Market Report: Hammerson back in the takeover bid spotlight
There has been no shortage of takeover chatter around Hammerson lately. The possibility of the developer – whose portfolio includes the Brent Cross and Bullring shopping centres in north London and Birmingham – being snapped up has caused much excitement, and the bid spotlight was switched back on yesterday.
This time, vague rumours were suggesting the blue-chip group may be a possible target for an unnamed Middle East sovereign wealth fund, with market gossips claiming a potential bid might be worth up to 650p a pop. The chatter was accompanied by a late rally for Hammerson which was 3.2p better off at 420.5p by the bell.
Dealers were dismissive of the speculation, however, although a number of analysts have been talking up its attractiveness. In March, JP Morgan claimed that Hammerson was one of the sector's most likely targets, while earlier in the month, Hong Kong-based broker CLSA suggested Aussie rival Westfield may want to consider an approach.
The FTSE 100's recovery gathered pace, with the index flying up 98.8 points to 5,403.28 amid optimism over today's meeting between eurozone leaders, while there was mixed data from the States.
A lot of eyes were still on Wall Street and the aftermath of the Facebook IPO as traders, unsurprisingly, noted demand from punters trying to short Mark Zuckerberg's creation. At the same time, some in the Square Mile were wondering whether even the fund management side of Morgan Stanley – the float's lead underwriter – may have shorted the stock.
Back on these shores, encouraging noises from China over infrastructure investment cheered the heavyweight diggers. With tomorrow the one-year anniversary of Glencore's listing, there was talk the end of the lock-up period of a number of employees' shares will up the commodity trader's free-float. This will result – so goes the theory – in an increase in the group's Footsie weighting, prompting buying from index trackers.
Such a scenario would please investors in Xstrata, with whom Glencore (up 10.1p to 361.6p) has agreed an all-share merger. The miner ticked up 29.9p to 972.9p after the head of its copper division said he expected Chinese demand for the metal to jump later in the year.
Another beneficiary of big-wigs' confidence was Arm Holdings, which rose 11.8p to 489.8p. The chip designer's boss, Warren East, played down the idea it will be severely hit by the eurozone crisis.
Industry data was not helping Morrisons as the grocer slipped 2.4p to 268p. Meanwhile, Oriel's scribes warned that its decision to launch another petrol price campaign "could betray poor underlying trading".
Carnival sailed up 67p to 2,059p after Exane BNP Paribas' Matthias Desmarais raised his price target on the world's largest cruise company to 2,500p. The analyst argued that economic data, as well as updates from both its rivals and company executives, pointed to a faster-than-expected recovery in bookings following the recent problems suffered by its Concordia and Allegra cruise ships.
Bumi shot up 52p to 435p on the FTSE 250 after Barclays started coverage on the digger – co-founded by Bullingdon Club alumnus Nat Rothschild – with an "overweight" rating, calling it a "diamond in the rough".
Also pushing it higher was the appointment of Bumi chairman Samin Tan as president commissioner of major subsidiary PT Bumi Resources. This was seen by some as a step towards a possible merger between PT Bumi and PT Berau (another Bumi subsidiary), something for which Mr Tan has previously shown his support.
Asset manager Intermediate Capital rocketed up 37.8p to 265.1p following its full-year results, while HomeServe plummeted 66.5p to 160.9p on the news the FSA is investigating the emergency plumber over possible mis-selling.
Down on Aim, Bellzone Mining powered up 4p to 22.25p after getting the green light from the Guinea government to start commercial production.
Gold Oil closed 1.22p stronger at 5.3p amid optimism that its search for a farm-out partner for its drilling off the shore of Peru could be over soon.
Meanwhile, a successful first day of dealings for entrepreneur Algy Cluff's latest venture saw Cluff Natural Resources finish at 5.13p after shares were placed at 5p.
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