Market Report: Inmarsat loses recent appeal as City blows cold on bid rumours

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The Independent Online

After bid chatter boosted the mobile satellite company in recent weeks, investors were hanging up on Inmarsat today.



The group slid 15.9p to 487.5p, taking the wooden spoon, after spoilsport City scribblers talked down the rumours of potential private equity interest that have helped it to rise nearly 30% over the past six weeks.

Analysts from Citigroup warned of regulatory concerns in America and the uncertain prospects for its core mobile satellite services business as two major risks that would act as a deterrent to anyone eyeing it up.

They downgraded their recommendation to "hold". Morgan Stanley's Terence Tsui was even more bearish, cutting his rating to "underweight". He warned that problems facing its US partner LightSquared's plans to build a high-speed wireless network had put "at risk the sustainability of payments to Inmarsat for 2012 and 2013."

However, Tsui was more confident over the group's bid prospects, saying its "spectrum assets in the US and the rest of the world could be seen as attractive for private equity".

Although vague takeover chatter helped engineer Cookson advance 16.4p to 460.8p on the mid-tier index, there was little else for gossips to get excited about. As a result, they turned towards Italy where further bid rumours - this time suggesting the rail-signalling group Ansaldo could have up to four potential suitors - prompted the firm to surge more than 5%.

Back on these shores, all of the focus was on statement from America's Federal Reserve due after the bell, as traders bemoaned the lack of activity in the City. "It is very quiet, so the market is following the path of least resistance, which is down," said one as the FTSE100 slipped 14.5 points to 5349.21, although its losses were pared after the latest minutes from the Bank of England's MPC showed it was edging closer to further quantitative easing.

The banks were charging ahead, with Lloyds Banking Group grabbing the top spot after climbing 1.5p to 35.8p. Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays ticked up 0.4p to 23.5p and 2.2p to 156.3p respectively.

After shedding nearly 3% yesterday thanks to a profits warning from German peerLufthansa, British Airways-owner International Airlines Group (IAG) managed to pull out of its nose dive, rising 1.6p to 151.9p.

Charles Stanley's Douglas McNeill was bullish on the likelihood of its buying bmi, saying such a move "might prompt the market to re-appraise the value of the stock" as he upped IAG's rating to "buy".

Elsewhere, Grolsch-brewer SABMiller edged up 6p to 2226.8p after agreeing to buy its Australian rival Foster's in a deal worth £6.5billion.

A number of top-tier stocks in the red were trading ex-dividend, including International Power (down 4.1p to 331.9p) and Petrofac (off 18p to 1381p).

Another losing its payout attraction was Aviva. The insurer dipped 8p to 299.8p - having also suffered the blow of UBS adding the group to its "least preferred" list.

Down on AIM, IndigoVision - which provides video security systems for airports and casinos - shed more than 14% of its share price, dropping to 182.5p, after admitting its operating profit for the full-year had more than halved.

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