‘mmO2 switches from weakling to a force in mobile phones,’ ran the headline in The Times on 28 February as shares leapt by 17 per cent.
HBOS, owner of Halifax Bank, achieved a similar National News Index rating for positive coverage in the business and financial press after it reported healthy mortgage lending and a profit increase of 29 per cent to £3.8bn.
Marks & Spencer was applauded for the launch of its furniture and homewares Lifestores while Norwich Union parent Aviva garnered points for high profit predictions.
The bottom of the table is dominated by financial services players. Prudential plummeted 136 places to bottom of the table after sales dropped 12 per cent and profits fell short of expectations, triggering a dividend cut and a 4.5 per cent reduction in its share price.
News of a £686m loss rocked Abbey’s share price, while Equitable Life suffered from rumours that a new group of members were threatening to sue the insurer.
Fat cat bonuses dogged Standard Life, and Enron remained fifth from bottom despite positive coverage of its art sale. The monitor is compiled from Thomson Intermedia’s NNI index, a measure of media sentiment that excludes stock market reports and passing mentions.