Market Report: US enthusiasm puts a good head on JD Wetherspoon

Pub management companies, a relatively new breed as far as the stock market is concerned, continue to command glamour ratings, with JD Wetherspoon leading the pack.

Wetherspoon jumped 41p to an 832p peak after it disclosed that it had raised pounds 13.5m selling shares to US investors. This sale occurred despite chairman Tim Martin's comments earlier this month that he was well blessed with bank facilities.

It is, however, the US love affair with Wetherspoon that is intriguing the market. After all, US institutions are not renowned for appreciating or supporting UK pubs. Indeed several of the pub buy-out schemes, put into place after the Government's ill-fated Beer Orders forced the big brewers to sell many of their pubs, were abandoned when promised US support was withdrawn once top management got involved.

Yet Wetherspoon, selling at more than 32 times last year's earnings, is pulling in the American punters. Janus, a large US fund, has 16.21 per cent and even before the latest placing, involving 5 per cent of Wetherspoon, it was estimated that US investors had more than 40 per cent of the company's capital.

Wetherspoon, with more than 100 pubs, came to market at around 158p four years ago. The dramatic upsurge has already prompted some City analysts to suggest that the shares should be regarded as a sell. Williams De Broe, forecasting profits of pounds 305m this year against pounds 264m, hung a sell sign over the shares.

Takeover hopes have helped to ferment Wetherspoon's heady performance, with Bass and recently Greenalls regarded as the mostly likely to strike. Regent Inns, another managed pubs group, has also enjoyed a soaraway market life, climbing from 135p to more than 1,000p.

But as the managed pub chains prosper, the tenanted operations remain in the doldrums, with most close to their flotation levels.

The market remained under the BSE whip, with many food shares drifting lower. Overall sentiment was depressed by the implications of the beef disaster, particularly its impact on the nation's economy. Government stocks lost more than half-a-point and sterling remained under some pressure on the foreign exchange market.

Glaxo Wellcome was 23.5p healthier at 835.5p as the company held investment meetings in the City. Talk of a takeover bid for Pfizer, the US group, was dismissed.

P&O, duly confirming the proposed sale of its Bovis building side, gained 8p to 522p, despite the signalled profits slump.

Leading oils were strong as the crude price stayed firm and confident noises emerged from a US oil conference. British Petroleum gained 12.5p to 568.5p and Shell 7p to 865p.

Holliday Chemicals gained 9p to 122p. The group upset its supporters with a profits warning in January and earlier this month duly confirmed figures of pounds 15.4m against pounds 19.3m. There is, it appears, a growing well of support, with the drug operations creating interest. SBC Warburg and Kleinwort Benson are said to be positive on the shares. Target price is put at 150p.

Tomkins, the buns-to-guns conglomerate, added 2.5p to 260p with talk of a share buy-back merging with buy support from Warburg.

Food shares again presented a sorry bunch. Dalgety fell a further 11p to 413p; Northern Foods 3p to 180p and Unigate 7p to 400p. There were signs of a rally, or, perhaps, dead-cat bounce in some slices of the industry. Robert Wiseman rose 13p to 150p and Sentry Farming , which said BSE was "unlikely to materially affect" profits, 9p to 168p.

Worries about today's figures from Kingfisher, which are expected to embrace a shake-up at the B&Q do-it-yourself chain, lowered the shares 15p to 533p.

Vodafone slipped 2p to 248p ahead of today's Orange launch. The Orange flotation is expected to be struck at around 205p; dealings start early this afternoon and a short-term level of 250p is predicted. Such a price should result from Orange's inclusion in the FT-SE 100 index, which should force Footsie funds to scramble for the shares. Once they are satisfied the shares could fall back.

The Securicor revamp lifted the voting shares 218p to 2,023p; the non- voting "A" 120p to 1,175p and Security Services 118p to 1.168p.

Micro Focus, the computer group, responded to the arrival of a new chairman and chief executive with a 57p rise to 650p; Filtronic, on a profits warning, lost 22p to 353p; Panmure Gordon is going for little-changed profits of pounds 3.5m.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
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

Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

£45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on