Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Icap Slides despite Profit Joy as Deal Hopes Dashed

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Icap Slides despite Profit Joy as Deal Hopes Dashed

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSAMUND URWIN

ICAP, the world's biggest interdealer broker, today proved that even inhard times there are always winners. City grandee Michael Spencer's groupdelivered a 28% jump in annual profits as the credit crunch boosted trading incurrencies, bonds and other derivatives.

The highest volatility in nearly eight years in the seven most-tradedcurrencies, triggered by investors' fears that the US housing crash wouldplunge the global economy into recession, sent Icap's broking fees soaring.

But it took first place on the Footsie 100 loser board after speculation thatit would announce a takeover deal was dashed. Rumours were circling last weekthat US futures and derivatives giant IntercontinentalExchange was eyeing upIcap, but Spencer's comments today sent a message to the City that he is in nomood to do a deal.

The shares, which were trading at 591p just two weeks ago, peaked at 670pyesterday but retreated 18p to 652p today.

Banking shares remained out of favour with investors, with Royal Bank ofScotland off 7 1 4 p at 248 3 4 p and HSBC marked 12 1 4 p lower at 884 3 4 p.Brokers remained wary of the sector, with UBS cutting Barclays ' target pricefrom 500p to 520p. The shares were off 5 1 4 p at 407 3 4 p.

The FTSE 100 went into reverse after closing last night at its highest sinceearly January. The blue-chip index was down 37.8 points at 6338.7 after lossesin Asia overnight, and on the poor showing from financial stocks. But oilcompanies and pharmaceuticals stopped the market sliding too far into the red.

A double whammy of good news from Premier Oil sent it to the top of the Footsie250 leaderboard, up 20p at 1767p.

The oil explorer announced a major oil and gas find in Vietnam, and also saidit remained on track to deliver 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by theend of 2010.

Fellow explorer Dana Petroleum, up 17p at 1989p, was boosted after announcingit had signed an agreement to buy assets in Egypt. …

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