Market report: Footsie scores a record points gain

A DASH of takeover action and more indications that interest rates should have peaked produced a much-needed boost, with Footsie scoring a record gain.

Even New York contributed. The Clinton factor was ignored as the overnight charge was followed, at least during London hours, by a resolute display.

Footsie's 181-points advance was, in blunt figures, its best-ever performance. It took the index to 5,648.2. But in percentage terms, the gain failed to achieve the records books. Indeed Footsie's best-ever one-day advance was achieved as the stock market recovered from the traumatic 1987 crash when, in one session, the index gained 7.32 per cent.

The previous record gain was scored last September when Footsie rose 160.8 following a newspaper story that the Labour was preparing to soften its stance on the EMU.

Some of the supporting shares joined the romp. But the small cap index was once again down in the dumps, falling 1.6 to 2,319.7.

The agreed pounds 744m bid from Friends Provident for London & Manchester reawakened takeover speculation in the insurance sector, and when the pounds 110m US offer for recruitment group Robert Walters appeared, the stock market was reassured that corporate activity had survived the market slump since Footsie peaked last month.

Robert Walters jumped 96.5p to 375p following a share exchange offer from StaffMark.

L&M, up 91.5p, hit the 600p bid price with the market hunting for possible counter bidders. Britannic, off 1p to 1,214p, was one name in the frame.

Expectations of other insurance deals lifted the likes of Norwich Union, 35p to 460p, and Prudential Corporation, 26.5p to 776.5p.

The market's progress was achieved in often brisk but by no means spectacular trading. Besides New York's exuberance and a suggestion of firmness in Tokyo, the market was inspired by the inflation figures and a surge in tax revenues.

Kingfisher continued to reflect the Credit Suisse First Boston support, gaining a further 35.5p to 489.5p. Granada was helped by Merrill Lynch, up 51p at 884p, but Reed International fell 9p to 514p as Schroders said sell, citing the group's diversification into electronic publishing as a reason for anxiety.

Drugs were on a high. SmithKline Beecham rose 40.5p to 733.5p and Glaxo Wellcome 62p to 1,970p (that often denied merger refuses to die), and Zeneca, as Swiss giant Roche dropped more hints about expansion, put on 128p at 2,340p.

National Power again drew inspiration from speculation of a Nomura-led consortium bidding pounds 85bn, surging 27p to 580p. But Thistle Hotels, where Nomura has apparently walked away after lowering its offer, fell 48p to 168p.

Vaux, the Sunderland brewer with what is regarded as highly-prized hotel interests, fell 10.5p to 308.5p in sympathy.

Jarvis, the construction and rail maintenance group, failed to hold an early gain, ending 4p off at 564p. Warburg Dillon Reed initiated coverage with a buy recommendation sending the shares at one time to 596.5p. The company is spending pounds 6m buying a railway track laying machine. Engineer Siebe managed an 11p gain to 251p despite an underperform prediction from Deutche Morgan Grenfell. AEA Technology firmed 44p to 865p after the technical products and engineering services group took over a railway engineering firm owned by former British Rail managers for pounds 12.2m.

Premier Farnell produced a rare ray of sunshine for the electrical distributors, gaining 6.5p to 233p after producing a moderately encouraging trading report.

Excitement broke out at Northern Foods with the shares climbing 13p to 182p on talk that Merrill Lynch was planning to upgrade.

The erosion of the ratings of the once high-flying pub chains continued. JD Wetherspoon, leader of the pack, was the worst hit, giving up 11p to 221p, lowest for more than a year. Greenalls softened 12p to 406.5p.

Distributor H Young tumbled 14p to 120.5p. Chief executive Rory McGrath said he could not account for the fall which took the shares to their lowest for around two years. He said he was happy with prospects for the current year "and having done our budgets we are in good shape for 1999."

Torotrack, the transmission group, suffered a humiliating rights issue rebuff. Only 2.64 per cent of its pounds 50m cash call was taken up. Underwriters have been left with the rest, offered at 300p. The shares fell 6.5p to 217.5p with worries that they will be kicked out of the mid cap index.

Polyhedron, the tools group, jumped a further 20p to 86p as American Tool emerged as the bidder, offering 88p. The shares jumped 21.5p on Monday on pointers to a possible offer.

But textile group Parkland, where there was talk some of its shareholders could be thinking of a bid, fell 2p to 32,5p after the company said it had not received any formal approach.



GILTS INDEX: n/a Action could be near at South Country Homes, an obscure residential letting company. Sandy Anderson, the railway entrepreneur who made pounds 33m from the sale of the Porterbrook leasing group, is chairman and sits on 27.9 per cent. Mr Anderson has made no secret of his intention to develop the company. SCH shares, active in the past week, put on 7.5p to 51p. Last year they were 25p. touching 66p a few months ago. Shares of Stoddard, the struggling carpets and floor coverings group which were 20p a year ago, rose 1.25p to 5.75p as businessman Richard Keeling emerged as a 6.8 per cent shareholder. In the year ended March the company, formerly Stoddard Seekers, suffered a pounds 4.3m loss. The arrival of Mr Keeling prompted a modest flow of buy orders with one investor prepared to pay 6.5p for 10,000 shares

Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
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

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape