Market Report: Arm pushes for a chips deal in Vegas

News out of Las Vegas doesn't usually rock the benchmark index in London, but its annual Consumer Electronics Show this week has been perking up Arm Holdings' share price, it would seem. The microchip designer was top of the tree and its share price put on more than 4 per cent today, closing up 36.5p to 863.5p following a stream of updates this week, which included a new licensing agreement with Broadcom.

Reports today suggested that James Bruce, Arm's lead mobile strategist, had said chip giant Intel should ditch its relationship with the x86 architecture and instead use Arm's designs for its chips. So what is said in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas.

Intel's market share in mobile devices is just 1 per cent, as Arm holds a near monopoly. But Intel is trying to give Arm a run for its money and has launched a low-cost smartphone that could be a threat. The show packs up today and investors will be digesting the news of the past week.

Marks & Spencer was the talk of the town back in London for another reason. Chief executive Marc Bolland hasn't been having a good week. He had to spend Wednesday evening talking analysts and journalists through the retailers' latest results after Sky News leaked the results early. Then once the market digested the weak results the shares spent most of today at the bottom of the blue-chip index, finishing down 2.2p to 368.8p.

Its food sales weren't bad over Christmas, but its clothing sales are the real problem. Investec's Bethany Hocking points out that it is the sixth consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth decline for general merchandise.

While Next, up 24p to 3,925p, has been riding high on the back of its strong Christmas sales results, M&S has disappointed. Is this a terminal problem or just a Christmas blip?

Panmure Gordon thinks M&S is "attractive at 340p" and gives a target price of 379p, down from 397p "to reflect a greater level of risk". But Panmure's Jean Roche is encouraged by its spring/summer collection which "already looks a lot stronger than the past few seasons".

Banking stocks were still in favour after the relaxation of Basel III banking regulation on Monday. Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the best performers, adding 6.9p to 356.8p.

The distributor and outsourcer Bunzl announced a string of acquisitions; the shares gained 34p to 1,049p.

The blue-chip index continued its strong run during morning trade today as investors took confidence from Chinese trade data that came in above expectations. But the FTSE 100 index stumbled in the afternoon trading session and only managed to move up 2.86 points to 6,101.51.

The builder CRH was the subject of extremely vague bid rumours, accompanied by a share price rise of 8p to 1,233p.

The media group WPP's clients are returning to Channel 4 after a £250m advertising dispute was settled. This was bad news for shares in rival ITV, which had been benefiting from the row. ITV's shares slipped 1.6p to 107.7p.

The weak link at the pest-control group Rentokil Initial has been its parcels business, but City analysts indicated it has other problems lurking beneath the floorboards. HSBC's Matthew Lloyd reckons Rentokil's disposal or fixing of its parcels business City Link is "so distracting a sideshow that other issues have been overlooked by the market". The parcels game was supposed to be a licence to print money as more and more of us were shopping on the internet, but City Link has been unable to make a profit. A management buyout has been on the cards, but Mr Lloyd thinks that any plans to fix City Link's problems could actually be far more difficult.

Delivering parcels profitably is not the only difficulty. Mr Lloyd thinks Rentokil "has persistent problems elsewhere in the business" which he thinks other analysts have glossed over. The rat-catcher also has a hotel laundry business and Mr Lloyd notes the group "still loses too many textile and washroom contracts".

Mr Lloyd downgraded the stock to underweight – a sell – from neutral and reduced the target price to 77p from 87p. The shares were one of the worst performers on the mid-cap index and declined 2.45p to 91.95p.

The buildings materials group SIG said sales were flat and it warned that the construction markets would remain challenging this year. But pre-tax profit should come in at £82m for last year and the shares built their way to the top of the index, up 8p to 135p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Training/Learning and Development Coordinator -London

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Training/Learning and Development Co...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

.NET Software Developer (.NET, C#, ASP.NET, front-end)

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

C# Web developer (C#,MVC,ASP.NET,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: C# Web d...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
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
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
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
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried