The FTSE 100 was up a slight 1.06 points at 4227.16 while the FTSE 250 edged up to 6050.31, up 13.67 points, at 11.57am this morning.
The market was relatively quiet owing to a lack of overnight activity on Wall Street, which was closed for Thanksgiving. Traders anticipate an unremarkable session with low volumes as the day progresses.
BSkyB was amongst the strongest on the benchmark index, gaining 4.1 per cent or 17p to 431.25p after applying for permission to appeal the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s decision directing it to sell down its stake in ITV, the free-to-air broadcaster that lost 5.96 per cent or 2.25p to 35.5p on the news.
Bid talk was evident around Aegis, the media group that gained 6.78 per cent or 4p to 63p this morning. The speculation suggested possible interest from Havas, the French media group, and was based on yesterday’s unexpected announcement that Aegis chief executive Robert Lerwill was stepping down from his post at the end of this month.
Panmure Gordon, which weighed in on the rumours this morning, said the talk was not without substance, adding:
“Over the last year or so, there have been a number of management departures, including chairman, the chief financial officer and a number of senior personnel. This obviously signals all is not well at Aegis. From a share price point of view, however, it is good news as it indicates corporate action is on the cards. Aegis and Havas have broadly similar market capitalisations and operating characteristics and superficially look a good fit.”
The mining sector fell back as investors moved to bank profits from Thursday’s gains. Kazakhmys was the hardest hit, losing 6.6 per cent or 17.75p to 251.25p, while Xstrata, at second place on the FTSE 100 loser board, was down 6.41 per or 61.5p at 897.5p.
Antofagasta fell to 436p, down 5.63 per cent or 26p, and Anglo American lost 5.22 per cent or 82p to 1490p.
The Royal Bank of Scotland was down 4 per cent or 2.2p at 52.8p after it emerged that existing shareholders had shunned the company’s cash call, leaving the tax payer owning almost 58 per cent of the business.