Market Report: OFT warning adds to pressure on banks

BANKS, particularly the former building societies, suffered sharp punishment as the Office of Fair Trading warned about their treatment of customers.

They were under pressure even before John Bridgeman, the OFT director general, said he intended to investigate complaints against Northern Rock, off 51p at 555p. Negative comments from Dresdner Kleinwort Benson created the early unease. The investment house warned the mortgage war was intensifying and suggested Halifax and Woolwich could lose out.

With niggling worries that the Far Eastern crisis could hold some unpleasant surprises for some of the banking community, the sector could muster few friends on a day the stock market fretted about the possibility of higher interest rates as well as the tiger economies.

Abbey National fell 34p to 1,047p; Alliance & Leicester 20p to 800p; Halifax 11.5p to 776.5p and Woolwich 6.25p to 339.75p. Schroders dropped 58p to 1,915p; Lloyds TSB 32.5p to 861p; Bank of Scotland 28p to 690p and Barclays 24p to 1,1723p.

Ladbroke was again the blue chip front-runner. Shares of the betting and hotel group romped ahead 15.5p to 357.5p, a two day gain of 33p. Closer links with Hilton Hotel Corporation of the US seem to be the spur. HHC promised to buy 5 per cent of Ladbroke, to underline a trading relationship, and two share deals on Thursday awakened hopes the stake build-up had started.

There are also hopes of extensive corporate action, perhaps even a bid for the company.

Footsie spent most of the session in retreat, ending 30.7 points down at 5,917.8. At one time it was off 82. Supporting shares again out-performed their peers. The mid cap index achieved yet another peak while the small cap ended unchanged.

The thought of mega-bids in the telephony industry gave Cable and Wireless a 20.5p boost to 695p and Orange 8.75p to 448.75p. BT, with year's figures next week and talking about US adventures again, fell 4.5p to 645p.

Colt Telecom surged another 145p to 2,085p as Lehman Brothers made positive noises.

Next, where finance director David Keens has warned about continuing difficulties, fell a further 15.5p to 484p. The shares were 835p before doubts set in about trading.

Allied Carpets continued to sap retail confidence, producing a profits warning which sent the shares sliding 47p to 89p. Two years ago the shares were floated at 215p. Its comments left Carpetright looking threadbare with a 23p fall to 337. DFS Furniture also fell 10.5p to 256p.

A profit warning from Stoves, the cooker maker, cut the shares 49p to 158.5p; Crest Packaging dropped 8p to 49.5p after warning about profits.

Rolls-Royce lost 2.25p to 290.75p after confirming a $400m Singapore Airlines order. Billiton, the mining group ended 1.25p lower at 166.75p; there was a late trade involving 100 million shares at 158p.

An upbeat trading statement and support from Credit Lyonnais and Salomon Smith Barney pushed health-care group Nycomed Amersham 60p higher to 2,130p.

Shipbroker Horace Clarkson rose 13p to 130.5p. It rejected a 130p offer from Charles Taylor Group and Howe Robinson Investments.

Prism Leisure was another to collect an approach. It did not lead to an offer. The shares slipped 2p to 68.5p.

But the new bid approach to Trust Motor drove the shares 17p higher to 198p and engineer Headway gained 14p to 57.5p after admitting talks were on.

Reece, a distributor of cycles and industrial fasteners, firmed to 2.5p. Britannia, the construction group, is thought to have topped up its recently acquired 14.9 per cent shareholding. Last year, after stake-building, it took over British Building and Engineering.

Jermyn Investment Properties moved ahead 22.5p to 337.5p after buying ELP Properties from Marylebone Warwick Balfour, unchanged at 13.5p. To fund the deal Jermyn is raising pounds 40m through a placing and open offer of convertible, unsecured loan stock.

JJB Sports jogged 24p higher to 547.5p. Charterhouse Tilney likes the shares, drawing attention to the World Cup and expected kit relaunches by Premiership clubs. Current year's profits are forecast at pounds 43.2m with pounds 51.1m in the following year.

Computer shares lost a little of their strength. But Admiral rose 100p to 1,207.5p and Eidos 40p to 1,100p.

Tracker Network, the car security group, had a splendid run, up 137.5p to a 882.5p peak. It is due to move from AIM to full listing on Monday.

James Fisher, the shipping group, held at 127p. Stockbroker Wise Speke suggest profits will rise pounds 1m to pounds 9.5m this year and pounds 10.4m next.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
News
Rainbow List
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVMost of the performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

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

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

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker