Market Report: JJB up as rumours over Footlocker bid return

Market gossips turned their attention back towards JJB Sports, as rumours swirled that the troubled sports retailer could be the target of a takeover bid. Not for the first time, the company at the centre of speculation was Footlocker, with the US trainer chain supposedly looking to make a bid of between 10p and 12p a share. Chatter about it and JJB has been around for a while, with rumours in June that it was considering making an offer of 30p, and it also re-emerged last month.

JJB, which was founded by Wigan Athletic's owner Dave Whelan in 1977, saw its third day of rises in a row yesterday, putting on 0.32p to 6.42p, despite Panmure cutting its recommendation on the company to "hold". However, analysts were quick to pour cold water on the idea of an approach from Footlocker, with one pointing out that JJB was not yet close to regaining the losses it suffered after issuing a profit warning a fortnight ago.

"If Footlocker wants to enter the UK market, it is something they might well look at it," said another analyst, who was also sceptical about the likelihood of an offer being made. "The question is whether the quality of the sites would be fit for purpose, as it were."

With the US shutting up shop for Thanksgiving, it was a quiet session on the market yesterday following a volatile few days, and the FTSE 100 finished 41.83 points better off on 5,698.93.

Investors were able to pore over the latest CBI distributive trades survey, which – combined with John Lewis releasing positive sales figures – brought some cheer for the retailers ahead of the festive season. As a result, Marks & Spencer booked gains of 9.1p to 384.1p and Next was boosted 19p to 2,097p.

The big movers on the top-tier index were the property companies, thanks to Capital Shopping Centres, which is in talks over a £1.6bn purchase of Manchester's Trafford Centre. Yesterday CSC revealed that the US firm Simon Group, which holds a 5.6 per cent share in the British company, had let it be known that it was looking at making a bid approach.

According to CSC, Simon – which did not give an indication of how much it may offer for the firm – asked for the Trafford Centre bid to be put on hold, a request which was refused. Still, CSC was fired to the top of the blue-chip index thanks to the news, moving 43.6p to 381p, helped by Nomura speculating that Simon's approach may spark an auction for the company.

It was joined near the top of the leaderboard by many of its peers, as Hammerson put on 18.4p to 405.8p while British Land was up 13.8p to 492p. Panmure Gordon's Andrew Saunders pointed to the fact that the latest developments came after reports about British Land buying Plymouth's Drake Circus mall and the Westfield Group selling 50 per cent of its new Stratford centre. "There's a perception that there may be a new wave of corporate activity and deal-making to be done in this sector," he said.

InterContinental Hotels was among the session's gainers, as the market welcomed its forecasts for two major markets. The hotel group, which owns the Holiday Inn chain, said that it expects operating profits of $44m to come from the Middle East and $21m from China. The numbers clearly impressed, and InterContinental climbed 25p to 1,167p.

The software firm Autonomy did not manage to regain Wednesday's losses, despite vague, reheated rumours of Microsoft making an approach doing the rounds, yet it still posted a gain of 20p to finish on 1,291p.

On the FTSE 250, it was DMGT which found itself at the bottom of the index despite the publisher of The Daily Mail releasing full-year figures that beat forecasts. Nonetheless, it dipped 20p to 544.5p as it warned it could be hit by the Government's austerity measures.

Brokers were rather more optimistic than the market, however. Investec kept its "buy" rating on the firm while Numis said that the outlook looked "encouraging in B2B", although it conceded that B2C was "more mixed".

Thomas Cook managed a slight gain of 1.5p to 190.5p, as it said that it would enter into a joint venture with the Russian travel company, Intourist. The British holiday firm will take a 50.1 per cent share of Intourist, and invest a mix of shares and cash to the value of around £29m.

The company also revealed that its expansion plans were not finished yet, however, and its chief executive said that it was hoping to move into the Chinese and Brazilian markets.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Regal Petroleum's revelation that it had received a number of enquiries over a potential takeover meant it rocketed by more than 45 per cent. Although Regal did try to play down hopes by saying that "there can be no certainty that any offer for the company will be forthcoming", the oil and gas explorer still soared 5.75p to 18.25p.

Meanwhile, its peer Bowleven was enjoying a more modest rise. During test drilling, it said, it had come across "further log evaluated pay" in one of its wells off Cameroon, news which meant it finished the session 20.5p higher on 338p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy