Norwich is no help as funds rush to buy financials

MARKET REPORT

The Norwich Union discount could put further pressure on City institutions striving to adjust their portfolios to the new financial climate.

The insurer's members-come-shareholders will be offered up to half the shares available in the group's flotation. The stock market took the view that the cut-price offer was sufficiently generous to encourage Norwich members to take up extra shares, thereby reducing the amount available for outside investors, particularly institutions.

The flotation of Norwich and a host of building societies has thrown the normally carefully structured weightings of many funds into disarray.

Hence the institutional rush to buy financial shares to try and keep their ratios intact. "Norwich has offered fund managers little comfort", said one market man.

The price range was lifted from 220p to 265p in March to 240p to 290p. Members get a 25p a share discount.

The Norwich arrival, just after Chancellor Gordon Brown is due to deliver his first Budget, is, on present form, seen as a surefire success, with the shares expected to move comfortably above 300p. But Mr Brown could upset the Norwich apple cart if his measures put the market into retreat.

Legal & General was the most obvious beneficiary of the Norwich terms, gaining 20.5p to 455.5p. Others up in sympathy included GRE and General Accident.

Many observers believe Norwich, despite a capitalisation of up to pounds 5.6bn, could quickly find itself involved in takeover action. The soon-to-be- quoted Halifax is one possible bidder. But Norwich may not stand still to await its predicted fate. It may well decide to strike the first blow.

Footsie climbed 34.5 points to 4,642, reflecting relief over the no-change US interest rate decision. At one time the index was up 46.3.

The biobabes had a shocking time. Celltech fell out of its pram after Bayer decided to abandon a septic shock drug developed with Celltech. The German giant had made positive noises about the treatment in the past few weeks..

Celltech tumbled 289p to 341p; Scotia 10p to 392.5p and Biocompatibles International 32.5p to 1,330p. Cantab Pharmaceuticals gave up 47.5p to 917.5p.

Bluebird, the toys group, was another major casualty, slumping 63p to 106.5p as it warned about profits. The shares touched 385p 18 months ago.

Sketchley, off 23p to 65p, Drings of Bath (1p to 2p) and Coutts Consulting (12p to 35.5p) were others inflicting trading gloom on their shareholders. London & Edinburgh, a publisher which came to market in August forecasting profits of pounds 400,000, fell 2.5p to 9.25p after saying profits would in fact be around pounds 220,000. The shares were floated at 10p.

Rolls-Royce flew 5.5p higher to 245p. After the market closed the aero engines group disclosed that once again overseas shareholders could be forced to sell shares as foreign investment had reached the maximum 29.5 per cent of the capital. The ceiling was imposed by the Government to ensure Rolls remained under British control. Rolls and British Aerospace, which has a similar ceiling, have without success made representations to get the restriction removed.

In the past when foreign shareholdings have broken through the ceiling, Rolls has been forced to sell the offending shares, creating angry responses from the shareholders involved who are often out of pocket.

Land Securities, up 29.5p to 873.5p, led properties higher as it reported a 13.3 per cent NAV increase. British Land added 28p to 588.5p and Brixton Estates 11.5p to 210p.

Cadbury Schweppes, weak lately, rose 16p to 541.5p following analyst meetings and Merrill Lynch offered a gentle nudge to Railtrack, up 8.5p to 440p. Engineer Cobham rose 5p to 643.5p following the Henderson Crosthwaite investment dinner.

Pilkington's new chief executive lifted the shares 6p to 121.5p with the warrants 3.5p higher at 17p.

An encouraging trading statement from Arjo Wiggins Appleton helped the hard-pressed packaging and paper sector. Arjo put on 6.5p to 174p and Rexam 7p to 283p.

Publisher Adscene held at 149.5p; its decision not to sell its commercial printing arm is seen as supporting takeover speculation.

The day's newcomer, the Eagles rugby club, was kicked into touch, trading at 33.5p against a 40p placing.

Airtours continued its up-and-away performance, rising 12p to 1,013.5p on the summer holiday boom and speculation that the US cruising group, Carnival, could mount a bid.

Taking Stock

Aminex, the oil group where the World Bank and Russian investors have substantial shareholdings, rose 11.5p to 85p, a new high, after disclosing its long-awaited Russian deal. It has agreed to develop, in partnership with local interests, oilfields in Tatarstan, a Russian republic, which has sizeable reserves. Aminex, run by Brian Hall, already has substantial interests in the former Soviet Union. Last year it lost $955,000 against $2.4m in the previous year.

Peterhead, a crane and forklift truck group born out of the old World Fluids shell, rose 3p to 69.5p after reporting a pounds 714,000 first-quarter profit and the pounds 500,000 acquisition of a Humberside crane company. Although operating in England and Scotland, Peterhead's shares remain on the Dublin market.

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
News
people
News
The Commonwealth flag flies outside Westminster Abbey in central London
news
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
Arts and Entertainment
tvWebsite will allow you to watch all 522 shows on-demand
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Rock to play DC character in superhero film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
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

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Project Manager - ETRM/CTRM

£70000 - £90000 per annum + Job Satisfaction: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor