Takeover story sets Rank shares soaring

Market Report

THERE IS nothing like a hostile takeover story to spice up a dull summer day. Better still if it involves one of the chronic underperformers of recent times. Step forward Rank, the Hard Rock Cafe to bingo group.

The Independent's revelation that the troubled outfit is being circled by venture capital funds gave Footsie's flagging drive a bit of a Viagra treatment. The shares, a pathologic under-achiever in recent times, put on 13.8 per cent to end at 337p, at the top the blue-chip board.

Unfortunately, Rank's soaring run could do little against the powerful bearish winds coming from overseas, which swept Footsie away in the afternoon. A negative opening on Wall Street and worries about Japan proved the leading index's undoing, playing a major part in the 73.7 point closing loss to 5837.0 points.

The FTSE 250 and the small cap benefited from their insular nature and had a better day than their bigger brother. The 250 finished just 2.7 points off at 5482.7, while the small cap managed a 5.2 point rise to 2472.5.

Among blue chips, the banks were once again under the spotlight. A pounds 400m pension misselling provision at Lloyds TSB overshadowed decent results and sent the shares spiralling down. They finished 67p off to 834p.

Lloyds has got Sets to thank for not topping the Footsie worst performers' list. A couple of rogue deals on the automated order book sent the engineer Smiths Industries tumbling minutes before the bell. Two trades at 711p one minute before closing, after the stock had been coasting along at 753p for most of the day, accounted for a 9.2 per cent collapse. The final recorded price was 711p.

Other banks ignored Sets' vagaries and focused on Lloyds' woes. Abbey National lost 41p to 1,141p, Halifax was 7p lower at 723p, Bank of Scotland was 34p off to 370p, while NatWest, which reports figures on Tuesday, was down 65p to 1,060. The bank said yesterday it was selling its car- leasing business to joint venture partner Lex Services.

The earnings-enhancing deal and a roaring set of results helped Lex, the rent-a-car group, to motor ahead 17p to 511.5p.

Cellular phone operators were upwardly mobile after Merrill set a near- term target price of 1,050p for Orange. The shares took a giant leap towards the target, rising 47.5p to 743p.

Vodafone remained connected to its rival and rose 20p in sympathy. Securicor, part-owner of Cellnet, was close by with a 13p rise to 558p.

Albright & Wilson, the chemicals group, found the right mix of takeover speculation and a positive note from Williams de Broe. The shares topped the FTSE 250 risers' list after a 11.4 per cent gain to 121.5p. They were challenged for top spot by Arcadia, the clothes shop chain, which put on a 5.3 per cent rise to 361.5, after Panmure Gordon upgraded its recommendation and slapped a 385p price target on the stock.

Support services groups hit rock-bottom after a bearish trading statement from Business Post Group, whose shares fell 65p to 84.5p. Rival Danka shed more than 17 per cent to 117.5p, as pessimism spread through the sector.

Torotrak, the engineer which specialises in inventing new hi-tech equipment completed a pretty dismal maiden week on the market by losing 16.5p to 262.5p. It has lost 27.5p since it was spun off from BTG at the beginning of the week with a 300p price.

Torotrak's boffins are probably thinking of a device to transform the company into Fieldens. Shares in the AIM-listed agricultural company more than doubled to 103.5p, as the market could not contain its excitement at Thursday's news that two former Hanson directors had taken control of the group.

Vanguard Medica was in demand, after the pharmaceutical company announced it was close to a deal with a drug giant to develop its anti-migraine drug. A recommendation from the Investors Chronicle also provided an helping hand. The shares leapt 52.5p to 237.5p.

No such luck or Geo Interactive. The small IT company admitted that first- half revenues would be lower than expected because of the delayed shipment of some of its products, and dealers took fright.

The stock shed 45 per cent of its value to 62.5p. Similar grim story for the engineer Loades. A plunge into loss at the halfway stage and the shares soon followed, losing 170p to 325p.

SEAQ VOLUME: 824.9m

SEAQ TRADES: 72,699

GILTS INDEX: n/a

SHARES IN Syence Skin Care, a company which specialises in anti- ageing products, ended the day unchanged at 10.5p after reporting a pounds 77,000 loss for the year. The group, listed on Ofex, hit the headlines when it clashed with the BBC over the allegations made on one of its anti-wrinkle products in a Watchdog programme. Syence won an apology and damages, but said at yesterday's results announcement that the incident had "dampened euphoria" over its products.

WIGGINS GROUP firmed 0.5p to 14p yesterday after the construction group said it had been selected as prefferred bidder for Manston airport. The RAF airfield, which boasts a runaway as long as Heathrow's, is due to be transformed into London's fourth civilian airport under the grand name of Kent International Airport.

Suggested Topics
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Sport
sport
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
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

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £550 - £650

£550 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Traded Credit Risk - Investmen...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
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