Market Report: Shares in no mood to fret about Budget

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The Independent Online
THE blue chips Glaxo Holdings and Kingfisher encouraged the stock market to shrug off calls for tax increases and spending cuts yesterday.

At one time the FT-SE 100 index was up 38.1 points. It closed with a 23.7 gain at 2,837.7.

Glaxo's interim results were better than expected and the shares responded with a 22p gain to 684p. Kingfisher's earnings- enhancing French acquisition and accompanying rights issue pushed the shares 30p ahead to 557p.

With Blue Circle Industries, up 12p at 227p, back in the takeover frame, shares were in no mood to fret about the International Monetary Fund's suggestions that next month's Budget should embrace higher taxes and spending cuts.

With President Bill Clinton's own tax and spending moves to cut the huge US budget deficit turning out to be far less severe than some had expected, gains were scored throughout the lists with, once again, second-line and fringe shares enjoying a big slice of the action.

BCI was the subject of some determined trading. Tentative indications that the building industry could be picking up were, of course, a factor in the advance. But some felt there were indications that corporation action could be about to break out.

Hanson, which is beginning to look in urgent need of a UK takeover, is one possible candidate to unleash a bid. However, any Hanson strike could run into Whitehall problems.

Minorco, the South African- controlled group that has 35.8 per cent of Charter Consolidated, has made no secret of its desire to increase its UK presence. It could well decide to mount a bid in association with Charter, a cash-rich conglomerate since it sold its shareholding in the metals group Johnson Matthey.

Racal Electronics put on 3p to 189p as two of its former constituents went on the City circuit. Chubb Security rose 4p (after 9p) to 277p. It made presentations to UK investors and is due to present itself in the US next week. Vodafone Group improved 7p to 392p. It is meeting its top 20 institutional shareholders.

Bass, the brewing and hotel group, is another meeting City institutions. The shares frothed up 9p to 585p. Carr Kitcat & Aitken believes they are cheap. It also likes Scottish & Newcastle, up 3p at 427p, and Whitbread 'A', unchanged at 455p.

Granada Group advanced 6p to 381p, helped by stories it had threatened to sell the Coronation Street soap opera to the satellite station BSkyB and hopes its computer operations were about to be sold.

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch detergent and food giant, edged ahead 10p to 1,153p on Barclays de Zoete Wedd support; BAT Industries was helped by unchanged US tobacco taxes and a Hoare Govett push, gaining 6p to 964p.

Jim Slater's first tip in the Independent, the health group Amersham International, gained 21p to 716p.

Among oils British Petroleum edged forward 1.5p to 262.5p. US interests now have 24.1 per cent. Ramco Oil Services, on US support, rose 11p to 109p. Inchcape, the international trading group, continued to reflect profit upgrades, gaining 7p to 591p.

Amstrad, reflecting a rush of call options, rose 1p to 24p. Danka Business Systems, the US group, jumped 18p to 573p on continued transatlantic buying. The shares have climbed from 170p in the past year.

Builders were firm with a positive statement from Countryside Properties helping to spur recovery hopes. Countryside gained 5p to 124p; Barratt Developments was 4p higher at 125p. Tarmac gained 4p to 115p as UBS Phillips & Drew said buy.

In a firm stores sector Boots advanced 9p to 500p. A line of 820,000 shares was cleared at 495p. Great Universal Stores 'A' gained 23p to 1,608p.

Merchant banks drew inspiration from Kleinwort Benson's results. Kleinwort improved 17p to 378p; SG Warburg 9p to 626p. Brown Shipley, the finance group, edged forward 3p to 38p. KredietBank of Luxembourg sent out its 30p-a-share offer. Guinness Peat has built a 7.49 per cent stake. It was unclear whether it was still buying but there was some action in the shares, which are not often traded.

Anglia TV gained 17p to 230p, seemingly on hopes of a bid. Hillsdown Holdings was another to attract takeover speculation, up 5.5p to 155p.

Dalepak, the convenience food group, which has warned of lower profits, remained in demand as bid hopes continued to swirl. The shares rose 10p to 291p. They have climbed 29p in three trading days.

The estate agent Sinclair Goldsmith was firm ahead of suspension at 35p. It is talking merger with the rival Conrad Ritblat.

Cupid, the bridal group, gained 7p to 53p on the appointment of Richard Shaw as chairman and the cash injection plan.

Ticketing Group, the old Expedier Leisure, stuck at 1.75p. Clive Ng, a director, lifted his shareholding to 9.5 per cent.

Shares moved ahead yesterday. The FT-SE 100 index, at one time up 38.1 points, closed 23.7 higher at 2,837.7. The FT-SE 250 index rose 22.9 to 3,040.3. Trading volume reached 637.2 million shares with 29,428 bargains recorded. Government stocks were little changed

PizzaExpress made a sizzling debut. The shares opened at 47p and touched 95p before closing at 81p. A placing and rights took place at 40p. PizzaExpress was reversed into Star Computer Group. The restaurant business was founded 30 years ago by chairman Peter Boizot. It has about 70 outlets. The new group is expected to produce profits of about pounds 3.5m.

Shares of Aminex, the Irish oil group bidding pounds 2.8m in shares for Tuskar Resources, returned to the Irish exploration market yesterday. They traded at 6p. Aminex's chairman, Brian Hall, is pressing ahead with the bid, despite Tuskar's acquisition of North Sea oil interests, including 1 per cent of the Buchan Field, from another Irish oil group, Bula Resources.

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