Thursday, June 24, 2010

London close: Footsie sinks to two-week low

An afternoon rally fizzled as Wall St opened lower sending Footsie close to its low for the day. 

Miners were a poor market all day and ENRC, Kazakhmys, Lonmin, Fresnillo and Xstrata were the big losers on fears of a double-dip recession. 

Elsewhere in the resource sector oil giant BP said the lower marine riser package (LMRP) cap containment system was successfully re-attached on its blow-out well in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Yesterday, oil spewed uncontrolled back into the Gulf of Mexico after the cap containing the spill was removed because fluid seemed to be leaking. The group said the containment cap was “reinstalled on the Deepwater Horizon's failed blow-out preventer (BOP)” at around 1830 CDT on June 23 and the system resumed collecting oil at 1900. 

BP’s peer BG Group confirmed the "success" of a new well known as Tupi on block BM-S-11 in the Santos Basin pre-salt, offshore Brazil. “The information obtained from this well and other wells already drilled, reinforces the estimate of a potential 5 to 8 billion barrels of recoverable light oil and natural gas from the Tupi pre-salt reservoirs,” said the group. 

Oilfield support services group Petrofac is on track to meet full-year expectations and said it has made good progress on the first phase of its Turkmenistan project. 

Supermarket giant Tesco has received a vote of confidence from renowned stock picker Warren Buffett. Buffett’s investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, has lifted its stake in Tesco above 3% after purchasing just under 2m shares on Tuesday. 

Energy company Centrica also warmed up after JP Morgan Cazenove suggested that the share price may start to perk up following the Budget, which removed concerns about increased government intervention into the company’s activities. 

Elsewhere in the utilities sector United Utilities is wanted after Credit Suisse issued a favourable research note on the company. It expects the shares to outperform and has a price target of 602p for the stock. 

In other sectors, British American Tobacco has announced that its chief operating officer Nicandro Durante will become chief executive of the maker of Lucky Strike cigarettes in February, when Paul Adams steps down from the role. The Brazilian-Italian will become chief executive designate on September 1 and will be succeeded in his current role by John Day.

DSG International reported a slightly better than expected full-year profit and said it expects profitability to continue to improve in the coming year. The Currys and PC World owner’s underlying pre-tax profit rose to Ł90.5m in the 52 weeks ended 1 May from Ł56.1m last time.It is also changing its name back to Dixon's Retail, its former name. 

Train, bus and parking firm Go Ahead said it remains confident of meeting full year expectations for the current despite a difficult period for the travel industry. Overall, we are pleased with the group's performance, Newcastle based Go-Ahead said in a statement. However it remains cautious on the near term prospects for the UK economy. 

Insurance firm consolidator Resolution has confirmed its acquisition of the French insurer AXA’s life insurance businesses, to be funded by a Ł2bn rights issue. 

It will pay Ł2.75bn for the businesses, including Ł2.25bn in cash and Ł500m in shares. Shares in Resolution were suspended last week as it confirmed the takeover discussions for AXA's UK protection and annuities arms and also its group pensions business. 

Software group Micro Focus reported a 39% rise in annual profits but saw its shares dive on the departure of chief financial officer Nick Bray. 

Private label personal care products supplier McBride was another stock getting a hammering. It expects full year revenue growth, on a constant currency basis, to be flat after a weak final quarter and as raw material prices continue to rise. 

Dana Petroleum sank lower after a mixed set of drilling results. It has made two new discoveries in Egypt, but the shares fell as it reported disappointing results in two other locations. 

Packaging and office products firm DS Smith narrowed losses last year and said the current year has started in line with expectations. 

Energy efficiency firm Eaga said trading for the year is in line with expectations and added that chief financial officer Ian McLeod will step down. 

Chip designer Imagination Technologies is on the back foot after Panmure Gordon downgraded the stock from “buy” to “hold”. The broker said: “Imagination’s market position in graphics looks very strong; however competitive noise could affect pricing on some level.” 

Shares in Conexion Media jumped after the entertainment and media rights management group said it had signed an option agreement with the publisher Harper Collins to turn the children’s books ‘Have a Go Harvey’ into an animated series. 

Distributor and airline operator Dart revealed a decline in full year pre-tax profit after challenging conditions for its Aviation business but said it is well placed to improve its performance this financial year. 

Australian coking coal producer Caledon Resources and peer Polo Resources blame volatile markets for their failure to agree merger terms. The pair had reached an agreement in principle at the end of April that would have seen Caledon shareholders get 11.4 Polo shares for every share owned, implying an offer price of 61.56p per Caledon share. 

FTSE 100 - Risers 
Centrica (CNA) 307.30p +2.78% 
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 272.20p +2.60% 
Vodafone Group (VOD) 142.70p +1.17% 
Tesco (TSCO) 400.50p +1.01% 
Severn Trent (SVT) 1,240.00p +0.81% 

FTSE 100 - Fallers 
Kazakhmys (KAZ) 1,110.00p -5.05% 
Barclays (BARC) 287.70p -4.36% 
Eurasian Natural Resources (ENRC) 967.50p -4.30% 
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,086.00p -4.23% 

FTSE 250 - Risers 
Grainger (GRI) 119.00p +5.03% 
Supergroup (SGP) 733.00p +3.24% 
TR Property Inv Trust Sigma Shares (TRYS) 62.00p +2.82% 
Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 613.00p +2.42% 

FTSE 250 - Fallers 
Mcbride (MCB) 139.80p -21.99% 
Micro Focus International Plc (MCRO) 459.40p -12.91% 
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 1,200.00p -9.02% 
Dana Petroleum (DNX) 1,164.00p -7.98% 

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