Market Report: Sterling's fall starts a stampede into exporters

The stock market was in euphoric mood as sterling weakened and takeover talk swirled around.

The pound's dramatic slide started the stampede. Said one leading stockbroker: "I was in my bath when I heard on the radio about the pound's sudden fall from grace; as soon as the market opened we were ready to sell domestic shares, like supermarkets, and pile into exporters."

He was not the only one to get the message. Exporters, hit as sterling strengthened in recent months, were suddenly in rampant form as many of the groups with extensive home market exposure wilted.

The drugs groups enjoyed the additional benefit of yet another round of takeover speculation. SmithKline Beecham led blue chips with a 36.5p gain to 880p with some talking of a strike from Roche, the Swiss giant. Zeneca, for long the favoured Roche target, jumped 51p to 1,723.5p.

But a 32.5p gain to 956.5p by Glaxo Wellcome, which could eventually descend on Zeneca, illustrated the pound's strong contribution to the market's drugs fixation.

Others drawing encouragement from sterling included Grand Metropolitan, British Steel and Allied Domecq.

It was enough to lift Footsie 52.4 points, its best gain since November, to a 4,271.5 peak. The supporting FTSE 250 index jumped 29 to cross 4,600 for the first time, ending at 4,616.

Datastream calculated the market is now valued at pounds 117.6bn with yesterday's advance adding pounds 11.9bn.

Retailers were big casualties. A sudden round of negative comments on superstores also took its toll. For example Barclays de Zoete Wedd said sell Somerfield and ABN Amro Hoare Govett turned bearish on J Sainsbury, trading statement today, and Asda. But Kleinwort Benson, NatWest Securities and SBC Warburg were largely positive on the sector. The latest AGB Research supermarket survey, indicating a fall in Asda's market share, was another influence.

Worries about Sainsbury also eroded confidence. There are fears the group will produce a cautious trading message with some talking about the possibility of reorganisation charges and provisions against unexpected do-it-yourself costs. The shares, however, bucked the trend, up 5p to 392p.

The expected interest rate standstill until the election and what appeared to be a scramble by some institutions to climb on the equities bandwagon also contributed to the market's exhilarating display.

Fund managers were again on bid alert on the story German bank Dresdner is on the prowl. Mercury Asset Management gained 31.5p to 1,307.5p and Henderson Administration moved ahead 55p to 1,332.5p.

National Grid gained 3p to 215p with Kleinwort signalling a 240p target and Smiths Industries improved 19.5p to 774.5p ahead of an Albert E Sharp presentation.

Williams Holdings was helped 7p higher to 334p by BZW support. Dixons fell 8.5p to 498.5p; a seller of more than 1 million shares had to retire without dealing.

Senior Engineering put on 4p to 117p in busy trading on whispers of takeover action. William Cook, with an pounds 80m leverage buyout threatening the contested Triplex Lloyd offer, rose 45p to 720p. Triplex, considering its next move, firmed 2p to 190p.

Second-line drug shares were active with Medeva, up 8.5p to 288p following a link with Peptide Therapeutics, 47.5p higher at 289p. British Biotech came in from the cold, up 21.5p to 230p. Shield Diagnostics fell 7p to 130.5p after warning about losses.

Thomas Jourdan, the consumer group, held at 46p; David Abell has lifted his interest to 21.23 per cent. English National Investment Co, controlled by Joseph Lewis, scored a 49p gain to 172.5p as the Bahamas-based multi- millionaire granted the company an option on his pounds 40m, 25.1 per cent stake in Glasgow Rangers.

Critchley, an electric components group, fell 37.5p to 760p on profit downgrades and Ryland, the garage chain, reversed 12p to 88.5p as bid talks, thought to be with Sanderson Bramall, broke down.

Wainhomes, the builder, firmed to 134p; after the market closed Bellway Homes said it had sold its 4.8 per cent stake, seemingly at 130p. Barratt Developments was a victim of the switch to exporters, tumbling 10.5p to 275p and John D Wood, the upmarket estate agent, rose 9.5p to 99.5p after a 244 per cent interim profits gain to pounds 795,000.

Manchester Utd climbed 9.5p to 728.5p. Sharelink, the execution-only broker, said of its 10 most actively traded shares in the past week five were football clubs.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
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

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

£50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?