Market Report: Taking Stock

Pemberstone has completed its third building society property buy in three weeks. Latest involved 46 residential properties in Kent and cost pounds 1.5m. The company buys occupied properties (often repossessions), collects rents until the tenant leaves and then sells at a premium. It also offers an escape route for business expansion schemes. Profits in 1996 were pounds 2.1m; a sharp improvement is expected. The shares rose 4.5p to 59p.

ML Laboratories gained 11p to 120p, against a 468.5p peak. City presentations start this week. Chairman Kevin Leech is keen to bring the group's accounting policy more in line with other biotechs and appoint more non-executive directors.

Foreign & Colonial Enterprise Trust jumped 23p to 222p. It has 6.9 per cent of Computacentre, valued at pounds 25m. Asset value is put at 204p.