You wait ages for some takeover rumours and then they all come along at once.
While all eyes were on BG and Shell’s tie-up, several other potential deals snuck out. Microchip maker Arm Holdings leapt 21p to 1,123p as the rumour mill got cranking once again on speculation that Apple, a major customer, could swoop for the Cambridge company. The renewal of the gossip came from a Chinese news report citing a possible 1,500p a share price tag.
Elsewhere, Sky rose 16p to 1,039p on hopes that Vivendi could swoop for it. The French media group said the broadcaster was just one of a number of options being considered.
Despite all the hype, the FTSE 100 failed to hang on to early gains and ended the day down 24.36 points at 6,937.41. SpreadEx’s Connor Campbell said: “The losses for Royal Dutch Shell began to outweigh the gains elsewhere in the sector due to the sheer size of the company. On top of this came another astonishingly high US crude oil inventory, rising to 10.9 million barrels in the sharpest weekly increase since 2001. This contributed to the gradual slide of the FTSE 100 as the oil sector lost some of the impressive gains it had made in the morning.” Shell ended down 189p at 2,019.5p.
Friends Life dropped more 5 per cent at the open and was forced to remind investors that its ex-dividend date is today, not yesterday. This helped pare losses and Friends Life ended down just 1.1p at 429.3p. Meanwhile merger partner Aviva, which was trading ex-divi, announced it had lost out on a deal that saw a Singaporean bank sell its insurance to customers, worth 20 per cent of new business in the country. Aviva dipped 11p to 550p.
Challenger bank Shawbrook got off to a decent start as shares began trading unconditionally, ticking up 5.75p to 308p.
Online advertising specialist Blinkx dipped 3p to 27.5p as it confirmed earnings and revenue would be well below the previous year’s figures.
Trinity Exploration could sell off all or part of its business after kicking off a strategic review today. The news came as the company reported a fall in production, leaving shares 2.25p lower at 17p.