Markets: Weir’s way is up after takeover talk

Pumps and valves maker Weir Group topped the FTSE 100 risers’ board yesterday on renewed speculation that the Glasgow-based firm could be a takeover target.

Analysts from Investec and Oriel Securities said US giant GE was likely to consider a bid as a way of bolstering its mining equipment business. Shares in Weir added 70p, or 4 per cent, at 1,811p.

A late rally inspired by upbeat US housing market data helped the wider market close higher, with the FTSE 100 Index 20.9 points stronger at 5,859.7.

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Angus Campbell, at Capital Spreads said: “The green numbers across traders’ screens show there is still underlying support for stocks, ever since the central banks such as the ECB and Federal Reserve recently stepped in with more unconventional monetary stimulus.”

The improved figures from the world’s largest economy lifted banking stocks with Lloyds adding 0.5p to 40.6p and Barclays gaining 3p to 223.2p.

However, Asia-facing Standard Chartered headed in the opposite direction after reports that Singapore investment fund Temasek has sounded out possible buyers for its 18 per cent stake in the bank, worth a possible £6 billion, causing Standard’s shares to decline 23p to 1,457.5p.

It was joined on the way down by BAE Systems as the prospect of prolonged political wranglings over its £28bn merger with EADS removed some of the froth over the stock, which fell 6.5p to 328.1p.

Outside the top flight, shares in Hornby came off the rails in spectacular fashion after it said the London Olympics had failed to deliver the expected boost to sales. With the Scalextric and Corgi owner also facing supplier issues in China, shares slumped by 34 per cent, off 30.3p to 58.3p.

NEW YORK: Wall Street fell last night, pulled lower by declines in heavy equipment maker Caterpillar after it cut its profit outlook, the latest high-profile company to signal growth will fall short of expectations.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 101.60 points, or 0.75 per cent, to close at 13,457.32 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 15.26 points, or 1.05 per cent, to end the day at 1,441.63. The Nasdaq Composite lost 43.06 points, or 1.36 per cent, to finish on 3,117.73.