Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jump by Close Bros Set to Rekindle Buzz; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Jump by Close Bros Set to Rekindle Buzz; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

SHARES in Close Brothers, one of the City's few remaining independent merchant banks, were squeezed sharply higher today in thin trading.

They jumped 20p to 5771/2p although turnover was just 262 shares.

Nevertheless, the price rise is likely to revive claims that someone has begun stalking the shares. Like all City banks, Close will have suffered the ill-effects of the stock market downturn and the subsequent collapse in corporate deals. The jewel in its crown remains market-making arm Winterflood Securities, which has attracted admirers in the past. But it seems unlikely Close would be prepared to sell Winterflood, even if it was offered a generous price.

Share prices generally traded in narrow limits.

Dealers fear poor results from Intel in the US tonight could upset the applecart. The FTSE 100 index rose 6.2 to 3954.5.

Shire Pharmaceuticals rose 6p to 3631/2p after a buy recommendation from broker UBS Warburg. Shire was hit last week by reports that a rival drugs company had applied to the US Food and Drug Administration to market a rival to Adderall, its treatment for hyperactivity. Broker HSBC Securities has been singing the praises of AstraZeneca, up 4p at 2089p which it rates a buy with a 2500p target price.

US securities house Schroder Salomon Smith Barney has been taking a look at the European utilities sector and has singled out Centrica, 3/4p cheaper at 1673/4p, as one of its main picks.

There seems to be no letup in demand for EMI with speculative buying lifting the shares a further 1/2p to 1611/2p. That compares with 136p at the end of 2002.

Speculators say the company is vulnerable to takeover, having seen its price more than halve during the past year.

Heavy turnover was again recorded among the food retailers as speculators awaited the next twist in the battle for control of Safeway. …

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