Shares in London continued to surge ahead of last week’s record level, with the FTSE 100 index up 67.2 at 6508.4 at midday on Tuesday. Smaller company shares also benefited, with the FTSE mid-250 up 25 points at 5580.4.
Engineering shares were helped by recent upbeat comments from Merrill Lynch. Bodycote, tipped by Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, was 64p higher at 865p while Charter improved 22p to 383p. Automotive and telecoms electronics group Pressac fell 6.5p to 223.5p after unveiling interim profits of £4.9m, with an exceptional £1.7m restructuring charge.
Senior Engineering bought a 20% stake in Japanese metallic hoses company Techno Flex for £6.2m. Its shares were down 0.5p at 146p on the news.
Weir Group was up 4p at 266.5p amid renewed bid speculation involving pumps rival Flowserve.
A lack of bid news was behind a 4p fall at Powerscreen, down to 152p. The market is awaiting further developments on a recent third-party approach.
The air war in Yugoslavia continued to boost defence-related stocks. British Aerospace was up 9p at 443p. The company confirmed that it has held meetings with Libyan officials about possible civil aerospace business once UN sanctions are lifted. Smiths Industries was up for similar reasons, 11p ahead at 912p. GEC also benefited from big contract wins for Marconi earlier this week, climbing 7p to 590p.