Shares romp ahead in the grip of summer madness

Shares stretched to a record high as the stock market continued what some of the cynics describe as "summer madness".

Although trading was far from enthusiastic - many big hitters are still on holiday - and a technical situation arose in the futures market, there is no doubt shares have taken on a new air of confidence in the past two weeks.

Interest rate cuts are still in the air and the feel-good factor is seeping through to the consumer. The PSBR figures underlined the possibility of Budget tax cuts and the profit and dividend record remains strong. To pile on the pleasure New York has not, as so many predicted, toppled; it remains confidently overvalued. A low level of housing starts provided the latest encouragement.

It was in such an atmosphere that the FT-SE 100 index romped ahead 35.5 points to 3,872.9, easily topping the previous peak of 3,857.1, achieved five months ago.

Blue chips have been in exhilarating form for much of this month, scoring 10 gains and only two reverses. The supporting 250 index has been firm although it remains more than 200 points from its peak. It rose 10.4 to 4,366.4. Where to now? Some hopefuls expect Footsie to reach 4,000 by the end of the month; others have set their sights on 4,000 for the year- end. But after the latest run even the more cheerful 1996 estimates may have to be lifted.

The market could, however, struggle on Monday when it seems a large batch of shares are due to go ex-dividend.

For Thorn EMI - to be split into Thorn, a rental group, and EMI, a highly rated showbiz operation on Monday - it was a triumphant Footsie farewell. With the demerger, to the surprise of no one, approved by shareholders, the shares soared 44p to 1,833p, just below their high. The Thorn arm is expected to start trading at around 410p with EMI, seen as a takeover target, nudging 1,400p. NatWest Securities believe any bid price will be around pounds 20.

The arrival of twin thorns means that Cookson, the conglomerate, is dumped in the investment wilderness outside Footsie. After attempting to rally the shares fell back 2.5p to 248p, lowest for more than a year.

Railtrack was the best performing blue chip, gaining 9p to 248p on talk it had underperformed since it came to market in May and remains an appealing income stock.But some could not refrain from wondering whether corporate action loomed. After the takeover of Porterbrook, the rolling stock leasing company, by Stagecoach for a seemingly generous pounds 825m the once mundane railway industry could be ripe for a series of bids.

BSkyB, expected to produce a 56 per cent profit increase to pounds 256m on Tuesday, climbed 18p to 533p as Barclays de Zoete Wedd made encouraging noises.

Banks remained strong with Lloyds TSB, up 9.5p to 369p, taking up the running. Among merchant bankers Hambros, a long time takeover shot, rose 6p to 242p.

On the oil pitch British Petroleum climbed to yet another peak, 629p, with an 11p gain. Shell, enjoying SBC Warburg support, added 8p to 940p. Frost, the independent petrol retailer, pumped up an 8p gain to 113p on the lowering of the temperature in the petrol price war. It has risen 23p in two days.

Hanson suffered the humiliation of falling 3.5p to 163p after its lacklustre profit performance on Thursday and the lack of upbeat information about the four way demerger. UBS put the break up value at 160p to 164p. Earlier this year some analysts were talking about 240p. BTR lost 2.5p to 255.5p.

British Aerospace rose 11p to 964p on the Matra missiles venture. Elsewhere British Steel hardened 3p to 186.5p following Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull buy advice.

Bass, expected to at last clinch the takeover of the Carlsberg-Tetley brewing group next week was a shade easier but Allied Domecq, owner of half of CT, rose 6p to 449p.

RTZ continued to firm on the improving copper price, up 10p at 969p, and Bakyrchik lost 33p to 293p following the loss of a Kazakstan gold licence by a consortium in which it is involved.

Colleagues, a recruitment group, produced its second profit warning within two weeks and fell another 26p to 119p. Birkdale, confirming its cash call, edged forward to 7p. The marketing group is raising pounds 2.5m.

Allied Leisure gained 4.5p to 43.5p; it has completed the acquisition of the last of 19 Granada bowling businesses.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence