DIY firm pushes Footsie higher

DIY firm Kingfisher led the FTSE 100 Index higher today as renewed bid speculation caused investors to pile into its shares.

DIY firm Kingfisher led the FTSE 100 Index higher today as renewed bid speculation caused investors to pile into its shares.

The stock lifted 3% or 7.5p to 255p amid rumours that Build Center chain Wolseley was interested in its B&Q business.

Both this and positive broker notes about other top flight firms helped the Footsie build on last night’s three-year high to lift 21.1 points to 5267 by mid-morning.

Catering group Compass beat Kingfisher to the top of the blue-chip risers board after Smith Barney upgraded it to a “buy” from a “hold”, sending its stock up 7p to 247.5p.

Banking firm Standard Chartered made good progress after Credit Suisse First Boston issued an upbeat note, taking it 10p higher to 1086p.

A good session across the Atlantic last night also cheered the mood and experts were tipping the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open higher this afternoon.

One trader said the reversion in oil prices back below 60 US dollars a barrel in New York should also lend support. However, this failed to put investors off the London oil majors, with BP 3p up at 624.5p and Shell advancing 6.75p to 551.5p.

Among companies in the news today, Bovis Homes was the third-heaviest FTSE 250 faller, off 26p to 664p, after saying it was unlikely to achieve expansion targets this year unless there was a significant rise in orders this autumn.

The news proved disappointing for a number of rivals in the housebuilding sector, with Redrow falling 9p to 405p, McCarthy & Stone off 10p to 544p and Westbury losing 7.5p to 450.25p.

And tour operator MyTravel was also in the red after City watchdog the FSA said it had fined the company £240,000 for failing to tell the stock market about a change in its profit expectations. Its stock weakened 1.75p to 176.25p.

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