Rank escapes FTSE carnage

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Rank Group emerged unscathed from another day of carnage in the London market.

The bingo and casino operator rose 5.5 per cent to 95¾p on bid speculation after Genting, the Malaysia-based gaming operator and owner of Stanley Leisure, declared an increased holding of 11 per cent.

The FTSE 100 closed 151.3 points, or 2.6 per cent, lower at 5,724.1.

It was dragged down by poorly received results from groups including Yell, down 15.2 per cent at 279¾p, and BT Group, off 9.8 per cent to 237p.

There was a profits warning from GlaxoSmithKline, which lost 7.6 per cent to £10.78.

The FTSE 250 fell 140.3 points, or 1.4 per cent, to 9,764.2.

Alliance & Leicester was another of the big fallers. Its shares dropped
10 per cent to 588p as takeover hopes faded. Santander of Spain said that it had no acquisition plans in general and was not considering a bid for the UK mortgage lender in particular.

Carphone Warehouse rose 1.1 per cent to 309¼p amid rumours that its broadband division could be a takeover target for BSkyB, 3.3 per cent lower at 558p.

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, slipped 2.4 per cent to 326¾p.

Of mid caps, Aegis, the media buying group, was in demand on reports its biggest shareholder, the French financier Vincent Bolloré, had been marshalling his forces ahead of a possible bid. Aegis shares advanced 5.9 per cent higher to 116p.

Spirent, the telecoms testing equipment maker, and Dimension Data, the IT company, were marked 6.5 per cent lower at 50p and 5.6 per cent lower at 50¾p respectively.

Inmarsat, the satellite communications group, added 4.5 per cent to 515p on talk that institutions were recalling stock they had lent to short sellers.

Telecity, the data warehouse operator, fell below its 220p float price, closing 4.4 per cent lower at 215p.

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