MARKET REPORT: Quiet session leaves red ink on many trading books

Although blue chips struggled to yet another peak it was, as most market players were quick to point out, a lousy trading day with the stock market probably out-of-pocket.

It is generally accepted it requires a share volume of around 600 million for the market to break even. A mere 509.2 million would, therefore, leave many trading books splashed with red ink.

For Footsie plotters such a loss was an irrelevance. They were more interested in the index's slow, painful progress towards the important 4,000 points level.

In the event Footsie ended 9.3 (after 12.9) points higher at 3,977.2 with a strong New York display largely ignored.

Blue chips continue to draw comfort from the encouraging run of company results, expectations of lower interest rates and the generally favourable economic outlook.

The wall of money argument is also being cited again. Some funds have cut back on their equity involvement with, it would appear, PDFM, a surprisingly high 15 per cent liquid.

Yet with institutional cash coffers overflowing fund managers could be forced to reconsider their equity approach. After all few trustees will look favourably on a fund manager who has failed to take advantage of share peaks in London and New York.

There are suggestions many fund managers are more interested in overseas markets. Yet on many yardsticks London offers better value to its foreign rivals.

NatWest Securities remains cautious. It decided to let it be known it was keeping its year end Footsie forecast at 3,700

Clients are advised to sell into strength.

As blue chips march to new highs, second liners experience a much more subdued existence. The FT-SE 250 index rose 8.7 to 4,462, more than 100 points from its peak, hit in April.

Unilever was one of the day's best performers, climbing 20p to a 1,406.5p peak. The Anglo-Dutch giant is still scoring from its US presentation and the proposed reshaping of its brands portfolio. But some ponder about increasing margin pressure in Europe, highlighted last week by Nestle, the Swiss giant.

Cable and Wireless responded to a Merrill Lynch forecast of 500p a share, gaining 7.5p to 448.5p.

Railtrack's strong run was halted by cautious weekend comment with the shares, backtracking 5p to 283p. Alleged price wars continued to ruffle superstores with Tesco down 3.5p to 302.5p and J Sainsbury 4p lower at 378.5p.

Blenheim was an outstanding performer after the company signalled bid talks were on again. The shares jumped 52.5p to 420p. HTV, on hopes of a Carlton Communications bid, gained 3.5p to 340p.

Easynet, the internet service provider, scored the day's best gain, up 52 per cent to 58.5p following signals of a possible Microsoft tie-up and an upbeat statement on its subscriber base.

Sears, results today, edged forward 2p to 97p. Talk of disposals and take over bids overshadowed what are expected to be decidedly poor figures. Dalgety, which duly produced weak profits, managed a 2p gain to 329p, largely on the back of vague stories of a Nestle bid.

Protean, a water treatment group, was the day's disaster story, down 80.5p to 169p following a warning of poor results from its German off- shoot. Four weeks ago it raised pounds 5.1m through a placing at 245p a share.

Pan Andean Resources added 11p to 135.5p (after 138.5p) as some detected encouraging smoke signals from its Bolivian exploration well. There are hopes the drilling results will be known in the next few days. The shares were in single figures before the market was gripped by the Bolivian excitement.

As PAR's star rose a former oil high flyer, Tuskar Resources, was suspended at 1.5p as it moved to take a 40 per cent stake in an oil mining lease off Nigeria. The vendor, the Camac/Allied group, will end with control of Tuskar. At the height of its Colombian oil adventure six years ago Tuskar's shares nudged 100p.

Freeport Leisure, running factory outlet shopping villages, gained 6p to 120.5p. James Kerr-Muir, ex-Kingfisher, is to become chairman. Profits were pounds 878,400 against pounds 102, 622.

Malaya, the garage group, shaded to 12p as a 7.5 per cent stake, part of the estate of a former director, was placed at around 8p.

Biotrace International making equipment to test for food and drink contamination, gained 1p to 67.5p; Baring Asset Management has an 11.18 per cent stake.

TAKING STOCK

rRPS, an environmental consultancy, is heading for record fee income this year with profits of pounds 2.9m (against pounds 2.2m) forecast by stockbroker Albert E Sharp. It has a host of blue chip clients. Latest coup was the buy out of HMSO where it conducted a due diligence exercise. As buyers become increasingly aware of contaminated land and pollution risks, RPS's due diligence work is growing. The shares held at 133.5p.

rDean Corporation, a housebuilder and property maintenance group, lifted half-year profits from pounds 43,933 to pounds 352, 876 and should nudge pounds 800,000 for the year. Chairman Stephen Dean is looking for acquisitions; he hopes to double the company's size in the next year. Shares gained 2.5p to 14p; the high is 17p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...