Market Report: Lloyds set for £400m St James's Place boost

Taxpayer-backed Lloyds is set to bank more than £400m from a sale of shares in St James's Place, giving investors a chance to grab a larger chunk of the wealth manager. Last night, after the markets closed, Lloyds Banking Group announced its plans to sell 102m shares in St James's.

The part-nationalised lender inherited the stake via its rescue of HBOS in 2008.

The sale of 20 per cent of its stake – which could raise around £400m – leaves it with 37 per cent in the assurer, advisor and wealth management group. It is expected existing investors in St James's will snap up the shares being placed through Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Rumours of the sale have circulated for months but the size of the stake is smaller than expected.

Mid-cap listed St James's shares edged back 0.5p to 536.5p before the announcement while Lloyds' lost 0.07p to 50p.

Punters were filling their baskets with shares in supermarket group Morrisons and online grocer Ocado yesterday as speculation of talks resurfaced.

Yesterday chat centred on reports that Morrisons may look at working with Ocado to help it move into online food retailing – rather than a previously rumoured full-on bid for the mid-cap group.

Morrisons' under-pressure chief executive Dalton Philips is expected to announce a move into online grocery retailing at its results on Thursday.

Shore Capital's Clive Black and Darren Shirley are not fans of either stock, but they say after Thursday's update that "we should be able to put to bed one way or another whether or not Morrison is likely to bid for Ocado."

Morrisons' shares rang up a 5.5p gain to 268.5p and were further boosted by news that Invesco Perpetual fund manager and investment guru Neil Woodford had upped his stake to 7.69 per cent. Ocado picked up 3.5p to 138p.

The markets were deathly quiet - no new European or US data meant traders could be forgiven for falling asleep at their desks. The market moved sideways for much of the day but ended the day up 20.05 points to 6503.63 – the highest since 12 December 2007 and was 10.27 per cent up on the beginning of the year.

The only economic data out there was higher-than-expected inflation numbers on Chinese government spending which weighed on the banking and mining sectors. Barclays, down 7.1p to 311.5p, and Royal Bank of Scotland, 4.9p weaker at 301.3p, were some of the worst performers.

Software scribblers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch took the red pen to Sage yesterday amid concerns of its foray in to cloud computing.

The "cloud" — a network of remote internet servers to manage and store data — is the big new trend and the software group has been trying to make its mark.

But the analysts think rival SAP's "aggressive push to accelerate growth in its cloud business" with a €2 billion (£1.7 billion) revenue target by 2015 looks more promising. They think the market "should remain sceptical (on Sage)… given that historically very few companies have managed to transform themselves… to credible cloud players."

Aggressive share buybacks could affect the stock's liquidity and Bank of America's tech team slashed the stock's rating from neutral to underperform with a 330p price target for the shares.

The shares lost 7.5p to 341.9p — ending near the bottom of the blue chip index.

Staying on the tech theme, over on the mid-tier index, Anite dialled up a 25p loss to 130p, after its update spooked investors with a cautious outlook.

There was better news for London Stock Exchange after UBS upped its share price target to 1,350p and the shares added 9p to 1392p.

But analysts at UBS were not so keen on broker Icap and said "volume declines could be material as clearing becomes compulsory, costs increase and users turn to futures." They rate the shares of the group, which was founded and run by Michael Spencer, a sell with a 305p price target for stock that is down 12.4p to 330.2p.

The UK's biggest bookmaker Ladbrokes gained ground with plans for a new website after it struck a deal with online software firm Playtech. Ladbrokes was up 14.6p to 239.8p and Playtech rose 18.5p to 570p.

Over on AIM, a decision to defer a referendum on the future of offshore oil exploration in the Bahamas to allow Bahamas Petroleum to dig for oil helped it up 1.25p to 6p.

Berkeley Mineral Resources will announce that production is now expected before the year end at its processing plant in Zambia. The shares were static at 2.42p.

Biofutures has raised £32.5m via share placement in conjunction with its proposed acquisition of Malaysian biofuels specialist Platinum NanoChem and the shares returned from suspension and added 3.72p to 6.82p.


Snap up shares in Kirkland, Investec urges. The broker gives a target price for the precious metal explorer of 692p a pop - almost double the present price of 369p - and says yesterday's "weak" third-quarter numbers "are not reflective". Investec adds that Kirkland "is close to delivering the growth turnaround it has been targeting".


Liquidate your holding in Rentokil, Canaccord Genuity advises. The broker is expecting 7 per cent profit growth from the Queen's ratcatcher, assuming a "smaller loss" at courier unit City Link. But "the scope for a meaningful improvement in profitability is limited". Shares are 90.5p with a 72p target.


Cantor Fitzgerald wants us to hang on to shares in Hydrogen, giving a target price to match the current price of 93.5p. The broker says there are "reasons to be positive" about the recruitment group, with management highlighting "a pick-up in trading towards the end of the year". But "caution is still warranted".

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride