August 22: InterContinental Hotels, which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains, says we are all becoming resigned to the inconveniences which arise from terrorist threats and are continuing to travel. It is an interesting point, if not necessarily a happy one. Our leisure industries correspondent, Roger Blitz will take a closer look at how InterContinental (which today announced interim results boosted by asset sales) and other companies are coping. One reason they seem to be able to shrug off terrorist threats at the moment is that demand is growing so strongly. And investors are pouring capital into the sector at a spectacular rate, confident this will continue. We’ll try and tell you who is winning and who is vulnerable.

Matalan says John Hargreaves is working on an offer for the group worth 200p a share in cash and that the Takeover Panel has given him an extra month to put his bid together. This means he has until October 11. Quite why he, as chairman and majority shareholder, needs any more time to look at the books is a mystery. The proposed price is the minimum the board was prepared to consider. Matalan shares rose 1 per cent to 174p.

Persimmon, publishing strong first half figures, says housebuyers are not being put off by higher interest rates.

Good figures also today from Panmure Gordon and Bodycote International.

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