Market Report: Speculators tip Qataris to make a tilt at Quintain


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The Independent Online

The latest gossip? The Qataris are off to Wembley.

Speculators are tipping the country’s sovereign wealth fund to make a tilt at Quintain, which owns most of the land around Wembley Stadium, as well as swathes of Greenwich Peninsula. The rumour comes just days after Canary Wharf owner Songbird Estates, up 20p at 350p, rebuffed a lowball bid from Qatar. Punters are hoping for a higher bid.

While the Qataris went deliberately low for Songbird, the dreamers tipping Quintain are allowing themselves to talk of an offer as high as £1.50 a share. Quintain jumped 3.5p to 91p.

The FTSE 100 continued to climb, up 24.41 points at 6,635.45, with London Stock Exchange Group briefly touching an all-time high before settling back up 28p at 2,053p. The performance was driven by a 24 per cent jump in half-year operating profits. 

Electrocomponents tanked 28.2p to 206.5p after chief executive Ian Mason announced plans to leave after 13 years at the helm. That came as the electronic parts distributor revealed a 16 per cent dip in pre-tax profits to £37.4m, blaming the strong pound.

Punters hoping yesterday would be a red letter day for the Kurdish oil industry were disappointed. Several operators in the region synchronised their results, leading to speculation that an organised payment process for exporters would finally be announced. Alas  Gulf Keystone Petroleum, down 8.75p at 68p, could only offer news that its main asset is producing 23,000 barrels a day, short of its 40,000 target.

Genel Energy had good news for investors, reaffirming full-year targets and announcing it has agreed parameters with the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources for developing fields. But still Genel dropped 31p to 791p.

Management at Quindell must be sweating. Last week’s opaque director share buying sent the price into freefall and yesterday Fidelity added to the problems, shaving its holding from 5.52 per cent to 4.9 per cent. The move pushed Quindell down 11.25p to 72p – perilously close to the threshold, thought to be 70p, at which directors will have to back up share-based loans with either more shares or cash.