Market Report: Smith and Nephew takeover in critical condition


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The Independent Online

Speculators seem to have given up on the dream of a Smith & Nephew takeover.

The replacement hip and medical dressings maker collapsed almost 6 per cent yesterday, its worst one-day drop in four years, after the US company Stryker announced a $2bn share buyback plan. Stryker admitted eyeing Smith & Nephew last year and traders had hoped it would give the business a second look, with money flowing into Smith & Nephew in recent weeks. But news of the payout to investors snuffed out lingering hopes. Smith & Nephew dropped 68p to 1,131p, the fall made all the greater as punters were hit with margin calls.

After tumbling in Monday’s session, Tullow Oil enjoyed a dead cat bounce yesterday, rising 7.5p to 364.8p. ITV dipped 6p to 221.8p ahead of today’s full-year figures.

Travis Perkins slipped 81p to 1,944p as it revealed that one-off costs led to a 2.3 per cent dip in profits last year and warned that demand may falter ahead of the general election. Despite the red flag, chief executive John Carter said the building materials group was set for “market share gains, medium-term double-digit operating profit growth and continuing growth in return on capital.”

RSA Insurance tumbled 14.1p to 420.2p as Panmure Gordon, Berenberg and Morgan Stanley all trimmed their target prices. This follows concerns over the company’s balance sheet, raised by the recent full-year results.

The FTSE 100 dipped below 6,900 for the first time in seven sessions, off 51.51 points to 6,889.13.

Set-top box maker Pace rocketed 27.3p to 363p on the mid-cap index as it announced a 6.1 per cent rise in revenue to $2.62bn and a 53.1 per cent jump in profit to $148m. Chief executive Mike Pulli praised the acquisition of Aurora Networks early last year for driving the performance.

Obtala Resources jumped 2.12p to 10.75p on AIM, amid rumours that private equity has been sniffing around. Word in the City is that the Africa-focused company, which does everything from forestry to flogging iPhones in Lesotho, has received an approach at 23p a share. Forestry fund Moringa is the name in the frame.