Glencore International was close to the top of the blue-chip leaderboard after its chief executive embarked on a multimillion pound spending spree yesterday.
The controversial commodities trader powered up 17.45p to 454.7p – its highest level for more than six weeks – in the wake of the news that Ivan Glasenberg had splashed out nearly £10m on buying its shares. The head of the Swiss group appears not to be finished, however, as Glencore also announced he plans to spend up to $54m (£34m) in total, which is the amount he is about to receive in dividend payments.
The acquisition of the shares worked out as an average of 435.02p a pop, with traders saying it was a "big vote of confidence" following the poor performance of Glencore's share price since its IPO in May. The group floated at 530p a share, but – amid fears over the future for commodity prices – by August its value had lost more than a third, reaching a low of 347.95p.
Overall, despite the benchmark index being knocked late in the session by Angela Merkel's attack on eurozone bonds as "absolutely wrong", the FTSE 100 still managed to maintain its recent upward momentum. Closing 30.87 points better off at 5,368.41, its four-day winning run has seen it add close to 5 per cent, with most of the banks moving up as European finance ministers met in Poland.
The gold medal position was taken by Inmarsat, which continued an impressive week that has seen the mobile satellite group gain more than 13 per cent. The company climbed 34.5p to 532.5p, despite continuing fears in the US over its partner LightSquared's high-speed wireless network plans, as takeover speculation continued to spread. Vague rumours of potential private equity interest have intensified over the week, while yesterday market gossips were suggesting a peer may also be mulling over a potential approach.
Reed Elsevier climbed 6.7p to 497.4p after Panmure Gordon revived break-up talk around the publisher. The broker's analyst Alex DeGroote, who called the performance of Reed's share price "uninspiring," said it should learn from the US group McGraw-Hill, which is splitting into two.
Claiming Reed's exhibitions unit was "a viable stand-alone business", Mr DeGroote went on to calculate that in a best case scenario, such a move could see the company's share price rise as high as 722p a pop.
ITV started off strongly, peaking at 59.90p after Deutsche Bank raised its recommendation to "buy", saying that the broadcaster tended to rebound strongly. Yet with it already having added more than 10 per cent in the last three days, in part thanks to reheated bid chatter, investors chose to bank profits and it finished 0.25p behind at 56.9p.
As disappointing figures late on Thursday from Research In Motion led the BlackBerry maker's share price to drop by a fifth on Wall Street, the US company's woes were hitting technology stocks globally. Among them was Arm Holdings, with the chip designer knocked back 15p to 595p.
Also hurting the Cambridge-based group was the decision by Goldman Sachs' analysts to take it off their "conviction buy" list, although they said they still viewed it "as one of the most compelling structural growth stories [in the sector]".
In its last day on the top-tier index, private equity group 3i – which owns lingerie brand Agent Provocateur as well as the upmarket retailer Hobbs – soared ahead, advancing 10.1p to 209.8p.
From Monday it and John Wood Group, up 2p to 571.5p, will begin trading as mid-cap stocks as the latest indices reshuffle is implemented, swapping places with Ashmore (1.8p behind at 402.2p) and Bunzl (3.5p ahead at 790.5p).
Down on the mid-tier index, Domino Printing Sciences was left with the wooden spoon, slumping 62p to 500p. Although the industrial printer said trading over the first 10 months of the year had met its expectations, it warned of dampening demand in Western Europe and North America, prompting it to its lowest share price formore than a year.
Ladbrokes pushed up 1.7p to 126.8p amid heightened hopes the bookmaker will soon strike a deal to buy Sportingbet. City voices were noting vague chatter it could increase its approach to 80p a share, although they were not completely convinced, and the small-cap online gaming company crept down 0.25p to 52.25p.
The city's stand-out loser was Aurelian, with the energy explorer having more than 65 per cent of its share price wiped out by a disappointing update from its Trzek-3 well in Poland. The group dropped 30p to 16p on the Alternative Investment Market after announcing gas recovery from the well significantly under expectations.
Elsewhere, Gulf Keystone Petroleum slipped back 8.5p to 169.5p in the wake of talk suggesting it may embark on a $200m (£126.5m) placing.Reuse content