Market Report: Rumours of a tie-up between Electrocomponents and Premier Farnell

A tortuous week for Glencore finished on a high

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The Independent Online

A bad day at the office for Electrocomponents helped rumours resurface of a tie-up with embattled rival Premier Farnell.

The FTSE 250 electronic parts distributor admitted that the slow start to trading in July was not just a blip and the going was tough for the next couple of months.

Electrocomponents, down 4.6p at 175.3p, said overall revenue growth  in the second quarter slowed to 3 per cent from  5 per cent in the first quarter, as American manufacturing ground to a halt. Sales in the UK and the US, its second and third-biggest markets, fell by 1 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The activist investor Go Investment Partners has been quietly building its stake in Premier Farnell to 5.5 per cent, fuelling speculation it will force a shake-up or even a merger. 

Clear signs of the struggles in Electrocomponents were cheered by investors in Premier Farnell, which finished 2.25p higher at 105.75p, having hit 32-year lows last week after Citi cut its rating to “sell”.

Dismal US jobs data – the economy added just 142,000 jobs in September – sparked concerns that the Federal Reserve might not pull the trigger on an interest rate rise before the end of the year. The dollar retreated, boosting the demand for gold and silver, which propelled the miner Fresnillo to the top of the blue-chip index, 29p brighter at 633.5p, and sent Randgold Resources up 166p to 4,098p.

A tortuous week for Glencore finished on a high. After Monday’s near-30 per cent crash, the stock recovered to 95p, 3.98p better yesterday, following more boardroom stake-buying. This time, director William Macauley splashed out £1.55m on shares in the commodities group.

Credit-checker Experian tumbled 41p to 1,034p after a huge data breach exposed the details of 15 million US customers of T-Mobile, whose chief executive said he would be reviewing its relationship with Experian.

Smaller companies, such as the AIM-listed Corero Network Security, are profiting from the rise in hacks. The company, 0.38p richer at 13.5p, signed a deal worth £700,000 with an unnamed Footsie firm to shore up its cyber defences.

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