Market Report: Perverse bears get upper hand

WORRIES THAT shares had run ahead too quickly overwhelmed a rousing round of corporate activity, leaving Footsie 62.2 points off at 6,085.

Normally a deluge of bids and deals would send shares soaring. But the stock market seemed intent on displaying its more perverse instincts, allowing a stream of profit warnings and nervousness in New York to dominate its approach. So the bear argument won the day and profit takers got the upper hand.

British American Tobacco, following its descent on the once quoted Rothmans International cigarette group, lit up 84p to 625p, and English China Clays, the minerals group, jumped 82.5p to 242.5p after rejecting a 225p a share cash offer from Imetal of France.

Enterprise Oil and Lasmo were more subdued as merger talks between the two groups were confirmed. In the weak oil environment the two are, in effect, cuddling together to keep warm. While Lasmo managed a modest 12.25p gain from near its year's low to l06.5p, Enterprise fell 5p to 278p, its lowest for more than five years. Whether the struggling oil groups will, after their hostile encounter four years ago, enjoy a cosy merger remains to be seen. Some expect ENI, the Italian group, to intervene.

The BAT deal puffed Imperial Tobacco 7p higher to 640p but left Gallaher down 3p at 405.5p.

A clutch of under-card shares joined the take over party. Field, the packaging group, rose 55p to 281.5p after reporting a bid approach; Sinclair Montrose Healthcare talked about a "number of approaches" and rose 23p to 136.5p and Copyright, the merchandising group, gained 20p to 127.5p after agreeing a 130p a share offer.

Regal Hotels was unchanged at 31p on its pounds 42.5m acquisition of County Hotels and Marston Thompson & Evershed slipped 5p to 297.5p as Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, not surprisingly, rejected its PacMan attack.

Rumours also abounded. Cordiant, the advertising group, denied bid speculation but the shares romped ahead 23.5p to 146p; Sears, on talk of a cash hand out as part of its defence against high street entrepreneur Philip Green, strengthened 34p to 289p.

On-Line jumped 13p to 29.5p although it said it could not account for the rise, and Brent International, the chemical group where talks are on, hardened 10.5p to 110p on rumours that a 140p a share offer had been agreed.

First Leisure shot ahead 30.5p to 232p as stories swirled that bid action was about to erupt. But Vickers, the engineer, failed to respond to weekend reports that its tank division would merge with Giat, the state-owned French group. The shares shaded 1.5p to 167p.

There was even a merger in the sedate investment trust world. Two Aberdeen trusts - New Dawn and Emerging Asia - are getting together. Emerging Asia rose 3.75p to 26.25p; New Dawn dropped 0.5p to 112.5p.

The market had started with a solid gain, reflecting New York's Friday peak. But worries about insurers and banks, and fears telecoms had shot ahead of the game eroded confidence. Allied Zurich, the insurer demerged from BAT last year, was one of the worst performing Footsie constituents, falling 34p to 987p.

Profit caution then took a hand. Tomkins, the buns to guns conglomerate, made downbeat noises with its figures and promptly fell 13p to 228.5p. Others erring on the side of caution included Kwik-Fit, the tyres and exhausts group, which reversed 73.5p to 462p; Courtaulds Textiles 13p to 160p; Paterson Zochonis 19p to 342.5p and Austin Reed, 1.5p at 84p.

It was not, however, all one-way traffic. Shining through the trading gloom were Wm Morrison, the supermarket chain, up 10.5p to 307.5p, and TJ Hughes 6p to 174.5p. Book seller Ottakar's; pub chain SFI and wine group Majestic failed to impress the market with reports of improved festive trading.

Dixons, ahead of tomorrow's interim figures, rose 23p to 881p and Reuters, given a push by Salomon Smith Barney, firmed 13.5p to 762.5p.

The mid cap index rose 5.6 to 4,982 and the small cap 7.7 to 2,141.5. Turnover, although not reaching some of the exotic levels hit last week, was a respectable near 900 million shares.

Caradon, the building materials group, fell 1.5p to 103.5p as an institutional shareholder placed stock. But HSBC turned more positive, suggesting a 170p break up value and a 135p target price.

KS Biomedix, a fledgling drugs group, jumped 20.5p to 299.5p on suggestions that it is on the verge of producing key trial data. The market got hold of a story that KS had carried out successful tests on its osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis treatments.

Middlesex, with metal interests in Russia, firmed 0.5p to 1.75p as chairman Lord Owen added 2.5 million shares to his collection, taking his stake to 0.80 per cent. The shares have been as high as 9.25p; highest in the past year is 5.5p.

SEAQ VOL: 898.8M

SEAQ TRADES: 78,423

Moves are thought to be afoot to give a new lease of life to loss- making Versalite, with its system for painting on glass. The shares have cracked from 4p to 0.75p since arriving on the market two years ago.

There is talk that the glass business will be hived off, possibly with father and son directors Les and Nick Easton buying it. The rump would be left as a cash-rich shell.

EASYSCREEN, which provides dealing systems for futures and options traders, arrived with a splash on the fringe, lightly-regulated Ofex share market.

The price rose 43p to 210p. The company, formed last summer, is valued at almost pounds 13m. But it is a thin market with directors accounting for 60 per cent of the capital and a single shareholder with 25 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk