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May 5, 2006

London up on retail, bids rumors

Permalink: London up on retail, bids rumors
by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets were up on the day Friday, with the FTSE 100 up 0.9 percent to 6,091.7 and the FTSE 250 gaining 1.52 percent to 10,017.9. It was the first time the 250 has closed above 10,000. The 100 added 1.1 percent during the week, while the 250 was up 2.3 percent on the week.

The banking sector made news as rumors spread that Alliance & Leicester was in takeover talks with Spanish bank Santander. Despite both banks denials, Alliance & Leicester ended the day with a gain of 6.95 percent to £12 after having gone as high as £12.77 earlier in the day.

Retailer Marks & Spencer added 3.3 percent on the day to 620p on talk of a possible share buyback. It was also rumored that M&S will announce plans for a store remodel program when it releases its full-year report later in the month. Elsewhere in the sector, Kingfisher added 2.7 percent on the day to 237p on bid rumors. On the other hand, Matalan dropped 1.4 percent to 187¾p on a lowered target share price, down to 105p, from Credit Suisse.

In the telecommunications sector, testing company Spirent gained 3.26 percent to 47½p on comments that its low share price makes it an attractive bid target.

Pubs operator Greene King was up 9.9 percent to 826½p on a Merrill Lynch upgrade to “buy”.



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