MARKET REPORT Perpetual reaches new highs as bid fever grips financial sector

Inexorably, as if driven by the scent of the inevitable takeover bid, shares of the Perpetual unit trust group stretch to new peaks.

They climbed another 13p to a record 1,313p, reflecting what many believe is discreet buying on the assumption the highly successful group's days of independence may be numbered.

In the excitable bid fever that now engulfs the financial sector, it is not difficult to make a case for a Perpetual strike.

Since being launched by chairman Martin Arbib 20 years ago, the group has powered ahead. Profits have soared from £1.7m in 1990 to £35.4m, with the shares surging from 38p.

With the fund manager Jupiter Tyndall seemingly about to fall to the German Commerzbank, Perpetual, enjoying a stock market valuation of £350m, must be glancing anxiously over its corporate shoulder although Mr Arbib has remained a dominating presence.

The expectation that takeover action will soon break out in the financial sector was a strong influence. Gartmore edged ahead 3.5p to 171p and Smith New Court rose 8p to 462p.

On the merchant banking pitch, Kleinwort Benson was again firm. The shares improved a further 22p to 657p, not far from the level at which the company felt obliged to rush out a statement saying it could not explain the strength of its shares. At one time the price touched 660p, with Seaq putting turnover at an intriguing 2.7 million shares.

A German strike is regarded as the most likely outcome, although Kleinwort is clearly keen to retain its independence and would fight anything except what it regarded as an irresistible offer.

Schroders and Hambros were among other financial stocks to shine in what, after a bright start, turned out to be a dull market.

At one time the FT-SE 100 was up 29.5 points and seemingly intent on extending the recent strength to a stage when 3,200 would be challenged. In the event the effort proved too much and the index closed 3.3 lower at 3,136.4.

Even so, such a display, with turnover again high, was regarded as encouraging, particularly as international shares suffered as the dollar endured a late shake-out.

Guinness was the best performing blue chip, rising 16.5p to 438p on its top-of-the-range results and a hint of a share buy-back. Its performance encouraged other drink shares.

BTR was again wanted, up 6.5p at 323p with Salomon Brothers reported to be seeking the warrants. Kingfisher, the stores group, rose 9p to 464p on talk of an intriguing development, possibly an acquisition.

Stakis, the leisure group, improved 2p to 86p as the renamed ABN Amro Hoare Govett advised clients to move out of Ladbroke and Forte into the shares.

Eurotunnel ended 10p lower at 233p. It issued a statement saying current banking arrangement, still to be approved, do not involve any share issue. P&O gained a further 9p to 589p.

Lloyds Chemists dropped another 17p to 200p, on growing worries about the future of high street shops following the demise of Dewhurst, the butchers.

Medeva, the drugs group, jumped 13p to 213p as takeover talk, originating in the US, captured the imagination. Trading was brisk, with volume printed at 5.6 million. The shares are now at their highest since the summer of 1993. Fisons, for long one of the market's favourite bid candidates, was put forward as a possible predator. The shares fell 2p to 165p.

Redland, rumoured to be contemplating the sale of its French aggregates operation for about £350m, improved 4p to 455p.

Spirax-Sarco, an engineer, jumped 42p to 478p following results. Another to respond to figures was Quality Software, a computer house, up 22p at 390p. Pentex, a little oil group, gained 5p to 100p on its results.

Kenwood, the electric appliance group, rose a further 10p to 279p on continuing Warburg support. PhoneLink advanced a further 21p to 259p, reflecting its BT link.

Electricities, awaiting today's Littlechild pronouncement, were cautious. There were suggestions that investors were registering their continuing dismay with the partly paid generator shares by switching into the fully paid version.

Magnum Power, producing a chip which protects a computer's power supply, rose 2p to 126p. It is raising £2.4m via a share placing. The shares arrived at 35p in August.

North Sea Assets rose 2p to 34p as Dresser, a US group, emerged as the bidder, offering 34p. The defence vehicle group Alvis, which recently announced a sharp increase in orders, rose 3p to 72p. There is renewed talk that the group, which used to be called United Scientific Holdings, is planning to sell, or at least reduce, its holding in its quoted Singapore associate.

Tepnel Life Sciences held at 33p as Barings Exempt UK Smaller Companies Trust acquired 3 per cent, removing, it was felt, a hovering line.

UK Estates, created from the old Sheafbank Property Trust, has lost the support of Equitable Life Assurance, which has sold its 10 per cent share holding, and gained increased backing from one of Britain's oldest banking families. Hoare Trustees, related to the privately owned banker, C Hoare & Co, has lifted its stake to 12 per cent. UK Estates shares held at 21p.

United Breweries, the tiddler which suffered a £1m trading loss in its last financial year, is expected to return to the stock market next month after a rescue revamp which includes the acquisition of Inn Business, with 73 pubs. UB Group, the Indian conglomerate, is pumping £1.5m into the group and a placing and open offer will raise a further £5m. The shares were suspended at 6 .75p.

Suggested Topics
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
i100
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
News
i100
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
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

SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfordshire - £350 - £360

£350 - £360 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer with T-SQL, Watford, Hertfor...

Chief Financial Officer

120-150k: Accountancy Action: We are looking for an experienced CFO from a min...

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

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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...

Day In a Page

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
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?