Market Report: Rentokil defies critics to rise after key resignation

The resignation of a senior boss and a savaging from brokers is not normally the recipe for a share price rise, yet that is exactly what Rentokil Initial enjoyed yesterday.

The company, which does everything from pest control to cleaning, ended up 1.9p stronger on 96.85p, despite the announcement that the managing director of its City Link unit, Stuart Godman, has left by mutual agreement.

Reacting to the news, which came with Rentokil's third-quarter update, Prime Markets' Richard Curr said the group was in "crisis mode" and described the departure as "yet another nasty wake-up call for shareholders hoping that the worst might be over". JP Morgan Cazenove was also pessimistic, downgrading its advice to "underweight".

Yet investors clearly weren't put off, with City Index's Joshua Raymond noting that the "reassertion in the company's update of expected full-year profits is being seen in a positive light considering the troubles the firm has had of late."

He also added that Mr Godman's departure could generate some positive sentiment, suggesting that "perhaps shareholders are hoping a change of management there could reignite [City Link's] fortunes."

Overall, the FTSE 100 rose 4.99 to 5,812.95 as the markets endured a thin session, with one trader quipping that there were "quite a lot of very bored people in the City today". The release of November's producer input prices data was delayed until Monday, meaning they had to make do with the latest factory gate inflation figures, which were disappointing.

The miners enjoyed a positive end to the week after China decided to increase reserve requirements for lenders rather than raise interest rates, as feared. The sector was also helped by China's announcement that imports of copper and products in November were up 29 per cent.

Earlier in the week there was talk of Diageo having a potential interest in Fortune Brands' drinks unit, and yesterday the Guinness-maker was reported to have started discussions over buying the Turkish company Mey Icki, which specialises in raki.

The price mentioned was $2.5bn (£1.6bn), and Diageo was driven up 11p to 1,174p as RBS reacted fairly positively to the idea of the deal, describing Turkey "as an attractive long-term growth market".

Elsewhere, Centrica put on 3.8p to 324.5p, sparked by Nomura turning its eye towards the European utilities sector. Generally, the broker was bearish, but it highlighted Centrica as one of its "top long picks" and said that the energy supplier "offers one of the best growth rates in the sector".

Meanwhile, Cobham came close to the top spot, advancing 5.9p to 209.5p as gossip over a potential bid for the defence group refused to go away.

At the other end of the blue-chip index, Standard Chartered continued to fall after Thursday's trading update, shedding 47.5p to 1,762.5p. Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded its advice to "neutral", saying that although it still supports the stock, "with expectations already very high, risks to the rating seem skewed more to the downside as we enter 2011".

On the FTSE 250, the big loser of the day was Imagination Technologies, which fell nearly 5 per cent, dropping 18.6p to 363.9p. The chip maker, which releases its interim results next week, dipped after Numis said that although it remains "attracted to [Imagination's] positioning and prospects... with the stock up 76 per cent over the past year, [we] are conscious that a lot has been priced in."

Speculation that Punch Taverns may be taken over was the main point of discussion recently for watchers of the pub sector. UBS's Kate Pettem said she believed the chatter could prompt a rise in Enterprise Inns' share price, even if no bid materialises. As a result, the analyst upgraded the broker's recommendation on the company to "neutral" from "sell", despite describing it as "much less of a takeover candidate". Its share price duly benefited, closing up 2.6p on 117p.

Also making a positive move off the back of coverage from analysts was IG Group, after Goldman Sachs declared that its "valuation does not reflect its medium-term growth potential". The spread-betting company, which released a trading update on Thursday, was boosted 7p to 511p.

On the Alternative Investment Market, Regal Petroleum rocketed over 30 per cent after announcing that it was in "final-stage discussions" over a cash offer for the company of 24p-a-share. Regal climbed 5.75p to 24.25p following the statement, which came a fortnight after it revealed that it had received a number of enquiries regarding a potential deal.

It was take-off time for Flybe, with the domestic airline starting its first day of trading. The flotation raised £60m, and the group said some of it could be used for acquisitions. The shares were priced at 295p, reaching 341.25p – up 46.25p – by the bell.

FTSE 100 Risers

Smith & Nephew 650.5p (up 14.5p, 2.28 per cent)

Manufacturer of replacement knees and hips renews its debt facilities.

BAE Systems 330.4p (up 5.7p, 330.4 per cent)

Defence company announces that its group finance director George Rose will retire in March.

Anglo American 3,027.5p (up 32.5p, 1.09 per cent)

Says it will begin construction on the Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil early next year.

FTSE 100 Fallers

BG Group 1,303p (down 30.5p, 2.29 per cent)

Sees its share price drop despite UBS raising its target price to 1,350p from 1,290p.

Associated British Foods 1,091p (down 14p, 1.27 per cent)

Primark owner says trading has matched expectations so far this financial year.

British Land 508p (down 4p, 0.78 per cent)

Announces application for planning consent for UBS's new offices in London.

FTSE 250 Risers

Carpetright 800p (up 32p, 4.17 per cent)

Floor coverings retailer finishes the week on a high ahead of next Tuesday's interim results.

Kesa Electricals 168.4p (up 6.4p, 3.95 per cent)

Partial recovery for Comet owner after suffering large losses during Thursday's trading.

John Wood 488.2p (up 2.2p, 0.45 per cent)

Sees its share price edge up following the win of a five-year contract from Stadtwerke Munchen.

FTSE 250 Fallers

Ashtead 155.3p (down 2.7p, 1.71 per cent)

Down despite Evolution raising its recommendation to "buy" and Peel Hunt upping its price target.

BSS 477p (down 7.9p, 1.63 per cent)

OFT accepts proposed measures to resolve competition problems over BSS's merger with Travis Perkins.

DS Smith 208.2p (down 1.8p, 0.86 per cent)

Drops, as UBS decides to increase its target price to 200p from 185p.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The number of GP practices with 10 or more doctors has grown by 75 per cent
science
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Execution Trader

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global Rolling Spot FX, Comm...

Citifocus Ltd: ACA - Financial Reporting

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Chartered accountant (ACA or CPA), must be...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game