Market Report: Mayfair man on losing streak as Footsie surges

 

The chatty crowd had a result this week. "She's gone", said one. "She will not be missed." Margaret Cole's reign as the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) enforcer wasn't exactly one of terror, but at times she did make her starting assumption that the City was crooked and take inquiries from there.

Misdeeds, some imagined rather than real if you believe a certain sort of broker, were punished like never before.

"She seemed to think that if you bought shares because of a takeover rumour, you were doing something wrong. That's what I do for a living," said a man in Mayfair who admits he's on a losing streak.

Lately the rumours he's backing aren't coming good. This stock market lark might be harder than Cole imagines.

Still, she's now on "gardening leave" and seeking fresh opportunities.

The talky traders have thought for a while now that with the FSA in the process of being disbanded their activities are under less scrutiny from the watchdog than they might be.

They could be wrong of course, but that's what they think. Not that they are trading on inside information. But only because they haven't got any inside information. You heard anything treacle? Come on, you must have.

One man who seemed to be getting away with it was Sergey Aleynikov, the former Goldman Sachs programmer found guilty of stealing proprietary code from the bank's high-frequency trading platform. But a US federal appeals court reversed the conviction late on Thursday, a ruling that was eyed with more than passing interest here.

Human day traders don't like their computer rivals. They reckon the high-frequency boxes hoover up momentum share gains they regard as rightfully theirs.

Still, no one should have done too badly of late. Since the summer the FTSE 100 is up getting on for 900 points. That's a bull market however you slice it, and those that have ridden this train are again talking as if they've made money from being brilliant rather than from merely being on the right platform.

The thing is, the FTSE isn't even looking expensive so the rally should keep going. It trades on 10.6 times future earnings, compared to a 10-year average of 14 times. Many big companies are sitting on piles of cash they will surely have to spend at some point, which means 2012 could see more than a few takeover deals.

The FTSE was up again today, a bit, adding 19.58 points to 5904.96, and Greece was the word, again.

"When we have a bad day, it's because of the Greeks. When it's a good day, it's because of the Greeks," said one dealer.

Expectations that the negotiations over Greece's bailout deal might – perhaps, maybe – conclude by Monday helped sentiment, especially towards banks.

Investors hope that progress in Athens will ease exposure to the European debt crisis. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has its annual results on Thursday, was jostling for the top spot of the FTSE 100 podium.

"Risk appetite returns for banking shares," declared Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.

RBS was up 0.8p at 27.6p. Fellow taxpayer-owned lender Lloyds Banking Group – which will follow in RBS's footsteps with 2011 numbers a week today – lifted 1.1p to 35.5p.

Not everyone buys the optimism.

"Everyone has their fingers in their ears on Greece," said Louise Cooper at BGC Partners. "The bailout still hasn't happened, and the risk of it all going horribly wrong has increased substantially."

She's a gloomster, that one.

Decent numbers from industry titan Anglo American helped the miners muscle along.

Following a bout of profit-taking on the metal diggers over the last three sessions, Vedanta was 57p weightier at 1312p, Randgold Resources rose 80p to 7060p, Xstrata picked up 19p to 1196p and Kazakhmys gained 5p to 1124p. Anglo itself was also more expensive, having shed nearly 8 per cent over the past five trading days, after reporting a record £7bn annual profit. The stock rose 30p to 2674p.

Stronger than expected retail sales offered some respite to battered shopping shares. Marks & Spencer gained 4.7p to 352.6p, and Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, lifted 2.2p to 280.2p.

Sainsbury's was again the subject of speculation more reheated than one of its ready meals: the idea that major shareholders the Qataris are in town to discuss a £9bn, 500p -a-share bid helped its shares rise 5.5p to 301.5p. Even those who don't believe it seem happy to chase this one from time to time.

Missing the fun was Tesco, down just 2.4p at 137.9p, as a knocking note from Nomura warned that the supermarket giant's introduction of trial initiatives "will take time to change customer perception and behaviour".

FTSE 100 Risers

Intercontinental Hotels 1410p, (up 28p, 2 per cent)

Has had a stellar week. Storming profits and a much better dividend increase than expected charmed investors, who also believe the hotel giant will have a strong Olympics.

IMI 960p (up 33.5p, 3.6 per cent)

Engineering giant is paying up to £43m for Brazilian valve maker Interativa to give it even more firepower in South America.

FTSE 100 Fallers

British American Tobacco 3115p (down 33p, 1 per cent)

Was hit by a downgrade from Société Générale. This seemed to outweigh Goldman Sachs’ positive stance, which reckons a fair price would be £46.

Experian 945.5p (down 6p, 0.63 per cent)

Faces an inquiry in the US. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau plans to keep a closer eye on credit reporting companies and debt collectors.

FTSE 250 Risers

Home Retail Group 109.1p (up 6.3p, 6 per cent).

It led the FTSE 250 risers thanks to decent retails sales which suggest all is not lost on the high street. That should be good news for its battered Argos chain.

Sports Direct 286.8p, (up 10.8p, 3.9 per cent)

Is already seen as one of the winners from the recent retail fall out. The shares floated at 300p in 2007, making founder Mike Ashley a billionaire in the process.

FTSE 250 Fallers

Domino’s Pizza 479p (down 10.2p, 2 per cent)

Is enjoying an online sales surge. People staying home instead of visiting restaurants and pubs might be one factor. There was some profit taking yesterday.

Misys 309.6p, (down 4.4p, 1.4 per cent)

Is attracting takeover interest. Its proposed merger with Temenos could even be derailed – bidders have until 6 March to declare an interest. 

News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
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

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?