Transatlantic influence ends four-day winning streak

MARKET REPORT

Shares jumped to New York's tune. Another uncomfortable transatlantic breeze sent a shiver through the stock market and the FT-SE 100 index ended a four-day winning streak with a 17.1 points fall to 3,311.1.

Even so, shares managed to finish above their worst levels.

The long weekend was, as usual, an inhibiting influence and trading was subdued. Indeed but for the appearance of Wembley in its revamped form turnover would have looked derisory.

The shares held at 2.75p as trading started in the millions of new shares issued to rescue the group from a fate described as a "controlled receivership".

The self proclaimed "venue of legends" now has 5.5 billion shares in issue, nearly 70,000 for each seat in the stadium, and 194.6 million of them were printed as some disillusioned shareholders decided to cut and run.

There are suggestions that Wembley, like fellow struggler Queens Moat Houses, represents a realistic recovery play.

The group has cut debts dramatically and the underlying business is in good shape. New management is in place and intends to make assets sweat.

QMH, with SEAQ putting volume at 10.8 million shares, continued to retreat from the heady levels achieved earlier this week, falling 0.75p to 11.25p.

Government stocks had a poor session, falling by up to pounds 5/8. The proposed tax changes, as well as currency volatility, were blamed for the setback.

Among leading equities, Storehouse continued its impressive progress following results but Cable and Wireless remained depressed by its disappointing performance. Gestetner's Canadian problems lopped the shares another 3p to 66p. Danka Business Sytems, which hit 434p earlier this year, fell 19p to 359p. It is said the failure to clinch a US takeover has caused the disquiet.

Electricities dimmed on the proposed Powerhouse retailing sell-off. Powerhouse's backers, forced to make substantial provisions, were the main casualties, with Eastern off 9p at 644p; Midlands 11p at 647p and Southern 9p to 660. On the water front Thames rose 7p to 514p.

Glaxo Wellcome added a few coppers to 729p on the expected US patent extension for its lucrative ulcer drug, Zantac. The American Food and Drug Administration has come into line with most of the world, increasing its patent protection period to 20 years. The move should provide a further 19 months shelter for Zantac.

US buyers returned to Medeva, lifting the drug group's shares 5p to 239p and providing much needed encouragement for the emergence of a Fisons takeover bid.

The Medeva/Fisons story first appeared in America and it was largely US buying that fuelled Medeva before confirmation appeared that talks were taking place. In recent weeks Medeva has fallen back on suggestions it had been unable to agree a price with Fisons and the talks were deadlocked. Fisons shaded to 177p.

On an idle day vague rumours of a bid for WH Smith appeared with Boots and Thorn EMI put in the frame. Smith, weak since last week's profit warning, edged forward 10p to 348p.

BBA's strike at Holvis, the Swiss paper group, captured the market's imagination, lifting the shares 17.5p to 235.5p. The group displayed its German operations to analysts this week.

Brick maker Blockleys jumped 11p to 71p on hopes that the Ibstock Johnsen/Tarmac deal will lead to further brick industry consolidation.

Radio shares gave a mixed reception to the first of what is expected to be a string of bids.

GWR made a share exchange offer for Chiltern Radio, pricing the shares at around 325p. Chiltern, firm this week on the media ownership changes, added 8p to 308p with GWR holding at 138p. Capital lost 5p to 454p and Metro edged forward 10p to 478p.

VTR, a video production house, held at 104p. Greig Middleton rates the shares, forecasting profits will move from pounds 1.3m to pounds 1.7m this year and stretch to pounds 2m next year.

Tadpole Technology recovered much of Thursday's decline, gaining 8p to 99p. Henry Cooke Lumsden, the stockbroker that floated the computer company 30 months ago, suggests the shares are a sell above 120p. The near pounds 6m interim loss was pounds 3m more than analyst Richard Lucas had expected. He is looking for a pounds 6.5m loss for the year with a pounds 1.1m profit next year.

Tadpole's shares arrived at 65p and have been as high as 440p. They slumped to 83p on the interim results. The shares, despite their poor performance, have been a regular favourite of private investors, with more than 3,000 of them on the register.

Doeflex improved 2p to 200p, an 8p gain since it splashed out nearly pounds 4m for Plastech Extrusions, a plastic sheet manufacturer. The group is raising pounds 5m by a placing and open offer at 175p.

Horace Small Apparel had an active session after disclosing takeover talks had ended. The shares closed 4p lower at 115p.

WMGO, the advertising group which has had a torrid time, gained 2.5p to 11p on hopes that chairman Bob Morton had lined up a deal to revitalise the group's fortunes.

TAKING STOCK

rAt last action at Farringford, the loss-making company with one trading asset - a hotel on the Isle of Wight. The leisure tiddler has yet to find the acquisition it is seeking but Trevor Hemmings, a director of Scottish & Newcastle, has acquired a block of convertible preference shares which could give his Northern Trust a 29.6 per cent interest. There have been persistent rumours that Farringford has identified a leisure acquisition. The ordinary shares held at 7.5p.

rEwart, the Belfast-based property group, has attracted property man Noel Smyth, who has paid pounds 6m for a 26.5 per cent stake. He already has 15 per cent of the Dunloe property group. Mr. Smyth, who does not intend to play an executive role in Ewart's affairs, is apparently enticed by the commercial outlook for Ulster. Ewart shares held at 53p. Mr. Smyth paid 68p.

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