Diamond fund launched

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My favourite story today concerns what must be the oddest investment fund to float on the London market for a long time. Diamond Circle Capital wants to raise $400m with which to buy diamonds for no less than $1m a stone. Asset classes are getting more and more exotic: it isn’t so long ago that we were writing about hedge funds specialising in violins and even football players.

Of course, more important than that is the fact that ICI shares have shot through the 600p that Akzo Nobel mentioned in its takeover proposal. Standard Life, which is one of the largest investors in ICI, was on the Today Programme this morning asking for 700p or more. Akzo this morning left open the possibility of paying more (watch Peter Marsh’s video analysis of why Akzo is keen). The stock is up 17 per cent at 640p. We’ll look at the prospects of a counter-bid.

Pearson shares are down 1 per cent as the London market reacts for the first time to Friday night’s news that the publisher of the Financial Times is looking at Dow Jones. There’s a full discussion of the market reaction on FT Alphaville.

Turn up the Elgar, get out your Union Jack shorts. It is one day after the country commemorated the Falkland Islands conflict and the QE2, which was requisitioned as a troop ship for the war, has been sold by (London and New York-listed) Carnival to Dubai’s Istithmar private equity firm for $100m.

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