Leading shares showed modest gains on Tuesday, helped by a steady start to trading on Wall Street and some hopes of mergers. By 3pm the FTSE 100 was 29.4 points ahead at 6378.1.
Positive sentiment was boosted by official statistics showing better than expected industrial output last month. Manufacturing output showed unexpected signs of recovery, with output in March up 0.3% on the previous month – the biggest month-on-month rise since last June.
Leading in the engineering sector was Managanese Bronze, up another 2.5p at 271p amid continued talk of a takeover. The rumours followed the collapse last week of a proposed management buy-out. Mayflower was widely touted as the likely stalker – its shares were 1.5p ahead at 219p.
British Aerospace was a major loser on Tuesday, down 11p to 467p despite a meeting with 18 institutions on Monday. The group is reportedly considering a name change to reflect the increasing diversity of its operations following the takeover of Marconi.
Brooke Industrial Holdings urged shareholders to reject a hostile 82.5p-a-share bid from Howle Holdings. Both companies’ shares were unchanged – Howle at 27.5p and Brooke at 80p.
Bodycote was down 10p at 985p, Johnson Matthey was 5p weaker at 582.5p and TI Group lost 9.25p to 484.75p. Gainers included Vosper Thornycroft, up 2.5p at 960p; TT Group, 2p up at 207.5p; and BBA, up 4.5p at 504.5p.