Market Report: Arm Holdings goes from top dog to biggest loser


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Ah, the highs and lows of the public market – Arm Holdings started the day at the top of the blue-chip index but by the close of play it was the biggest loser.

The microchip designer jumped at the opening thanks to news overnight of bumper results from Apple, largely thanks to sales of its new iPhones, which use Arm chips. But it quickly fell back to earth as investors digested its third-quarter figures. While earnings were largely in line, average royalty per chip fell due to a quicker-than-expected shift towards lower cost microcontrollers. Société Générale added that Arm’s $350m fourth quarter revenue forecast was “underwhelming”. Arm tumbled 45.5p to 806p.

Elsewhere the FTSE 100 was a jamboree, enjoying a robust 105.26-point gain to 6,372.33. CMC Markets’ Jasper Lawler put the rise down to better-than-expected growth in China and speculation that the European Central Bank was considering widening its asset purchase programme to include corporate bonds.

A turn higher for oil prices also helped, with BG Group adding 37p to 1061.5p, Tullow Oil up 18p at 526.5p and BP climbed 11.75p to 433.65p.

Traders were talking up the chemical giant Croda as a potential bid target, with Dow Chemical and BASF named as potential suitors. Croda is vulnerable, down 15 per cent since the start of the year after the strong pound forced a profit warning. Takeover talk has helped Croda book three days of gains, rising a further 38p to 2,093p.

The retail investor favourite Quindell was buoyed 22p to 162.5p by news that it has signed a five-year deal with a major Canadian insurer, thought to be Aviva Canada. Quindell will provide telematics technology – the black boxes installed in cars to let insurers charge personalised premiums by monitoring driving. Notably, the mysterious hedge fund Roble SL, which has been shorting Quindell since February, reduced its short position from 5.03 per cent to 4.46 per cent, its first such reduction.

Northern Petroleum climbed 2.75p to 16.12p after what was described as “outstanding” production capacity at its first well in Alberta, Canada.