Market Report: Second-liners rampant as Footsie edges to a peak

AT LONG last second-liners out performed their blue chip peers. As Footsie edged its way to a new peak, Midcap shares were in rampant form, with the FTSE 250 index surging 60.5 points to a 5,132.3 high. It was the sharpest advance since September when the stock market got hold of a story that the Government had softened its EMU stance.

The Midcap resurgence occurred at a time NatWest Securities said the second and third-liners were expected to record faster growth than blue chips.

IT shares provided much of the midcap impetus. Logica topped the list with a 107.5p gain to 1,472.5p. Misys rose 145p to 2,570p and Sage 70p to 1,275p. Besides the seemingly heady prospects for computer shares the market was caught on the hop by an acute shortage of stock.

The shrinking pool of shares was also a big factor in Footsie's progress, up 19.7 to 5,764.8. Fund managers are actively chasing shares and with few investors prepared to sell the inevitable pressure is upwards.

The Smallcap index was also strong, gaining 9.9 to 2,457.6, a record.

Utilities, particularly waters, made a contribution to Footsie's advance. After suffering in recent days on worries that the Government planned a much tougher regulatory environment, they found themselves floating on a rising tide of hope as the industry regulator, Ofwat, adopted a soft line over pricing which could influence any Westminster review.

Thames Water surged 50p to 895p; Seven Trent, said to have been gloomy about the government review, put on 35p to 929p and United Utilities rose 29p to 799p.

Even electricity shares responded. National Grid gained 16p to 338p and PowerGen 26p to 850p.

Elsewhere, the market drew strength from company results although Abbey National was a disappointment, off 100p at 1,220p. Centrica put on 6p at 108p on figures and the prospect of a Panmure Gordon review next week.

Takeover speculation cooled after Wednesday's rampant display but the hunt for possible targets continued, providing a whirl for one of the market's oldest candidates, United Biscuits.

In busy trading the shares hardened 13.75p to 272p, equalling their year's high. UB has enjoyed some spectacular surges in the past on takeover speculation. The shares once shot to 435p on talk of a bid from Cadbury Schweppes. It seemed the two did hold talks but price, not personalities, was the stumbling-block.

Signet, the old Ratners, sparkled with a 2p gain to 38.75p, highest for four years. An American bid or even a defensive alliance with Argos, fighting a hostile strike from Great Universal Stores, provided he encouragement.

Lasmo rose 20.5p to 277.5p on results. Its decision to pull out of Colombia could cause concern for supporters of Emerald Energy and others involved in the South American country.

"Almost every well we drill out there is a success. But they are just not material reserves ... with the capacity to support Lasmo's target of 50,000 barrels a day," said Joe Darby, the chief executive. Emerald, due to report on its Colombian drilling any day now, firmed to 9p.

Tullow Oil, as stories that its Bangladesh agreement had finally been signed went round again, rose 7.5p to 156.5p.

Ronson gained 3p to 9.5p on stories that Victor Kiam, the man who bought Remington because he liked the company, would become chairman. The struggling luxury goods group confirmed it was involved in a refinancing but did not comment on the Kiam rumour.

Photobition, the printing services group, gained 21.5p to 325p on the Henderson Crosthwaite investment dinner.

Colt Telecom's remarkable progress continued with an 85p gain to 1,235p. Last spring the shares were 267.5p. Other telecoms were firm, with BT up 4p to 606p and Vodafone 3.5p higher at 542.5p. Racal Electronics, on HSBC support and rumours of a telecom deal, rose 17.5p to 288.5p. SDX Business Systems, supplying sophisticated telephone switchboards, put on 5p to 227.5p after Dresdner Kleinwort Benson dialled a 300p target.

3i, the investment group, improved 26p to 571p after an investment presentation.

Motor shares, nursing some of the market's lowest ratings, firmed, helped by the Lex Service figures. Lex ended 14p higher at 460.5p.

The coming flotation of Desire Petroleum, owning the largest Falkland Islands offshore acreage, continued to create action at 20 per cent shareholders Greenwich Resources, up 0.25p at 21.75p, and Westmount Energy, 2p to 168.5p.

Computer group Spargo Consulting jumped 22.5p to 195p. Figures are due next week.

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Java Developer - Banking - London - Up to £560/day

£500 - £560 per day: Orgtel: Java Developer FX - Banking - London - Up to £560...

HR Business Analyst, Bristol, £350-400pd

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Account Manager - (Product & Account Management, Marketing)

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Account Manager - (Produc...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried