Sainsbury’s shares jumped 4% today as takeover rumours continued to surround the UK’s third biggest supermarket.
The shares bubbled 12.8p higher to 341p amid renewed talk that its Qatari investors – which already own 26% – were preparing a full-blown bid.
The rise defied a 1% slide for the wider FTSE 100 Index, which retraced some of yesterday’s near-3% gains to stand 54.6 points lower at 4910.4.
A sluggish finish to trading in Wall Street overnight on poor economic news depressed Asian exchanges, while futures indicated a lower opening for US markets later today.
In London, retreating metal prices depressed the heavyweight mining sector, which accounted for the lion’s share of the top flight fallers.
But Marks & Spencer was also a prominent faller as a better-than-expected first quarter performance failed to lift shares amid nerves over the outlook.
The group, which had seen decent gains in the days leading up to the update, lost 11.8p to 340.9p after a 3.6% rise in like-for-like sales.
As well as the sell-off for M&S, other retailers were impacted by a cautious review of the general retail sector by brokers at Royal Bank of Scotland.
Next fell 33p to 2044p while Argos owner Home Retail Group shed 2.3p to 220.7p. Burberry – which also turned ex-dividend, meaning shareholders are not entitled to the latest payout – dropped 31p to 738p.
Meanwhile, a shortened risers board was topped by BP after the beleaguered oil company continued its recent recovery with a gain of 14.25p to 359.75p. Shares in the group have now risen more than 20% since it hit a 14-year year low on June 25.
Software group Sage was helped 0.8p up to 228.9p by a broker upgrade from WestLB highlighting the firm’s “defensive and cheap” qualities. Centrica - also the recipient of positive broker comment this week – added 0.7p to 299.9p.
In the FTSE 250 many oil and gas explorers rose after a note from UBS brokers talking up key drilling prospects in the second half as well as a recent revival in merger and acquisitions activity in the sector. The leading performer was JKX Oil & Gas, which cheered 4% or 9.9p to 254.9p.
Elsewhere, shares in Clinton Cards tumbled 8% after the greetings card firm revised sales and profits expectations in the wake of disappointing trading since May. The company, which had raised its guidance in March, fell 3.25p to 35.5p.