Taking Stock

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ESSEX Furniture fell 3.5p to 45.5p, lowest for six years, after reporting little changed profits of pounds 913,000. Last year's election, the death of the Princess of Wales and intense competition were blamed for the flat display. But Essex, with 34 showrooms and venturing further north from its Southend-on-Sea base, is looking for better things this year. Profits should hit at least pounds 1.5m, perhaps nudge pounds 2,m.

INTER Alliance, building a national spread of financial advisers, is heading for AIM under the direction of stockbroker Brewin Dolphin Bell Lawrie. It is raising pounds 3.95m, selling shares at 325p. The company pulled in pounds 3m through a placing in January.

ON OFEX, British Taxpayers Association, planning a network of tax advisory offices, fell 6.5p to 2p as Clover Communications acquired the 29.9 per cent of the capital it sought at 0.5p a share. BTA is likely to attempt to expand through acquisitions.