Market Report: Rumours surround Reuters as Footsie romps ahead

Rumours of a big wire service merger were almost submerged in the excitement over the digital television alliance.

Stories surfacing in New York suggested Reuters, the financial information group, was seeking a deal with the US information provider Dow Jones, creator of the famous New York share index.

According to a report in Business Week, the London-based group has put out feelers to leading Dow Jones shareholders. Reuters, it said, had expressed an interest in merging with Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and Barron's magazine. It was also prepared to mount an outright takeover bid although reluctant to make a hostile move.

A US fund manger, Michael Price, who runs Franklin Resources Mutual Share Fund, has built a 5 per cent Dow Jones stake and says: "The risk-reward ratio is very good." He is determined to push the management into boosting the shares, which have failed to sparkle. Mr Price is reputed to have been a significant force in creating the pressure which encouraged the big Chase Manhattan-Chemical Bank merger.

Like Reuters the US group's profit prospects have dimmed in the face of much more intense competition and the vast capital outlay needed just to jog along in such a fast moving business. It is said some Dow Jones shareholders have grown disenchanted and would be receptive to Reuters' overtures.

As shares have soared Reuters has retreated. The price, 806p in the autumn, fell 11.5p to 656p.

Most equities romped ahead, aided and abetted by the television spectacular.

The dramatic TV alliance provided the extra spur for a market already inspired by a high flying New York and a weakening pound.

Carlton Communications, reflecting its TV link with Granada and BSkyB, led the blue chip charge, up 39p to 558.5p. BSkyB, expected to report a 40 per cent interim profit advance to pounds 150m next week, gained 18.5p to 599p and Granada 19.5p to 897.5p. Flextech, involved in the digital venture with the BBC, put on 39p to 699p.

But with the prospect of more competition the cable companies missed out. Cable and Wireless, leading the cable grouping, fell 13p to 466p and Nynex lost 14.5p to 99.5p. Others lower included General Cable, 13p to 176p, and Telewest Communications, 11p to 117p.

Footsie closed at a peak, up 47.4 points to 4,275.8, topping the previous high, hit last week, by 4.3.

The supporting FTSE 250 failed to match its earlier high, although gaining 22.8 to 4,595.4. Gilts managed gains of almost a point.

EMI, the showbiz group, had another flat session, falling 40.5p to 1,211p on worries about its US involvement. An industry study indicated sales are slowing down. Supermarkets were in the investor checkout with Safeway off 8p to 383p.

Bass, where rumours of a bid for Accor, the French hotel group, circulate, fell 5.5p to 846.5p with Barclays de Zoete Wedd said to be negative.

Among takeover stocks to the fore were Schroders, up 61.5p to 1,714p, and Zeneca, 53.5p to 1,804.5p.

General Accident, despite stories that it could barge into the Abbey National-Scottish Amicable affair, rose 24p to 806p. In a strong banking sector Abbey improved 15.5p to 784.5p.

Oils remained in form with British Borneo Petroleum Syndicate ending 46p higher at 1,365 and Monument Oil & Gas, following a NatWest Securities buy signal, gaining 1.75p to 90p. Enterprise Oil made further headway, up 7.5p to 686.5p.

Stagecoach, the buses and trains group, rose 12p to 752.5p as the tender offer by former Porterbrook shareholders led to 28.8 million shares (12.1 per cent) being sold at 730p. The vendors, cashing on the sale of their Porterbrook leasing business, had planned to sell 35 million shares.

Southern Electric, producing a cash windfall through a capital restructuring, firmed 13p to 800.5p.

SR Gent, the clothing struggler, failed to produce takeover developments, easing 2p to 57.5p. It said approaches were "being considered".

Surrey Free Inns shaded 11p to 486p as Whitbread confirmed it had sold shares. It is thought to have unloaded all its 4.5 per cent stake. The Paramount pubs chain held at 43.5p as Nomura increased its stake to 9.7 per cent.

Biocompatibles International had another ebullient run, up 215p to 1,155p; Merrill Lynch is looking for 1,600p.

Housebuilders were strong. Berkeley, up 38.5p to 735p, raised pounds 34m by placing 5 per cent of its capital at 715p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
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

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'