Market Report: New Year tips brighten a lacklustre day for Footsie

IT LOOKED at one time as if Footsie would reclaim the 6,000 points level, last visited in July.

But on a day renown for traditionally thin trading, blue chips were unable to hang on to their best levels and the index closed with a 74.3 gain to 5,941.5.

New Year tips, real and rumoured, provided some interest but as invariably happens at this time of the year offices existed with a skeleton staff. Many big hitters were away and those left in charge were more likely to make the type of precautionary move which often amplifies share movements.

The advent of the euro, prompting some big investors to sit on the sidelines, also restricted trading.

The Stock Exchange attempted to pierce the malaise by reporting it had enjoyed another record year with domestic volume up 2.2 per cent.

Supporting shares moved ahead. The mid cap index rose 30.7 to 4,843.5 and the small cap 9.3 to 2,061.7. Not for the first time General Electric Co was under scrutiny as it, and others, continued to play the euro defence game. The shares were at one time 39p higher at a 580p a share peak. They closed 8.5p up at 549.5p.

GEC is now said to be concentrating its corporate endeavours on four possible merger partners, including British Aerospace which has, on and off, been in the group's sights for years.

In fact six years ago, when BAe limped along at around 30p, GEC took a close interest in the then ailing group but decided not to bid. Others said to be in talks with GEC are Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, the US groups, and Thomson-CSF of France, part owned by the French government which is said to be keen for talks to open.

Peter Craine, GEC's director of government relations, said: "It is too early to say who the front runner is."

BAe, firm at 518p, was on the verge of clinching a deal with DaimlerChrysler of Germany before GEC barged into the fray.

Insurance shares had to contend with suggestions the holiday storms will cost the industry more than pounds 100m; GRE was off 6p at 344p.

British Petroleum was down 8p at 908.5p. Just one hurdle remains to be cleared before its huge merger with Amoco can go ahead - clearance from the US Federal Trade Commission.

There are hopes the Federal Trade Commission will stir today allowing the deal to be completed tomorrow. If tomorrow's deadline is missed it is hoped the merger will go through next week. The new behemoth's capitalisation will be around pounds 85bn, the biggest on the stock market.

Asda, up 4.25p to 163.25p, again responded to Wal-Mart bid rumours and Enterprise Oil, regarded as another takeover candidate, improved 5.5p to 293p.

As if to underline the low level of trading, the two shares leading the Footsie leader board were its most illiquid constituents.

Schroders rose 64p to 1,167p with volume put at 120,000 shares and the investment house's non voting shares gained 51.5p to 996.5p with just 7,597 shares on the screen.

Takeover activity in the holiday industry, plus hopes of a bookings stampede, lifted Thomson Travel 11.5p to 160.5p. The shares are still below the spring-time flotation price and the 199p touched soon afterwards.

On the day of England's surprising Test victory against Australia, cricket coverage became a live issue with Galaxy Media and Television Corporation hoping to catch the next world cup.

Galaxy, up 15p to 76.5p, said it may bid for the next two World Cup competitions and TC, which has won the contract to cover domestic Test matches for Channel 4, will "almost certainly" attempt to cover the World Cup. TC shares gained 15p to 235p.

Quadrant Healthcare slipped 2.5p to 77.5p after 16.7 million shares issued when a company called Andaris was acquired were sold at 77.5p. Nomura appears to have picked up the stock, lifting its stake to 28.17 per cent.

Zetters, thinking of splitting itself into separate bingo and football pool companies, lost 9p to 118.5p. United Carriers, where entrepreneur Luke Johnson has picked up 7.1 per cent, advanced 7p to 33.5p.

Takeover hopes again inspired European Motor, up 8p at 70p, and motor dealer DC Cook reversed 1.5p to 21.5p as a Henderson fund trimmed its stake to 7 per cent.

Trafficmaster, the vehicle security group, had an uncertain session, ending 21p lower at 532.5p.

A report that its new anti-theft device was unsafe found little sympathy with stockbroker Killik.

"We believe the concerns raised were over played and the dip in the price is an opportunity to buy," it said.

MSB International, the IT recruitment group, made further headway, up 47.5p to 357.5p. An upbeat trading statement earlier this month has lifted the shares from a 140p low.

SEAQ VOLUME: 286.5 million

SEAQ TRADES: 35,620

GILT INDEX: N/A

ARTISAN, the house building and pub/restaurant refurbishment business that demerged from what is now Environmental Property Services earlier this month, is due to start work in January on contracts worth pounds 3.8m.

They include a new Belgo restaurant at London's Ladbroke Grove and a Pizza Express at Amersham.

Artisan shares have fallen from around 6p to 4p since the demerger while EPS is 8.75p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Arts and Entertainment
Shelley Duvall stars in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
filmCritic Kaleem Aftab picks his favourites for Halloween
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Sport
Luke Shaw’s performance in the derby will be key to how his Manchester United side get on
footballBeating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Life and Style
Google's doodle celebrating Halloween 2014
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
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

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes