Market Report: Net gains at online retailers Ocado and Asos thanks to Goldmans

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The Independent Online

In finance Goldman Sachs often calls the tune, and yesterday the "Vampire Squid" was singing the praises of internet firms.

Goldman sparked a rush into e-commerce stocks after endorsing two high-profile online businesses: Ocado and Asos.

The bank added Ocado, up 13.3p at 333.3p, to its "conviction buy" list, arguing its price fails to reflect strategic advantages, and slapped a buy rating on Asos, 260p better at 4342p, reasoning that it is well placed to exploit the shift to online clothes shopping.

Investors flocked to buy the pair but, as one trader put it, "everyone's a buyer" and there wasn't enough to go around. Demand spread to other web-based business, out of favour just a month ago – Just Eat put on 14p to 218.75p, AO World climbed 17.75p to 246.75p and Boohoo was 0.5p better at 43.5p.

Hardware specialists also did well: microchip designer Imagination Technologies was up 11.4p at 220.7p after announcing a deal with the US software giant Oracle and another with a group of peers. Rival ARM Holdings put on 28.5p to 889.5p.

The FTSE 100 just missed out on its second day of gains this week, closing down 0.48 points at 6820.56. Royal Mail weighed heavily on the index, down 56p at 519p.

Smith & Nephew, maker of fake hips and inventor of the first plaster, rose 20p to 956p after the competition watchdog rubber-stamped its $1.7bn (£1.1bn) acquisition of the medical device business ArthoCare.

Trading on the midcap index was brisk, with many investors putting money away before half-term holidays next week. Among the best performers were bike retailer Halfords, up 46.6p at 488p, film distributor Entertainment One, 14.2p better at 284.7p, and healthcare specialist BTG, 26p higher at 547p after a price upgrade from Deutsche Bank.

Asian-focused oil and gas operator Salamander Energy fell 7p to 137p after reports it had received a bid, but at no premium. Investors had been hoping for a bid price of up to 195p a share.

Aim-listed Energy Technique, a maker of fan coils and heating products for hotels and offices, leapt 22.5p to 220p as it hiked its dividend to 2p and revealed a 27 per cent rise in sales.