Market Report: Great Universal stirs up stock market intrigue

ONCE again Great Universal Stores is intriguing the stock market. On Thursday, the cash- rich mail order group is due to produce its year's profits. Some suspect they will be accompanied by another share-enhancing deal.

Last year, GUS equalised its share structure, giving votes to all. This time there are thoughts that it may hand cash to shareholders through a special dividend, announce a share buy-back programme or float off its property side.

There is even speculation of a bid, perhaps for the Next retailing chain.

GUS, with a pounds 1.6bn cash mountain, is thought to have a break- up value of 700p.

The profits are expected to emerge at pounds 510m, up from pounds 471.4m. For this year pounds 545m is forecast. The shares rose 14p to 567p.

The rest of the market started the last leg of the last trading account in confident form, although best levels were not held as the US dollar failed to retain early firmness. The FT-SE 100 index rose 21.4 points to 2,983.8; just after lunch it was more than 30 points higher.

Government stocks, encouraged by June's producer price figures and steadier Continental bond markets, scored gains of more than one point.

SmithKline Beecham was briskly traded, with Smith New Court said to have moved to place 9 million shares at 398p. The shares fell 5p to 400p.

Royal Bank of Scotland, the subject of a Smith placing last week, remained in the doldrums, falling another 9p to 401p.

It is now widely believed that, after initial difficulty, the Smith shares, thought to have come from Morgan Grenfell, have been placed.

Glaxo was also weak, down 8p to 563p as Eli Lilly, the US group, splashed out dollars 4bn for McKesson's drugs management business. The British group needs to barge into the US managed prescriptions market and was thought to be in talks with McKesson.

There was speculation it might be forced to mount a counter-bid, although its policy has, at least until recently, been aimed at partnership deals.

Inchcape, the international trader, moved ahead 15p to 443p as Panmure Gordon pushed the shares, drawing attention to the possible profit bounce when the dollar recovers against the yen. The sharp advance in British car sales also helped sentiment.

Thorn EMI continued to benefit from demerger rumours, improving a further 14p to 1,053p.

RMC was firm on confident stockbroker comments and what is regarded as the more encouraging outlook for the German economy. The shares rose 12p to 609p, helping to pull Redland 6p higher to 518p.

George Wimpey, the builder, held at 173p; the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority picked up a million shares, lifting its stake to 4.07 per cent.

Mirror Group Newspapers added 4p to 150p, with UBS making positive noises. Pearson and United Newspapers also made headway.

Water shares, with the latest regulatory dictates due later this month, had little difficulty absorbing the attack from the National Consumer Council.

British Airways rose 2p to 421p on recent passenger figures, dragging BAA 14p better to 935p.

GKN, the car components and helicopter group, rose 15p to 603p with NatWest Securities offering much of the support.

A profit warning sent MR Data Management, a computer group, tumbling 33p to 144p and Casket, the clothing and cycle group that produced a profit warning at the start of the month, fell a further 2p to 31p.

Bakyrchik Gold, developing a mine in Kazakhstan, fell 23p to 278p with SG Warburg said to be cool towards the venture. The shares were floated at 120p in August.

Wilshaw, a building products and metals group, slipped 1.5p to 52.5p. Turnover was put at 3.3 million shares, helping to fuel stories of big stake changes.

Northumbrian Fine Foods edged ahead 1p to 13p, responding to director buying.

On the 535 market London Fiduciary Trust was quoted by market maker JP Jenkins at 0.5p.

It has acquired 60.48 per cent of Luxemburg Estates, a mining group, and is offering to buy the rest. For the deal a 1p price has been put on the LFT shares, valuing Luxemburg at pounds 5.67m. LFT is also planning to raise up to pounds 650,000 through a share issue at 1p.

Luxemburg's main asset is the Masara Gold project in the Philippines.

A line of Unit Group shares went through the market. Close Brothers, the merchant bank listed as holding 13 per cent, is believed to have been the seller. Some of the shares went to J Wilton and Harry Sproule, property men, who topped up their stakes to just under 30 per cent. Unit, a pallet maker, is likely to get more involved in property. The shares held at 39p.

Princedale, formerly Craton Lodge & Knight, held at 24p. The marketing group, which last year created an industrial division, is thought to be trading well. It is seen as the new vehicle for Sir Harry Solomon, former chairman of Hillsdown Holdings. Last week Lady Gabrielle Greenbury, wife of Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Richard Greenbury, joined the board.

The FT-SE 100 index rose 21.4 points to 2,983.8 and the supporting FT-SE 250 index 19.3 to 3,473.9. Turnover was 542.5 million shares from 23,211 bargains. The account ends on Friday with settlement on 25 July.

(Graph omitted)

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
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

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game