With the telecoms group announcing earlier in the week it had rejected an approach for its overseas assets, the prospect of a bid being made for the whole of Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) was being talked up yesterday, helping it finish near the top of the mid-tier index.
The company surged forwards 2.1p to 52.5p after Investec reiterated its "buy" recommendation, saying therebuffed offer – reported to be from the Asian service provider Pacnet – "may draw out other bids for CWW, in whole or in part".
The broker added: "While Pacnet's approach for CWW's global operations was swiftly rejected by the board, it at least signals that other telecommunications companies are now looking with interest at the value of the assets of CWW's business."
It is not the first time the group, which was spun-off last year from Cable & Wireless Communications, has been the subject of bid chatter, with vague speculation recently linking it with a number of potential aggressors, including AT&T and France Telecom.
However, Investec – pointing torecent reports claiming CWW is in early talks that could see it buy the cloud services company 2e2 – did warn that "any material acquisitions undertaken ... could postpone the likelihood of [a bid] in the near term".
Nonetheless, its analysts said they believed that even if no approach were made, the company's share price – which has dropped by a quarter in 2011 alone – would continue "to materially undervalue" its assets. "Management's shift in focus towards communications integration services signals a self-help approach towards realisation of that value," they said, adding that its full-year results last month "provided welcome relief" after its two recent profit warnings and the news that its chief financial officer is leaving next month.
The news late on Thursday that European leaders had agreed a $120bn (£75bn) bailout for Greece led the FTSE 100 to rally initially from a three-month low to a peak of 5,768.54 points. However, with confidence still brittle, the rest of the session was spent on the slide, and the blue-chip index finished just 23.34 points ahead at 5,697.72.
The banks were a major source of weakness, losing their early gains after Moody's downgraded its outlook on a number of their Italian peers to negative. With the new Financial Policy Committee warning the eurozone crisis was the biggest danger to the UK's stability, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland occupied the bottom two spots, shedding 1.88p to 43.4p and 1.09p to 35.65p respectively.
The miners managed to stay in the blue, however, helped by encouraging comments from the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, on the country's growth. Antofagasta advanced 29p to 1,266p while Xstrata rose 27.5p to 1,271p.
Arm Holdings took the top spot, shifting up 21.5p to 588p as Royal Bank of Scotland's Didier Scemama reiterated his "buy" rating. The analyst, citing presentations at the recent Fusion11 conference, said there was "a strengthening relationship" between the chip designer and the US group AMD, from which he said both would benefit.
The wider technology sector was given a boost from the US, where both Oracle and Accenture revealed updates on Thursday that Numis Securities said showed "continued robust momentum". The broker highlighted the figures as providing a particularly positive read-across for both Logica and Autonomy, but although the former was bumped up 2.9p to 130p, the latter retreated 22p to 1,624p.
Unilever was lifted 29p to 1,970p after Panmure Gordon's Graham Joneswelcomed the consumer goods giant's decision to reshuffle its top brass. The Marmite owner announced plans to appoint heads of product categories rather than regions, which the analyst said "continues the significant improvement in [its] internal organisation".
Down on the FTSE 250, Northumbrian Water was given a boost by some familiar speculation that the utility could be in line for an approach, as it spurted forwards 15.1p to 383p. The group, which has added nearly 30 per cent since the start of February, has been the frequent subject of vaguerumours recently that the Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund – which owns over 25 per cent of the group – could make a move for the rest of the shares.
There was a surge of nearly 11 per cent for Berkeley after its final results, as the housebuilder announced it would return £1.7bn to shareholders over the next decade. The group climbed 123p to 1,254p and brought along a number of its peers, including Bovis Homes, up 9.7p to 417.8p, and Barratt Developments, up 2.8p to 108.8p.
The news that Dominion Petroleum had not only rejected approaches but was launching a $55m fundraising saw the group slump 1.45p to 3.56p on the Alternative Investment Market. The oil explorer, whose full-year pre-tax losses increased to $38.5m, also revealed it had signed a farm-in agreement for sites off the coast of Malta with Mediterranean Oil & Gas, which eased up 0.12p to 11p.
FTSE 100 Risers
Rolls-Royce 609p (up 19p, 3.22 per cent)
Engineering giant and Daimler secure 94 per cent of the German engine maker Tognum.
Carnival 2,386p (up 52p, 2.23 per cent)
The world's largest cruise company benefits from oil prices continuing to slide.
Burberry 1,363p (up 6p, 0.44 per cent)
Luxury brand eases forward as Prada stays steady on its first day of trading on the Hong Kong market.
FTSE 250 Risers
Imagination Technologies 363.5p (up 13.9p, 3.98 per cent)
Chip designer manages rebound after dropping nearly 20 per cent in last two days.
Howden Joinery 104.3p (up 1.2p, 1.16 per cent)
Kitchen supplier advances as Evolution Securities reiterates its "buy" rating.
Ocado 187p (up 2p, 1.08 per cent)
Online grocer creeps forward ahead of the release of its first-half results on Monday.
FTSE 100 Fallers
Schroders 1,438p (down 36p, 2.44 per cent)
Asset manager dips after Credit Suisse cuts its target price to 1,600p from 1,700p.
IAG 242.2p (down 2.2p, 0.9 per cent)
British Airways owner falls despite Citigroup choosing the company as one of its top picks.
Royal Dutch Shell 2,107.5p (down 5p, 0.24 per cent)
Canadian subsidiary agrees funding for CO2 storage project in the country.
FTSE 250 Fallers
Home Retail 159.1p (down 2.2p, 1.36 per cent)
Argos owner eases back after announcing purchase of the Habitat brand for £24.5m.
TalkTalk 143.5p (down 1.5p, 1.03 per cent)
Broadband provider stretches its losing streak to a fourth consecutive session.
Bunzl 750p (down 0.5p, 0.07 per cent)
Distributor edges south despite predicting its first-half revenue will increase 6 per cent.Reuse content