Market Report: Second and third-liners take up the running

SELL in May and go away, probably the oldest of the stock market proverbs, has once again turned out to be completely wide of the mark.

Although Footsie has dillied and dallied throughout the month the rest of the market has been in rampant form as second and third-liners have taken up the running from the rather jaded looking blue chips.

As Footsie has fallen just 57.6 points to 5,870.7 supporting indices have made dramatic progress.

The mid cap has surged nearly 300 points, hitting a peak this week, and the small cap has climbed 127 to a high.

The merry month of May did not, however, enjoy a rapturous close. Worries still persist about Asian markets and Moscow's steadier display does not carry much conviction.

A nagging feeling that domestic interest rates could be set for a surprise increase already retarded sentiment.

Trading volume looked high but big trades in the once crippled Queens Moat Houses, the hotel chain, ballooned turnover.

QMH jumped 4.5p to 36.5p, highest since the shares returned from suspension three years ago, as Banque Nationale de Paris Suisse sold its 17 per cent stake. It was placed by stockbroker Cazenove with institutional investors. Most of the French interest was acquired in the low teens.

Helped by the 167 million recorded QMH volume, market turnover topped 1 billion shares.

Asda, contemplating a trading alliance with Kingfisher, fell 1p to 182p. The most flirtatious Footsie constituent is also rumoured to be talking about a possible trading pack with Storehouse, up 10p to 279p. Positive comments from Salomon Smith Barney also helped sentiment.

Hillsdown, on the dramatic and sudden breakdown of its merger talks with Unigate, slumped 23.5p to 183p. Unigate, expressing relief that such an ambitious deal had been aborted, rose 28.5p to 665p.

Compass, the contract caterer, jumped 85p to 1,270p on Rentokil Initial bid hopes and indications that the shares could be joining Morgan Stanley's influential international index. Rentokil was again heavily traded, gaining 12p to 427.5p. MFI struggled up just 1.5p to 79p, on talk of corporate action.

Brewer Bass frothed 33p higher to 1,125p. Morgan Stanley support was responsible. The investment house has apparently dropped General Electric Co from its buy list in favour of Bass. GEC fell 4p to 502p.

Beazer, the house builder, managed a further 11p gain to 231p on persistent chatter that a bid is being prepared. The shares are at their highest since they returned to market in 1994.

British Aerospace, 24p up at 543p, responded to the development of a joint venture with the French Dassault Aviation to research hi-tech systems for combat aircraft.

On the banking pitch, HSBC gained 57p to 1,600p after a bullish trading statement which prompted Morgan Stanley to produce a near 2.200p target.

Irish banks, with Panmure Gordon suggesting a possible 25 per cent upside, were firm. Allied Irish improved 10p to 804.5p.

United Assurance gained 37.5p to 611p. Andrew Longhurst, the man who developed Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society before being squeezed out after the Lloyds TSB take over, is to become chairman and Alan Frost, Abbey Life managing director, chief executive.

Booker, the food group, held at 296p against 479p a few years ago. The yearly meeting is due next week when details of a strategic review should be known. A break-up is thought likely.

Computer group CMG traded at 1,720p, an effective 55p gain, after its bonus issue. The slimlining operation did not, however, go to well in Amsterdam, where confusion prompted a share suspension.

Internet Technology's run continued with a 13.5p gain to 179.5p.

Spargo Consulting, where an American bid has been agreed, rose 6.5p to 284p. Comino, an IT group, put on 16p to a 270.5p peak. The shares have climbed more than 100p in a few weeks. There was the inevitable takeover talk.

Delancey, an obscure property group, was comfortably the day's top performer, jumping 46 per cent to 150p. George Soros, the currency trader famed for breaking the Bank of England, has descended on the company.

He intends to make Delancey his British vehicle and is pumping pounds 100m into the property minnow. The deal also includes the acquisition of a property advisory company owned by the Ritblat family. The shares were 65.5p in November.

Metsec, an engineer, rose 30p to 255.5p on a 260p (pounds 41.6m) Austrian offer.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, goes back to his family's Sicilian roots in the first 'Godfather' film
Kim Kardashian speaks on the Today show about her step-father's transition
Arts and Entertainment
Kermit and his doppleganger Hyalinobatrachium dianae
Wenger and Mourinho square-up to each other earlier this season
All the action from today's Premier League, including Everton vs Man Utd and Chelsea vs Arsenal
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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - City, London

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions