Market Report: Doorstep lender IPF is victim of a wrong call

Panicked investors were attacked for being too quick to press the "sell" button yesterday, as International Personal Finance (IPF) plummeted towards the foot of the mid-tier index. The doorstep lender shifted down by as much as 13 per cent in the wake of a profits warning from Austrian bank Erste Group, prompting punters to make a connection between the two.

IPF – which focuses on emerging markets, especially in eastern Europe – was knocked back after Erste admitted it was on course to post a huge loss of €800m for the year, thanks mainly to being forced to take a major hit by the Hungarian government on foreign currency loans in the country.

However, scribblers quickly rushed to the defence of IPF, with Numis Securities' James Hamilton pointing out that it was not exposed to the loans in Hungary. He added that therefore there was "no good reason" for the read-across, but although the support helped to lift the group off its session lows, IPF still closed 22.4p, or 8.82 per cent, worse off at 231.5p.

France and Germany's promise over the weekend to unveil a recapitalisation plan for the banks within weeks, plus rising hopes over the discussions regarding the next set of bailout funds for Greece, kept the FTSE 100 bouncing. Climbing 95.6 points to 5,399, the benchmark index has added more than 9 per cent in the four trading days since it reached a 15-month low last week.

Arm Holdings grabbed the top spot after the Cambridge-based group was boosted by yet more success from Apple. The US giant, which uses Arm's technology in its products, said it had received more than a million pre-orders for the new iPhone in just one day, helping the chipmaker to shoot up 36.5p to 591p.

Bid mutterings saw Petrofac push up 55p to 1,298p, although the vague chatter did not mention the identity of the supposed suitor. Takeover talk was also circling around the miners, with Xstrata being suggested as both predator and prey. The Anglo-Swiss digger advanced 27.1p to 937.1p after Credit Suisse gave its approval to the oft-floated idea of a merger between the company and the commodities giant Glencore International, which was 2.65p higher at 424.65p.

Analysts from the broker said the recent divergence of the companies' share prices meant that Glencore "could use its premium-rated equity and pay a significant premium without a deal being dilutive", as they reiterated their "outperform" advice on both.

The City gossips, meanwhile, were suggesting that Xstrata could be in the market to make its own acquisition. Vague chatter speculated that both it and ArcelorMittal could be interested in making an offer for AIM-listed Coal of Africa, although the South Africa-focused group – a frequent subject of bid rumours – eased ahead just 1.25p to 47.5p despite the talk mentioning a potential price of 120p a pop.



Rumours that one of its peers could be setting a trap helped Rentokil Initial to clean up on the FTSE 250. The multi-tasking group, which does everything from pest control to hazardous waste disposal, was lifted 2.95p to 69.2p off the back of whispers it may be about to receive an approach.

The whispers suggested its Danish rival ISS may be considering a move worth 110p a share, while possible private equity interest was also mentioned. Analysts weren't keen, however, noting that Rentokil has been the subject of similar mutterings before, although they pointed out its share price has more than halved since last year.

It was yet another miserable session for Premier Foods, as the owner of Mr Kipling cakes dropped again in the wake of Friday's profit warning. After losing over 40 per cent then, the food producer dropped a further 12.2 per cent to 5.09p, with both Royal Bank of Scotland and JP Morgan Cazenove slashing their target prices.

The latter cut its to a mere 1p, with the broker's analysts reducing their earnings forecasts by 40 per cent. "In our view, Premier Foods needs to make disposals to pay down its debt," they said, adding that a sale of Hartley's jam or Branston pickle could fetch £58m or £38m respectively.

Like the wider market, the oil explorers were being given a helping hand by the price of the black stuff rising, while positive comments from HSBC also helped. The broker's analysts said the recent sell-off in the sector had left it "looking attractive", and upgraded its advice on both Enquest – up 8.05p to 101.6p – and Premier Oil – up 11.9p to 372.4p – to "overweight". The former, meanwhile, got a further helping hand by yet more bid chat.



Petroceltic spurted up 10.56 per cent to 5.97p after the explorer's chief executive said it was in discussions over a possible sale of a stake in its Algerian operations, while the AIM-listed group also revealed promising flow test results from its field in the country.

FTSE 100 risers

Old Mutual 113.3p (up 5.5p, 5.1 per cent) Insurer's latest climb means it has now managed to add nearly 16 per cent in just four days.

Weir Group 1,650p (up 73p, 4.63 per cent) Engineer rises as Credit Suisse reiterates its "outperform" recommendation.

Burberry 1,261p (up 21p, 1.69 per cent) Upmarket fashion brand finishes in the blue ahead of its first-half update tomorrow.

FTSE 100 fallers

Compass 528.5p (down 6.5p, 1.21 per cent) Catering company retreats despite Royal Bank of Scotland keeping its "buy" rating.

Imperial Tobacco 2,153p (down 24p, 1.1 per cent) Cigarette manufacturer hit by investors moving away from defensive stocks.

National Grid 646p (down 3.5p, 0.54 per cent) Utility cut down by profit-taking after gaining 4 per cent over last three sessions.

FTSE 250 risers

Howden Joinery 113.4p (up 8.2p, 7.79 per cent) Kitchen supplier's share price has advanced 11 per cent in four days.

Barratt Developments 90.8p (up 4.2p, 4.85 per cent) Housebuilder manages to extend its winning run to a fourth straight session.

London Stock Exchange 851.5p (up 24p, 2.9 per cent) Climbs even as Goldman Sachs cuts its target price to 930p from 980p.

FTSE 250 fallers

Supergroup 713.5p (down 13.5p, 1.86 per cent) High street fashion retailer has its price target slashed by Espirito Santo to 635p from 925p.

JD Sports 835.5p (down 12.5p, 1.47 per cent) Clothing chain pegged back after a large rise on Friday.

SDL 645.5p (down 3.5p, 0.55 per cent) Investors choose to bank profits as software group falls for first time in four days.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
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

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star