Market Report: Countrywide debut cheers IPO market

Countrywide got off to a lively start on the London Stock Exchange yesterday as shares in Britain's biggest estate agent raced up 13 per cent to 397p, valuing the business at £848m. The shares had already been priced at the top of the range at 350p and experts said the high first-day premium bodes well for the £1.3bn flotation of Esure at the end of this week. The insurer is expected to be priced at the top of a 275p to 310p range today in time for trading to start tomorrow.

The estate agency's business could also get a boost from the Chancellor's decision to help the property market yesterday, which saw housebuilders' shares top the mid-cap index. Experts estimate that the Help to Buy scheme could drive output in the private house building sector by up to 10 per cent a year over the next three years.

Barratt Development led the charge in the sector, with its shares adding 15.8p to 255.6p, while Taylor Wimpey built up a 5.25p gain to 90.85p. Redrow was 7.4p better at 191.4p, and Bellway ticked up 47p to 1,230p.

Over on the benchmark index, the Chancellor's entire Budget statement could not lift the FTSE 100 out of negative territory and it dipped another 8.62 points to 6,432.7, its fourth day in the red.

Miners have been out of favour, but Jefferies' scribblers think "patient investors who buy high-quality miners such as Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton at current levels will be rewarded over time".

Rio added 28p to 3,135p but BHP lost 20p to 1,961.5p.

The Kazakh miner Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC) scrapped its final dividend and reported a $1.5bn (£990m) impairment charge from weak aluminium prices and a writedown to the value of its African operations, causing it to report a loss for the year, and the shares tumbled 5.8p to 306.9p.

Back on the mid-cap index, there was good news for the gold miner Centamin Egypt. Its share price had been hit by concerns over the licence of its mine in Egypt and delays to production. But the courts in Egypt have now suspended a judgment, which means that the group can continue to mine at Sukari while the appeal progresses. The shares dipped 2.2p to 56.45p.

The holiday group Thomas Cook has agreed to sell its North America arm to Red Label Vacations, and its shares travelled up 1.2p to 106.6p.

The online betting group Betfair was boosted by news that the Italian Finance Minister has signed a decree that will permit exchange betting in Italy. The shares ticked up 27.5p to 723p.

On the small-cap index, a warning on the value of shares in the credit card protection group Card Protection Plan (CPP) sent the price tumbling. CPP, which has been fined by the Financial Services Authority for mis-selling and is in refinancing talks, said there is "significant uncertainty" as to the value of its shares and what its "financing solutions may deliver to CPP's ordinary shareholders, particularly given the current trading price of the ordinary shares".

The admission is honest, but of no comfort to those who have seen the share price fall more than 93 per cent since it listed in March 2010 at 235p.

CPP, one of Britain's biggest providers of identity theft insurance, was fined £10.5m last year, the largest retail fine from the FSA. Shortly after CPP's statement the shares crashed and ended down 9p, to 5.5p.

Hamish Ogston, the founder who owns more than 50 per cent of the group, may look to inject more capital as part of the refinancing, but there are no signs of a deal yet.

The AIM index and ISDX got their own small boost from Mr Osborne, who scrapped the payment of stamp duty on shares traded.

The AIM-listed gold miner Aureus Mining said it had agreed a £72m debt facility deal to build Liberia's first commercial gold mine. The deal follows the £50m it raised in equity last November at 50p a share. The New Liberty mine will go into production at the end of next year and the shares glistened up 2p to 40p.

The oil explorer Bowleven said it has narrowed losses and is getting closer to selling a 50 per cent stake in its Bomono permit in Cameroon. The shares jetted up 4.75p to 100p.

The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style

ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Audit Manager Central Functions

To £85,000 + banking benefits: Saxton Leigh: You will be expected to carry out...

Credit Risk Audit Manager

Up to £90,000 + benefits: Saxton Leigh: Credit Risk Audit Manager required to ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week