Poise returning to electricity sector

MARKET REPORT The FT-SE 100 index jumped 25.2 points to 3,199.9 and the FT-SE 250 index 15.8 to 3,505.1. Turnover was 772.7 million shares with 25,344 bargains. Government stocks showed modest gains.

Electricity shares are slowly overcoming worries about regulator Professor Stephen Littlechild's current review, prompted by the controversial Trafalgar House bid for Northern Electric.

Although still a long way from the heady levels achieved when takeover euphoria swept through the industry they have made steady progress, scoring gains of more than 50p in the past two weeks.

The suspicion Professor Littlechild's hastily launched review has merely delayed, not destroyed, takeover action has prompted the new switch-on.

London Electric demonstrated the market's willingness to go along with bid gossip. The shares were at one time up 25p as stories swirled that Total, the French oil group, was preparing to pounce.

The electricity group said it knew nothing about it and when Total denied it was stalking LE the shares settled at 655p, still up 11p.

The French group admitted it was developing in the UK but said it had "no plans to take a stake in this company".

The successful rebellion, led by US arbitrageur Wyser-Pratte, to force a reluctant Northern Electric into calling a special shareholders' meeting which could lead to a 950p a share offer, also helped sentiment. Northern shares rose 33p to 810p.

The complaining shareholders want Northern to put Trafalgar House's revised and lower offer of 950p to shareholders. Trafalgar, up 4p to 56p, cut its terms as a result of the Littlechild intervention.

Yorkshire Electric, regarded as one of the most vulnerable shares in the sector, rose 12p to 691p. The shares touched 599p in the aftermath of the new Littlechild review.

Some observers think electricities may have recovered too quickly, ignoring looming difficulties. Besides the June review, they point to next month's local elections and likely Tony Blair comments at a conference, "Regulating in the public interest".

The rest of the stock market was in fine form with the FT-SE 100 index up 25.2 points (after 30.9) to 3,199.9. The recovery was exaggerated by the expiry of the April Footsie option contracts. But another record- breaking New York performance, weak retail sales reducing pressure for higher interest rates and more settled currency markets helped inspire the market.

BAT Industries was the best-performing blue chip, up 13p to 456p. Once the take over bid by Compagnie Financiere Richemont for Rothmans International goes through BATs will be the sole constituent of the FT-SE tobacco sub- sector and represent the only direct investment in the industry.

The market speculated that the tobacco segment will be scrapped and BATs moved into the conglomerate sector, where resides the other main tobacco player, Hanson, or switched into insurances.

Rothmans edged ahead 2p to 608p in busy trading with some speculators snatching their profits. The Richemont offer is 625p. Belated hopes Vendome, the luxury goods group controlled by Richemont, will get the Rothmans treatment lifted the shares 19p to 497p.

Lloyds Chemists continued to recover from the 184p low hit after a restructuring was felt necessary. The shares edged ahead 3p to 218p with some suggesting Kingfisher, another hard-pressed group, could be interested in bidding.

The oil gusher took British Petroleum up 8p to 451p; Shell 7p to 729p and Enterprise Oil 11p to 410p. Even Lasmo joined in, up 4.5p to 168p.

The new breed of coal miners remained in demand. Coal Investments put on 12p to 118p; RJB Mining 7p to 431p and Waverley Mining 6p to 130p.

Intercare, the health group, improved 5.5p to 69.5p on the possibility of a management buy out; Anagen put on 12p to 57p following further US test progress for its AuraFlex blood-testing system.

Rolls-Royce added 3.5p to 170.5p on the 82.6 per cent take-up of its placing and Alvis, the defence vehicle group, made further headway, up 2.5p to 92.5p.

General Cable continued to drift lower, off 2p at 184p. United Breweries, a pubs chain, returned at 1.25p against a 1p placing level. Trading was printed at almost 70 million shares. They were suspended ahead of a restructuring at 6,75p.

Guinness frothed 4.5p higher to 468p on Barclays de Zoete Wedd support; Scottish & Newcastle ignored Kleinwort Benson sell advice, improving 6p to 543p. Caverdale, an acquisitive car dealer, held at 13p.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manager - (communications, testing, DM)

£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...

Guru Careers: Finance Account Manager

£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Direct Marketing Manager - B2C, Financial Services - Slough

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas