Market Report: Takeover talk swirls around Arm Holdings

With the top-tier index bouncing last night after plummeting nearly 6 per cent over the previous three sessions, an old favourite made a return as market gossips suggested once again that Arm Holdings may be in line for an approach from the US.

The chip designer is a regular subject of bid chatter, and yesterday vague rumours reemerged claiming both Oracle and Intel could be mulling over an approach, with a possible price mentioned of 750p a share.

That would represent a large premium to its current share price, but it would be less of a difference than the 2,550p a share the US technology giant Hewlett Packard agreed to pay for Autonomy, with that deal prompting analysts last week to reexamine Arm's takeover potential.

There was even speculation the possible price for Arm could go higher, thanks to a suggestion that Apple, which uses the group's technology, may wish to get involved if others make a move. However, traders refused to give much weight to the chatter-chatter, and neither did investors as Arm edged forwards a mere 2p to 492p.

Those hoping for other technology stocks to follow Autonomy – which advanced 34p to 2,486p – in being snapped up received a blow as Micro Focus announced discussions over a possible takeover of the software group had ended. There had been plenty of talk that such a result was likely, but it dropped 9p to 254p on the mid-tier index nonetheless, although Northland Capital Partners' David Johnson said he still believed the "cash flows associated with the business means that it remains a target for private equity".

After dropping more than 300 points over three straight days, the FTSE 100 managed to power up 54.54 points to 5,095.3 as the prospect of the Libyan conflict coming to an end boosted a number of the oil companies. Both Royal Dutch Shell and BP operated in the country before civil war broke out, although despite the former rising 35.5p to 1,919p, the latter only ended up 0.3p ahead at 390.2p.

Meanwhile, Petrofac shot forwards 43p to 1,211p, thanks in part to speculation a conclusion to the fighting could provide the oil services group with numerous opportunities, while its interim results also beat expectations.

Another updating the market was Essar Energy, but the power company slipped 9.8p to 247.9p despite announcing an 80 per cent jump in its first-half pre-tax profits after it admitted problems with getting regulatory approval meant a number of its projects were facing delays.

There was no respite for the banks, as they once again finished among the major fallers. Royal Bank of Scotland took the wooden spoon, losing 1.1p to 19.67p, and Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays retreated 0.82p to 27.56p and 4.25p to 146.25p respectively.

As well as the long standing concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and ring-fencing proposals, the sector was also knocked by Deutsche Bank cutting its rating to "neutral", with the broker noting recent measures such as the ECB buying bonds have failed to stop the banks underperforming. Meanwhile, some in the City were suggesting the short-selling ban on financial stocks in Italy, France, Spain and Belgium may mean investors are shorting the UK banks instead.

Also among the stragglers was Burberry, which eased back 15p to 1,191p after a bearish note on the luxury retailers by Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the potential consequences of double dip recession.

The market may generally have been on the move up, but that did not stop gold prices climbing yet again as the yellow metal continued to set new highs, with it even coming close to breaking the $1,900 an ounce level.

Citigroup raised its gold prices forecasts for next year from $1,325 to $1,650 an ounce, citing a number of factors including S&P's recent downgrade of the US debt rating and the sovereign debt situation in Europe. The broker also said Randgold Resources – 260p stronger at 6,870p – remained its favourite among the gold producers while it changed the rating of Petropavlovsk to "buy", as the mid-tier miner put on 45.5p to 779p.

Elsewhere on the FTSE 250, Invensys jumped 9.5p to 231.2p in the wake of reports the engineer – often the subject of takeover talk – could attract an offer from Siemens. Also ahead was IG Group, with the spreadbetter lifted 15.8p to 409.4p after raising its revenue forecast.

Meanwhile, Greggs eased forwards 3.1p to 475.9p as investors did not seem particularly convinced by Espirito Santo's claim that the high street baker was not facing an "immediate threat" from the recent expansion of its competitor Poundbakery.

Down on the Alternative Investment Market, the mobile software group Parseq soared up 29.73 per cent, or 1.38p, to 6p after announcing an approach had been received from a "potential offeror" headed up by its chief executive Rami Cassis.

Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys headline this year's Reading and Leeds festivals, but there's a whole host of other bands to check out too
music(who aren't Arctic Monkeys)
Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

Access/Teradata Developer, Banking, Bristol £400pd

£375 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Access / Teradata Developer - Banking - Bristol -...

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home