Market Report: High-priced trades stir up interest in Ladbroke

LADBROKE, the betting and hotel group, enlivened a dull day, galloping 17.5p to 342p. Two trades above the then ruling price created the excitement.

The stock market has waited for more than a year for Hilton Hotel Corporation to build a share stake.

HHC operates the US Hilton hotels spread with Ladbroke controlling the portfolio in the rest of the world. As part of an alliance established between HHC and Ladbroke the Americans promised to build a 5 per cent interest in the British group.

The Americans were expected to rely on the issue of new shares. But the latest shenanigans could indicate they have decided to buy through the stock market.

The two trades, thought to involve Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, were for 1 million and 4.25 million shares. They were completed at 340p when the price was nearer 325p.

The consequent interest was enough to make Ladbroke the most actively traded blue chip, with Seaq putting volume at 17.7 million.

The leisure group is, however, still below its 358p peak hit earlier this year. A year ago the shares were 240p.

This week Ladbroke produced a confident trading statement although sentiment had earlier been dented by the referral to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission of the acquisition of the Coral betting shops chain.

Takeover rumours have occasionally wafted around the company. At one time Bass, the brewing and hotel group, was regarded as a possible predator. But its sale of the Coral business would suggest it is no longer interested.

Footsie ended 24.4 points off at 5,948.5; just 30 minutes before the close the fall was 54.6. The worsening situation in Asia, particularly Indonesia, and a resurrection of higher interest rate fears tormented the market. An uneven New York display was another inhibiting influence. Still, the two main supporting indices blissfully ignored such restraints and moved to yet new highs.

Oil exploration shares flared on positive comments from Morgan Stanley and hopes of upbeat drilling reports in the next few weeks.

Morgan's Nick Antill highlighted the possibility of more consolidation and is thought to have suggested a 650p price for Enterprise Oil; 320p for Lasmo; 330p for Hardy Oil & Gas and 70p for Monument Oil & Gas.

His projections lifted Enterprise 22p to 597p; Lasmo 9.25p to 291p; Hardy 15.5p to 273.5p and Monument 1.75p to 63.5p.

Monument said its rights issue had achieved a 95.4 per cent take-up and long time shareholder Electrafina of Belgium now has 26.2 per cent.

Colt Telecom was another to collect a Morgan boost. The shares jumped 257.5p to a 1,940p peak after Morgan set a 2,250p target price target.

Next, the fashion chain rocked by a profits warning in March, fell 7p to 499.5p with finance director David Keens said to be alerting analysts that women's wear sales remained sluggish and overstocking problems had yet to be overcome.

Cadbury Schweppes hardened 17p to 897p as Merrill Lynch repeated its 1,000p target, and Hillsdown Holdings added 5.5p to 186.5p on takeover talk.

Suggestions of a deal between Powell Duffryn, off 10p at 600p, and Mersey Docks, down 6.5p at 602.5p, appeared to be wide of the mark.

Matalan, the retailer, made a strong debut, closing at 275.5p from a 235p placing.

Arlen, the electrical equipment group, gained 4p to 34.25p after duly confirming it planned a number of disposals; Trust Motor advanced 3p to 181p as another bid approach was received. The company has had unsuccessful negotiations over a sale to its management. On Tuesday Nicholas Barr, who led the abortive buyout, quit.

Air London, the air charter broker which has denied any takeover approach, climbed another 40p to 440p, a peak. The shares have nearly doubled since February.

The flame at Ronson, the lighter group, is just about flickering. It expects losses to hit pounds 11.5m; the shares plunged 1.25p (after 2.75p) to 5.75p.

Computer shares had another strong session , gaining 2 per cent. Micro Focus, on figures, jumped 70p to 645p; Parity 36.5p to 821.5p and Admiral 25p to 1,107.5p. But MMT Computing dropped 20p to 1,287.5p after chairman Michael Tilbrook sold 500,000 shares at 1,275p. He is left with 4.7 per cent.

And a profits warnings hit Illion, off 76p at 112.5p.

Distributor Abacus Polar was another mauled by a profits warning, falling 29.5p to 96.5p. Ferguson International tumbled 11.5p to 93.5p in response to a profits slump.

Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
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

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories