Market Report: Takeover bids, real and rumoured, boost second liners

The stock market is mesmerised by the tantalising prospect of a frenzied takeover spree.

After merger Monday, when deals estimated at pounds 67bn were on offer, the market has cast around, seeking likely victims.

With many companies cash rich and their management prepared to chance their arm there is talk the City's corporate community is in danger of being overwhelmed by the activity.

Takeover bids, real and rumoured, have in recent weeks provided a spur for non-Footsie shares with the FTSE 250 index and the FTSE SmallCap index hitting new peaks.

There is also a distinct impression many second and third liners offer better investment value than their peers.

Yet, although the two indices have climbed to new highs, they still lag a long way behind Footsie.

Since the start of the year Footsie, including dividends, has risen a remarkable 31 per cent; the 250 index has managed a 13 per cent gain and the SmallCap 12.3 per cent.

Much of yesterday's takeover speculation was among supporting shares. BICC, in late hectic trading, surged 21.5p to 208p, highest for six months, on excited talk of a bid today. The Italian Pirelli group is the name in the frame.

English China Clays, up 14p to 290.5p, was another tipped for action with RioTinto rumoured as the predator.

T&N rose 2.5p to 256p as US group Federal Mogul lifted its offer to 260p; not high enough, some argue, to scare off a counter bidder. WH Smith, planning a break-up, edged ahead 3.5p to 405.5p.

Little engineer Widney jumped 9.5p to 45.5p after a sharp advance forced the admission it was in bid talks.

Among Footsie constituents EMI had an early spin, up 15p, on renewed speculation of a Seagram bid, but by the close the gain had been cut to 3p at 613.5p.

BT, on the bid mania engulfing the American telephone industry, led Footsie with a 24.5p gain to 471.5p. Ladbroke managed a 10p canter to 307.5p and Vodafone 10.5p to 357.5p.

BAT Industries softened 4.5p to 596.5p after agreeing terms with Zurich Insurance.

Norwich Union, where whispers of a Lloyds TSB bid are often heard, enjoyed another busy session, climbing 6p to 362p, highest since flotation. Royal & Sun Alliance fell 7p to 624.5p on profit worries.

National Power, up 14.5p to 565.5p, and PowerGen, 7p to 759.5p, enjoyed Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull backing. SBC Warburg put an 800p target price on PG.

Coach builder Henlys motored 25p to 396p. Talk of major contracts is in the air. Stagecoach, which saw analysts on Wednesday, and Cowie are thought to be near placing orders. The company is also believed to be close to clinching a Far Eastern acquisition.

Capita, a management group, rose 24p to 313.5p on US presentations and Vega, the software provider hit by a profit warning last month, rose 20p to 245p after winning an RAF contract worth pounds 6m.

Jarvis, the construction and rail maintenance group, advanced 31p to 318.5p; it is near to agreeing terms with the Government for the takeover of the Fastline maintenance company.

Medeva introduced a little comfort into the drugs sector, gaining 20.5p to 245.5p after offering optimistic projections for its hepatitis drug.

Newsquest, the newspaper group, made a disappointing debut, reaching 252.5p from a 250p placing.

Property developer Wiggins touched a 12.5p peak after confirming it intends to resume dividend payments.

Coffee Republic frothed 6p higher to 26p. Its first deal since coming to market, via a reverse takeover of the Arion property business, is a link with French Connection to run a coffee bar at the fashion chain's Covent Garden store.

Metalsrussia, which arrived on Wednesday, rose a further 9p to 79.5p. It supplies steel from the former Soviet Union to Asia.

Chemical Design fell 20p to 90p; the shares have collapsed 120p in two days on a profit warning. Titon, a ventilation group, fell 14p to 92.5p after warning profits would be below expectations at around pounds 1.5m.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
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

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice