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o United Auctions (Scotland) has run away from Sir Ron Brierley, the New Zealand financier, who through Guinness Peat bid 275p for a near 30 per cent stake. The Brierley offer appeared the day UA arrived on AIM at around 210p. Since then the shares have not looked back and yesterday raced ahead another 30p to 525p. Sir Ron's 275p offer is a non-starter. Clearly he will have to think about a higher bid.

o On the week when the backwater 4.2 share market is doomed to expire, expect a rush to join AIM, its fledgling replacement. NWF, an agricultural group which earleir this year nearly merged with quoted Carr's Milling Industries, has arrived, as well as clay pigeon and cartridge group, CCI. NWF was briskly traded at 295p; CCI held at 108p.