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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
Life and Style
tech
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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 - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'