have much impact on share prices.

But, as if to recognise the committee's 'swan song', the shares of the five groups regarded as likely Footsie newcomers moved ahead. The expected casualties turned in a mixed performance.

Without, of course, any help from the perceived recruits, the index ended 10 points higher at 2,372.2. But with trading down to the merest trickle the index's performance was of little relevance. According to Seaq, only 299.8 million shares were traded, almost the lowest this year.

There were just 15,106 bargains. Such a dismal start to the account sent shivers through the market. It is clear that many securities houses have over the past year quietly trimmed their wage bills by allowing (encouraging?) staff to drift away.

If turnover stays for long at its present low ebb, the days of wholesale sackings by the big groups could return and many smaller stockbrokers could be forced to close their books.

The low level of investment interest has been compounded by the Stock Exchange authorities' seeming indifference to the plight of small companies. The decision by SG Warburg to stop market-making in the shares of 362 small companies merely emphasised the yawning gap between leading shares and the third and fourth liners with its implications for turnover.

Of the pathetically low volume, Footsie members accounted for 135.8 million shares. The rest was represented by the much-maligned non-Footsie stocks.

A little more imagination towards the smaller quoted companies could possibly redress the seeming inexorable march towards the despair of the bulletin board.

De La Rue, the specialist banknote printer that is seen as a likely Footsie constituent, rose 11p to 565p. Bowater, the packaging group, another candidate, was effectively higher at 755p allowing for its dividend payment.

Others up on Footsie hopes were Standard Chartered, TI Group and Warburg.

Among the expected casualties, British Aerospace rose 6p to 219p, Hillsdown Holdings 6p to 104p, Pilkington 2p to 91p and Royal Insurance, allowing for its dividend payment, was almost unchanged at 148p. The insurance broker Willis Corroon fell 3p to 158p.

The German weekend pledge not to raise interest rates made little impression. The continuing pressure on sterling was the more telling influence.

Downgradings still left their mark. UBS Phillips & Drew lowered its forecast for MFI, the flatpack furniture group, from pounds 75m to pounds 60m, knocking the shares 6p to 102p.

Medeva, the drugs group, improved 17p to 198p ahead of today's interim figures.

Dalgety put on 4p to 388p as the story gained ground that it was about to sell its baking and milling side.

Hepworth, the building materials group, fell 20p to 243p following a Kleinwort Benson downgrade.

But buy recommendations still appear. Kingfisher, the retail chain, rose 7p to 441p as County NatWest and Warburg made bullish noises.

The insurance group London & Manchester fell 9p to 206p in heavy trading. A number of large trades went through, including an agency cross at 202p.

MB Caradon, reflecting the Hoare Govett buy circular, rose 7p to 222p. The oddly named CarnaudMetalbox, formerly CMB Packaging, surged a further 125p to 2,050p, making a two-day gain of 200p.

MB has a 25 per cent interest and it has long been suspected it is a willing seller. The story gripping the market is it has had an acceptable approach. If MB does sell the expectation is that a full bid will be mounted.

Wellman, the engineer, held at 27.5p as aggressive Carlco increased its shareholding by 300,000 shares to 9.85 per cent.

Interest is developing in Gestetner Holdings, the office equipment group. There has been some intriguing trading in the shares, up 1p to 128p yesterday. Ricoh, the Japanese photocopier maker, pumped in cash at 250p a share and is thought to be seeking a closer involvement. Chairman Basil Sellers is a big shareholder and there is talk he will accept an offer from Ricoh.

The bombed-out shares of little Aviva Petroleum jumped 11p to 55p yesterday. The growing involvement of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which converted outstanding interest into shares at 58p, and the expected success of a rights issue are helping sentiment. But the shares have suffered a savage mauling. Earlier this year, after a consolidation, they hit 375p.

Aegis Group, the media buyer, is visiting City institutions this week, no doubt attempting to drum up support for its refinancing, which was criticised by the stockbroker James Capel. The refinancing will strengthen the power of the company's two main shareholders, Warburg Pincus, the US investment bank, and Gilbert Gross. The shares held at 29p

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
people
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
tv
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
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

Compliance Officer - Trading Firm - London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + excellent package & bonus expectations: Real Staff...

Senior Compliance Executive - Top Bank - London

£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: A highly successful Co...

AVP Regulatory Affairs, Global Bank, London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + highly competitive package: Real Staffing: An oppo...

VP Operational Compliance - Global Bank

Highly competitive: Real Staffing: VP - Operational Compliance - Global BankA ...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil