Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Busy City Gossips Prompt Extravagant Luminar Bid Talk; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Busy City Gossips Prompt Extravagant Luminar Bid Talk; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: Rosamund Urwin

TRADERS may have been twiddling their thumbs today, but the mouths of City's gossips were certainly busy.

With the markets almost moribund -- trading volumes were light even by August standards -- it was left to the rumour mill to provide the interest. Oil and gas explorer Sterling Energy was the first name mentioned, amid talk that the gods of black gold could soon smile on the Kurdistan-focused group. Its shares shot up 51/2p to 1301/2p. The spotlight also fell on disasterstruck clubs owner Luminar. Wild rumour has private equity taking a look at the owner of the Oceana and Lava & Ignite brands -- with a generous 25p a share touted as a possible bid price -- but wiser heads in the City thought that suitors would be put off by the problems still facing the group.

However, the mutter from the gutter was that new management's turnaround strategy should lift the shares -- flat at 103/4p -- from their lows.

On the mid-flight, Redrow was still in demand amid speculation that it could soon be taken private by founder Steve Morgan, the chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. The housebuilder's shares climbed 8.3p to 130.2p, having started the week changing hands for just 107p.

Another mid-tier stock, Kesa Electricals, also remained a favourite of the rumourmongers, with private equity being deemed the likely predator.

The Comet owner's shares slipped 1.3p to 134.7p, however.

Shares in London rose, with the FTSE 100 gaining 28.35 points to 5394.16 as banks helped the benchmark higher.

On the downside, platinum producer Lonmin was London's worst-performing blue-chip, sinking 75p to 1565p. …

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