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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable