Market Report: Man tops the FTSE 100 as bid talk dominates again

For a second day, the takeover talk was going gangbusters, with rumours in at least four major UK-listed companies doing the rounds. Top of the blue chips at the end of the session was the world's largest listed hedge fund, Man Group. The group rose 12.5p to 229p predominantly after broker Numis raised its recommendation from "reduce" to "buy" a day after it shareholders approved the acquisition of rival GLG. Some gossips in the market were also reheating talk Man itself could be a target. Two months ago, the chat was of potential suitors including Goldman Sachs, although there has been little evidence to support it.

A late flurry of gossip the previous evening had seen takeover rumours swirling around Autonomy and yesterday they really took hold. The IT group was close behind Man, rising more than 5 per cent. The shares were up 85p to 1,716p as the trading floors buzzed with speculation US giants Microsoft or Oracle could be keen. One trader said yesterday: "It feels like people are picking these stocks at random to get things going in the market".

Another strong performance came from the defence company BAE Systems. The group revealed after the market closed on Wednesday it had won a contract worth $629m to upgrade 1,700 Caiman mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, which it first sold to the US military earlier this year. Investec yesterday recommended buying the stock, saying that its price of 6.8 times full-year earnings in 2011 "seems to be discounting an overly bearish outlook", adding the market "appears to be overlooking BAE as a solid global business with secure earnings". The shares rose 11.3p to 313.3p. The FTSE 100 was lacklustre as traders struggled for direction. It ended the day up 4.6 points at 5,371.

Just to buck the trend Panmure Gordon poured cold water on takeover talk in Arm Holdings. The stock had soared last week, but analyst Nick James said the chances of a sale were "extremely low given both strategic and valuation considerations". Panmure reiterated its "sell" rating and cut the target price from 275p to 265p. Mr James said: "While Arm is well exposed to multiple structural growth drivers, it is still also exposed to a weakening macro picture." The note pointed to Intel's warning last week that third quarter revenue would be about 5 per cent below the midpoint of its guidance range. Arm finished near the foot of the top tier, giving up 14.1p to close at 360p.

A note from Citi put precious metals under pressure. Analyst Jon Bergtheil said the precious commodities had outperformed base metals since the beginning of 2007, with gold the biggest beneficiary. Yet, he believes the forecast period of slow economic growth, with less systemic risk, "suggests there will once more be a level playing field between base metals and precious commodities". The only gold stocks likely to thrive are those with good production growth, he said, downgrading African Barrick Gold and Hochschild Mining, citing "limited three-year production growth". The former gave up 6p to close at 611.5p, with its mid tier counterpart falling 9.1p to 362.5p.

The lights were going out at Scottish & Southern Energy, named as one of four facing a regulatory probe over potential mis-selling. The utility company gave up 16p to close at 1,155p as Ofgem said it could face heavy fines alongside EDF Energy, npower and ScottishPower. Elsewhere in the utility sector another stock was bolstered by, yes, bid speculation. The talk of a 760p per share bid hardly caught on as United Utilities ended up 5.5p at 587.5p.

On the second string, Go-Ahead Group was steaming after investors backed its full-year results. The 77p rise to 1,165p came despite the group posting a 24 per cent drop in full-year profits as sales fell at its rail group, and an uncertain outlook for the next year because of potential government spending cuts. The group's results did beat expectations and it also announced the sale of its Meteor business for £11m.

One stellar performer on the FTSE 250 was Yell Group, the debt-laden directories business. The stock rose 15 per cent at one stage, following yet more bid talk although details were sketchy. It closed up 2p to 17.79p.

Yell was overtaken at the close by McBride. The group, which makes own-brand products for supermarkets, had suffered a tumble in June when it warned that its costs were set to rise. The analysts were backing the stock again yesterday as management was much more upbeat sending the shares up 19p to 160p.

On the downside Britvic had lost its effervescence as Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from "outperform" to "neutral" and cut the price target from 530p to 510p. The shares retreated 5.1p to 471.4p following the news.

On the growth market, Havelock Europa was up 20 per cent as it found a new chief executive. The company, which describes itself as a "retail and educational interiors and point of sale printing group" has hired Eric Prescott, former managing director of Balfour Beatty Rail infrastructure services. The shares rose 1.5p to 9p.

Also on Aim, Stanley Gibbons Group, the stamps group yesterday announced the £300,000 takeover of assets from specialist stamp dealer Nigel Haworth. The group said the deal would be financed out of the its cash balances. The shares rose 0.5p to 134p.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution