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 slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
newsTV star had been reported missing
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
Life and Style
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

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone