Mobile phones have ring of confidence despite Wall St; MARKET REPORT

The persistent ring of mobile telephones jerked the stock market into life although New York's tantrums continued to dominate proceedings.

The buzz of excitement was sparked by the latest round of sales figures with three of the top four players reporting strong performances.

Orange, the nation's third-largest mobile group, said its customer base had grown by 109,000 in the first quarter of the year, putting it within hailing distance of the cherished 1 million mark.

The Orange display coincided with One2One, partly owned by Cable & Wireless, producing a better-than-expected advance to 620,000. On Tuesday Vodafone made an encouraging contribution to industry volumes. Only Cellnet, owned by BT and Securicor, has still to reveal first-quarter figures.

Floated at 205p a year ago, Orange edged forward 1.5p to 208.5p after 212p; Cable rose 1.5p to 491.5p and Vodafone moved up 2.5p to 278p. BT, hit hard on Tuesday as worries surfaced of institutional unease over its MCI deal, rallied a little to 430.5p, up 2.5p.

Simon Carrington at Merrill Lynch has a 12-month target of 255p for Orange and sees Vodafone at 300p.

Footsie lost early firmness, ending 11.5 points lower at 4,236.6 as it became apparent New York, at least during London trading, was still hesitant. Tax-selling again accounted for much of the volume.

Banks were mainly lower with fulsome Salomon Brothers' support probably reducing Barclays' fall to 4p at 1,009p. The US investment house believes the "unwarranted decline" from February's 1,216p peak has created a buying opportunity.

General Electric Co was the blue-chip front runner, gaining 7.5p to 383p on reports it has bid for the French government's controlling stake in Thomson-CSF, the electronics giant. The British group still has to overcome counter-offers from French parties.

BG, the old British Gas, rose 3p to 164.5p in busy trading on hopes of a favourable deal with its Ofgas regulator.

Rank gained 7p to 427.5p on the long-awaited film sale and Newcastle Utd made a restrained debut, kicking off with a 5p premium at 140p. MEPC felll 12.5p to 472.5p on lack of takeover action.

Tesco managed a 1p advance to 347p as NatWest Securities offered support and the same house gave a further lift to EMI, the showbiz group, up 16p to 1,160p.

On Demand Information, the electronic publisher, rose 7.5p to 42.5p on talk of a large deal and an upbeat trading statement next week. The company seemed surprised about the rumoured statement. On Demand shares have been friendless since early last year when they hit 217.5p. They were 28.5p last month.

Drew Scientific, another former high-flier, seems to be recapturing its old enthusiasm. The shares rose 15p to 109.5p, highest for three years. Private investors have alighted on the health care group since last week's upbeat statement and institutional share placing at 52p. Cortecs International, the drugs hopeful, was little changed at 262.5p after Lehman Brothers said "take some profits".

Verity, with a wafer-thin sound system, jumped 5.5p to 54p on a licensing link with a US group and Trafficmaster moved ahead 42p to 307p after its system was selected for installation on part of the German autobahn network.

Premier Oil rose 2.5p to 39.5p, seemingly on support from Credit Lyonnaise Laing which has put a 48p valuation on the shares. Other oil second-liners were in fine fettle with British Borneo Petroleum Syndicate gushing 54.5p to 1,545p on expected developments at its Gulf of Mexico projects. But British Petroleum suffered from lower crude prices, off 9.5p at 696p.

Kenwood Appliances, the kettle maker, added 6p to 155p; last month the shares were bumping along at a 130p low. It looks vulnerable with profits for the year ending this month likely to be down from pounds 15.6m to pounds 4.5m. Rival Pifco, which has already made tentative approaches, could be tempted to return. The shares were 253.5p six months ago.

Pathfinder Properties, a former Business Expansion Scheme company floated last week at 17.5p, gained 11.5p to 35p, partly on hopes other BES ventures will be drawn into its fold.

Arcadian International, the hotel group, improved 5.5p to 55.5p. It has linked with Sir Terence Conran to develop the City's Great Eastern Hotel which will close this month and re-open in 1999. The hotel will be enlarged and banqueting and conference facilities created.

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
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
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
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

PMO Analyst - Risk - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Risk - Banking - London - £350 - £4...

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...

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?