Takeover speculation drives Lucas Industries on up; MARKET REPORT

Money is still riding on a takeover bid for Lucas Industries, the aeropsace and car components group.

The shares were once again subjected to heavy trading and in a volatile session swung from a 5p gain to a 13.5p loss. They closed just 1p lower at 233p.

The group is, without doubt, in trading pact talks with Varity, a US car parts group. The stock market hope is they will flush out a bidder for Lucas, perhaps GM of the US.

It was a bad day for Sid. The legendary private investor tempted into the Government's high powered privatisations had to contend with the sight of British Gas crashing 27p to 201p, lowest since 1990.

To pile on the agony, BT, down 4p at 333.5p, fell to a new 12 month low and British Steel, unsettled by recent trading comments, gave up 3p to 183.5p.

The gas price row between the company and its industry regulator, Ofgas, seems destined for the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. But even if Gas wins concessions, its dividend payments are likely to be cut.

The shares have been as high as 357p. They were sold at 135p nearly ten years ago.

BT saw a merger with Cable and Wireless as a way of off-setting the continuing pressure from its unfriendly regulator. The deal, however, was called off and the shares have come down from 360p, after topping 380p. Last year, before the regulatory demands became apparent, they were riding at 414p.

The group also suffered a pinprick reversal when Freepages won a battle to keep the 0800 192 192 telephone number for its information services.

The Gas blast wiped more than 7 points from the FT-SE 100 index and with the fall out engulfing other privatisation shares an early gain was transformed into a 15.2 fall to 3,739.2 by the close.

The setbacks could not have come at a worse time for the controversial Railtrack flotation, which had appeared to have won a surprising degree of support from private investors.

Bank of Scotland was the best performing blue chip, up 14p at 252.5p. It was spurred by confirmation the Standard Life insurance giant was contemplating the sale of its 32.2 per cent interest.

Any disposal would put BofS firmly into the takeover arena although political considerations could be a problem for any predator. Renewed talk Barclays could hive off its investment arm left the shares 1.5p down at 748.5p.

Meyer International, the timber group, put on 11p to 448p on reports of a bid from Wolseley.

Pearson, on suggestions it could hive off its television side, and the ever present possibility of bid action, gained 13p to 712p.

British Aerospace provided some comfort for the army of Sids, gaining 11p to 874p on its missile link with Matra of France.

Orange, up 4.5p to 249.5p, and United News & Media, 20p at 739p, were given a whirl on Footsie inclusion hopes.

Allied Domecq, the drinks group, managed a 2p gain to 502p ahead of what will be poor figures today. Grand Metropolitan, reporting on Thursday, rose 5p to 446p.

T&N fell 13p to 162p on the latest asbestos setback and in a weak building sector George Wimpey lost 5p to 142p.

Drug shares again attracted attention. British Biotech rose 22p to 2,955p ahead of its important presentation for its cancer treatment later this month and a launch of a vitamin tablet lifted Shire Pharmaceuticals 12p to 200p. Cortecs International, on encouraging clinical results on a vaccine against lung infection, rose 18p to 387p.

Orb Estates rose 5p to 72p as the struggling group confirmed it was in reverse takeover talks with the unquoted Quintain property firm. Another property minnow, Prior, said it was in discussions with "various parties" which may lead to a bid. One involved is Jermyn Estates. Prior rose 2p to 110p and Jermyn was unchanged at 650p.

Newcomer Premiere, a jobs agency, closed at 138p against a 133p placing.

Engineer Richards fell 8p to 25p following a warning of losses but Telspec, the computer group, rallied 43p to 533p after last week's profits warning.

Harry Ramsden's, the famed fish and chip enterprise, jumped 38p to 418p as takeover speculation returned. Rank Organisation and Whitbread remain the market's favourites to pounce.

Hay & Robertson gained 4p to 62p. It has recruited Scottish clubs Celtic and Rangers as well as two Italian clubs for its clothing lines. Hay has 11 premiership clubs as key players.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge face-off in the final
Sport
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture