Market Report: Second rank marked up as Footsie falters

SECOND-LINE shares, for so long deep in the doldrums, are staging a gentle but remarkable comeback.

As Footsie paused, unimpressed by the Gordon Brown dialogue, the mid cap index scored a 23.9-point gain to 4,911.7, its seventh consecutive gain and its 17th advance since it fell to its year's low 18 trading days ago.

The run demonstrates the feeling that many of the 250 mid cap shares were hit too hard in the summer slide. They are, however, still a long way from their June peak of 5,966.6. The small cap shares have also stirred, but are also far from their high.

Footsie hardly moved during the Chancellor's statement, hovering 8.5 points lower. After the Chancellor sat down it slipped back further, reflecting New York weakness, and finished a rather downbeat session off 21.6 at 5,503.9. At lunchtime the index was up 41 points. Government stocks achieved gains of nearly pounds 1.

The Chancellor's proposed employee share-buying incentives and plans for lower corporation tax made little impact.

Problems on the retail front, with Marks & Spencer the latest victim, weighed much more heavily on sentiment. M&S, with interim profits lower than expected and a warning that the year's profits would be "substantially" down, tumbled 45p (after 60.25p) to 404p.

Its performance set alarm bells ringing over Boots, with interims tomorrow. The market expected a little-changed pounds 255m, but after M&S there were worries that its calculations were too optimistic. The shares dropped 28p to 881p.

Retail shares have taken a battering as confidence has ebbed away. They were cut again following the M&S discomfort: fashion chain Next lost 22p to 493p and Debenhams, the department store group, 13p to 378.5p. Suggestions that ABN Amro is stuck with more than 5 per cent of Storehouse as a result of a deal which went wrong knocked the shares 5p to 170p.

British Petroleum's results were given a warm welcome and with index- chasing funds still in evidence the shares climbed 10.5p to 905.5p. At one point they were 37p up.

HSBC, the banking giant, attracted buyers, up 76p to 1,513p. Barclays also featured in a firm banking sector, 46p higher to 1,300p.

Telecoms were again on form. Vodafone's sales link with Tesco led to a 14p gain to 853p and Securicor gained 10p to 475p with one investment house, thought to be CSFB, hanging a 540p price on the shares. Computers also moved ahead.

Ladbroke responded to favourable comments from Sutherlands, gaining 4.75p to 231p. The stockbroker regards the shares as undervalued, with profits of pounds 265m likely this year and pounds 295m next. Last year the betting and hotel group produced pounds 226.3m.

More sterling weakness benefited exporters. Imperial Chemical Industries hardened 23p to 585p and British Aerospace 18p to 475p.

British Biotech, the hard-pressed drugs group, firmed 1.5p to 43p as HSBC sold its 3.65 per sent stake. Interims are next week. BriBio shares were 145p earlier this year and two years ago touched 326.5p. Biotrace added 10p to 112.5p on its new system for testing for contamination.

The takeover bid for drinks group Matthew Clark finally appeared with America's Canandaigua Brands, the Paul Masson wine group, offering 243p a share; the price rose 48p to 239.5p. But bid excitement evaporated at builders merchant SIG, down 7p to 138.5p, as the management buyout was abandoned.

BICC, the subject of takeover speculation last week, slipped 1.5p to 53.5p. A meeting with analysts is due next week. Mayflower, winner of the battle for Dennis, gained 5p to 141.5p; it is thought to be holding investment meetings.

Engineer Glynwed International rose 3p to 179.5p, responding to Henderson Crosthwaite support.

Hillsdown, the restructured food group, hardened 4p to 87p on talk that it was near to completing disposals worth pounds 140m. The two businesses for the chop are Ross Breeders, a chick-rearing operation and the Continental Bakeries unit. The pounds 160m sale of its furniture companies is also thought to be only weeks away. Last month Hillsdown demerged its Fairview housebuilding arm and Terranova, a fresh foods concern.

NFC, the old National Freight Corporation, put on 8p to 125.5p with support from BT Alex.Brown. It is the first time in five years that the investment bank's analyst, Richard Hannah, has been bullish on the stock.

A cautious Nationwide Building Society housing survey hit housebuilders, with Barratt Developments down 8.5p at 217.5p.

Darby, the building materials group, was the day's major market casualty, slumping 41.5p to 49p after warning that second-half profits would fall "substantially below" those last year.

SEAQ VOLUME: 954.7m

SEAQ TRADES: 69,278

GILT INDEX: 111.39 +0.93

RUMOURS of corporate action swirl around Fibernet, up 12p at 293.5p. The group, with a national communications network of optical fibre cables, could feel inclined to link up with a more powerful partner.

Its shares have had an eventful time since arriving two years ago. They fell to 84p last year before comments from BT Alex.Brown sent them up to 508p. Earlier this year Fibernet raised pounds 3m, placing shares at 165p.

ADVERTISING group WPP, 3p higher at 306p and tipped as a buy by stockbroker Killik, continues to move in on Tempus, formerly CIA.

WPP has picked up a further 1.2 million shares in the media buyer and now has 17.26 per cent of the company.

WPP has steadily increased its stake and a bid is looking imminent. Tempus shares advanced by 7.5p to 175p; they have reached as high as 257.5p this year.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower