Tipsters and buoyant New York prevent a hangover

It took a strong performance in New York, plus the traditional new year array of share tips, to prevent the stock market limping into 1996 nursing a woeful hangover.

At one time the FT-SE 100 index was down 22.4 points as the market fretted about the latest tribulations of the Tories and the possibility they will be forced into calling an early election.

Then, despite the continuing budget deadlock, New York sniffed the possibility of lower interest rates and romped ahead.

It was enough to leave Footsie at 3,687.9, a 1.4 deficit.

Takeover speculation was surprisingly muted although Ladbroke, the betting and hotel group, was back in the frame, up 9.5p at 156p as the fierce battle for Forte became even more intense.

Whitbread's proposed budget hotels and roadside restaurants deal with Forte must rule the brewing group out of any Ladbroke action and those betting on a bid are refocusing on Bass, known to be keen to increase its hotel spread.

Forte jumped 12.5p to 343p; Granada fell 3p to 642p and Bass held at 719p.

Allders, the department store chain, was another to attract takeover talk, up 7p to 175p.

P&O was also higher on the back of possible bid action gaining 8p to 484p, and Pearson attracted support, up 11p at 635p, on the theory that should Granada fail to capture Forte it could turn its attention to the banking and media group.

There was a frisson of excitement among insurance brokers as it became known that the Aon insurance giant had raised $1.2bn through the sale of two life insurance companies.

Aon is known to want insurance brokers and its comment that it was planning acquisitions was enough to boost Sedgwick and Willis Corroon. Sedgwick gained 6p to 127p and Willis 5p to 146p.

At one time Aon was thought to be keen on Bain Hogg, the Inchcape insurance offshoot. But Inchcape's decision to float the company seems to kill off any such ambition - at least until Bain is independent.

Insurance were mixed although Prudential Corporation improved 9p to 424p following a new year tip from ABN Amro Hoare Govett.

Retailers managed a smattering of gains, largely on the back of favourable comments about holiday trading. But food retailers were unsettled by growing evidence of a price war with J Sainsbury, which has launched the new cuts campaign, off 2p at 391p.

Bowthorpe, the electrical components group, tumbled 9p to 411p after NatWest Securities trimmed its profit forecasts from pounds 78.5m to pounds 77m and from pounds 88m to pounds 84.5m.

Airtours, the holiday group, was dull, off 6p at 361p, on reports that the packaged holiday season had got off to a slow start.

United Utilities, the first electricity and water utility, made a drab start. The North West Water/Norway combination fell 7p to 609p. It is listed by the Stock Exchange as a water company.

Banks suffered from profit-taking. Lloyds TSB lost 12.5p to 319p and Royal Bank of Scotland 4p to 582p.

The deluge of new year tips produced one telling response. Zergo, involved in anti-computer hacking software, soared 80p to 250p although there was no record of any transactions. The shares arrived on AIM at 97.5p.

Allied Domecq gained 12p to 537p and Pet City 13p to 395p. Filtronic Comtek, last year's top-performing tip, fell 33p to 463p following sell advice.

Shield Diagnostics, the health care group, fell 11p to 151p, possibly on disappointment it had failed to feature strongly in the tips parade.

Vodafone, lost 4.5p to 226p, as its connections at Christmas came out at 143,000, against market hopes of up to 170,000.

ADT, the Bermuda-based group run by Michael Ashcroft rose 62p to 945p ahead of an after-hours announcement it had sold its UK and European car auctions business for pounds 209m. It will use most of the cash to expand its US security operations.

Telecom Europe, acquiring from Firecrest, distribution and marketing rights for Internet transphone, a telephone handset, in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, held at 50p. Firecrest, which could end up with 16.5 per cent of Telecom, slipped 3p to 119p.

South Country Homes shaded to 24.5p as shareholders with only 4 per cent of the capital accepted the 20p-a-share cash offer from Hambros Bank. The bid was made after the arrival of former Cope Allman chief Richard Grogan who acquired 27.9 per cent.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little