London bids news continues

| March 20, 2006 | 0 Comments

The London equities markets were down on Monday as the FTSE 100 dropped 0.1 percent to 5,991.7 and the FTSE 250 declined by 0.3 percent to 9,815.0.

Once again, bids and rumours of bids drove trade on the day. In the insurance sector, Prudential was up 10.6 percent to 743½p after it rejected a bid from Aviva, hoping to start a bidding war. Aviva lost 0.2 percent to 848½p after the rebuff. Elsewhere in the sector, Friends Provident gained 2.2 percent to 218¼p, Legal & General gained 0.9 percent to 144¾p, and Royal & Sun Alliance closed 0.4 higher to 140p after losing earlier gains.

BG Group was up 1.2 percent to reach a record share price of 709p on rumors that a major company, perhaps ExxonMobil, would bid on the gas utility.

Homebuilder Crest Nicholson added 4.6 percent to 570½p, for a total gain of 18 percent in a week, after it was said that it could be the target of a bid, perhaps from Bovis Homes. Bovis discounted the rumors.

MFI Furniture was up 0.2 percent to 102¾p despite broker surprise that it has put on 56 percent since last month due to rumors that it might sell its Howden joinery division. Despite the gains, broker Seymour Pierce confirmed its “sell” recommendation and left its target share price at 70p.

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