Playing a game of Footsie

The successful efforts of Williams to gain promotion to the FT- SE 100 index of top shares may all have been in vain, judging by the subsequent fall in its share price last week. .

On Wednesday, the conglomerate headed by Sir Nigel Rudd was one of five stocks to climb into the FT-SE 100 judged by market capitalisation. It was a close run thing, according to Stephen Vale, secretary to the FT- SE Actuaries UK Indices Committee, which overseas quarterly changes to the constituents.

New entrants last Wednesday morning were determined by relative market capitalisations at closing stock prices on Tuesday. Williams which closed at 374.5p was valued at pounds 2,916m and made the grade. Next, capitalised at just pounds 14m less with its shares at 776p, narrowly failed to re-enter the FT-SE 100.

Williams rejects charges that it carefully chose to release last week's half-year figures on Wednesday morning so that it would be too late for any stock price changes to affect that vital Tuesday night calculation.

"It had nothing to do with it," said a spokesman. "We always release figures on Wednesday. " Williams in fact released the equivalent 1996 results on the Tuesday, though the last set of full year figures were given out on a Wednesday.

Ahead of the profit figures, Williams shares had risen around 20p in the previous two weeks. On the release of the figures the shares promptly shed 15p and ended the week at 354p. According to the Williams spokes- man, the company had in fact expected its shares to rise not fall on the figures. Either way, it is doubtful whether Williams would have gained entry on the basis of the lower numbers.

Williams entry is not the only one to raise eyebrows. Sun Life & Provincial gained entry by choosing Tuesday as the day to issue a huge volume of new shares to complete its merger with Axa Equity & Law. Without that increase in size, it would not have qualified for entry to the FT-SE 100.

Some reckon inclusion is not that important except perhaps for gaining the attention of overseas investors who may not look beyond the FT-SE 100. The argument that tracking funds are forced to buy the shares loses some force since most, according to analysts, tend to track the wider FT-SE 350 index.

Nothing about the FT-SE 100 surprises Guy Fisher, a quantitive analyst with NatWest Markets in Edinburgh. "Quite often I notice for example that the shares of companies that look like they are going to drop out of the index start to go up for some reason," said Mr Fisher.

Last week, Williams went in at 85th place with the other new entrants being Norwich Union, Billiton, Woolwich, and Sun Life. Under the rules, any company not in the FT-SE 100 that is 90th or higher by capitalisation automatically goes in. Any company already in the index that has fallen to 111th place or lower automatically goes out.

As five companies qualified for automatic entry, the five lowest in the FT-SE 100 dropped out - Tate & Lyle, Hanson, Imperial Tobacco, Mercury Asset Management and Burmah Castrol.

Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

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
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
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride