Signet rebels lift stake as another showdown looms

MARKET REPORT

Rebel shareholders are preparing for another showdown at Signet, the jewellery retailer tarnished by three years of heavy losses.

Julian Treger and Brian Myerson, who are achieving an enviable reputation for making life difficult in the boardrooms of underperforming companies, have lifted their shareholding to 20.44 per cent of the votes. They have picked up another 5.7 million shares through the Parcon Managers investment group.

Signet shares, almost 400p eight years ago, shaded 0.25p to 13.5p. They have been described as the market's version of the National Lottery.

The jewellery build-up occurred as another Treger/Myerson target, Scholl, the footwear group, fixed 24 October for its confrontation when the duo will seek to sack three non executive directors. The rebels attempted unsuccessfully in May to push through a Signet break up but were outvoted at a shareholders' meeting. At the lst Signet annual meeting they were conspicuous by their lack of action. But the share build-up signals that they plan to call another special meeting. And they intend to be in a more powerful position.

The rest of the stock market had a moderately cheerful session with a firm New York offering stability and the utilities rallying after Monday's "windfall" tax alarms.

Trading was thin with most big investors waiting to see whether American interest rates would be lowered.

There were, however, suggestions of pent up demand with talk of unsatisfied institutional interest. "They want to deal in size but not at silly prices", said one dealer.

Asda, the supermarket chain, added 2p to 105p as Credit Lyonnais Laing produced a buy recommendation and Siebe, the engineer, recovered 18p to 733p with the recent Henderson Crosthwaite presentation still attracting attention.

Bass frothed up 7p to 648p on Lehman Brothers interest and BT added 2p to 399.5p as Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull and ABN Amro Hoare Govett were positive.

Glaxo Wellcome marched 18p higher to 759p on the indicated success, presented at a conference in San Francisco, of the Aids drug cocktail and US approval for its Flovent asthma treatment. SmithKline Beecham remained firm on investment presentations and many of the biotech babes made renewed headway. Fisons firmed to 257p with the suspicion growing that Rhone-Poulenc Rorer will be persuaded to increase its offer. WH Smith fell 5p to 361p with its cut price books push prompting worries of squeezed margins. In busy trading Laura Ashley edged forward 3p to 120p. Enterprise Oil was another to notch a high volume figure with two deals on Monday belatedly recorded.

Trading caution took its inevitable toll. Brent International retreated 21p to 91p and Lamont, a textile group, fell 38p to 237p. But House of Fraser, the department store chain, shrugged off losses, gaining 6p to 150p.

Takeover rumours continued to swirl around Royal Insurance, up 8p to 363p. A Continental strike is the popular theme. Expansion in New Zealand lifted Sun Alliance 8p to 369p.

Quayle Munro, a Scottish financial group, jumped 32p to 185p. A modest profits advance was accompanied by a year's dividend of 9.5p against 6p. A return to profits helped fashion group Alexon 6p higher to 47p. Dobson Park, the mining equipment group, rose 2p to 125p as hostile bidder Harnischfeger said it reserved the right to increase its terms. The US group has offered 110p a share.

Telspec, a maker of telecommunications equipment, spurted 35p to 773p after it announced a pounds 23m contract, increasing its order book to pounds 70m. The shares were floated nearly two years at 160p.

More companies undertook the trek to AIM with Lawrence - animal health products and chemicals - trading at 208p and Park Estates, a Mersey property group, at 210p. VDC, which distributes veterinary products, is due to appear today and Zergo specialising in information security, is due on Friday.

Aromascan rose 9p to 92p on an upbeat trading statement and a Japanese licensing deal, worth at least pounds 3.7m over five years. Doeflex, the chemical group, gained a further 5p to 205p on results. Enviromed's sad decline continued. The healthcare group, which called off take over talks, fell 2p to a 23p low. The shares were floated at 110p two years ago.

Lionheart, a decorating and household products business, lost 0.5p to 2.5p as it left its preference dividend unpaid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own