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
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
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

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss