BP strikes new heights as crude price inspires oil firms

British Petroleum, only four years ago bumping along at a miserable 187p, flared 9.5p to a peak of 613.5p.

US buying was thought to be responsible for the display of strength. Figures earlier this week were said to be the main influence although the firmness of the crude price was clearly an influence.

The shares are the cheapest of the international oil giants. And their appeal is strengthened by the prospect of sharp dividend increases and a possible share buyback within the next year.

Other oils drew strength from the crude performance which ignored the growing prospect of Iraq commencing exports in the next few weeks following the UN Sanctions Committee's adoption of the oil-for-food requirements.

Burmah, helped by an overnight American buying order, added 22p to 1,020p and Enterprise Oil improved 7p to 488p.

Encouraged by the bubbling oil display, the rest of the stock market staged a late bid to make it eight wins in a row. It just failed to achieve such a remarkable sequence, last managed three years ago.

The FT-SE 100 index finished only 0.7 points down at 3,810.7 after 3,793.9. Trading was again thin with most investors, big and small, content to bide their time.

BSkyB, the satellite television station, broke through the 500p barrier for the first time, gaining 8p to 507p. James Capel and Barclays de Zoete Wedd made buy signals. Year's figures are due later this month with a near pounds 100m gain to pounds 256m expected.

BT was little changed at 376p after a strong display this week. The shares have responded positively to the group's grudging acceptance of the latest Oftel proposals which allow it to avoid a distracting and potentially damaging referral to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

New issue Somerfield, the supermarket chain, managed to cast a little embarrassment in the direction of its advisers, Kleinwort Benson, touching 163p and closing at 159p in busy trading. Kleinwort was twice forced to lower the flotation price, eventually settling on 145p.

Kwik Save fell 9p to 415p. Shares of the discount group are regarded as the most likely casualty of Somerfield which is on a much lower rating and could be expected to attract switching from Kwik Save.

Hanson's rally continued with the price edging ahead to 168.5p. But BTR was stuck at its warrants exercise level, unchanged at 258p.

Reports of a cable merger between Nynex and Telewest created a frisson of excitement. The theory is the hard pressed cable companies believe their disappointment at the poor reception they have received would be eased if they pooled their resources. It was enough to lift Nynex 5p to 93p and Telewest 3p to 142p. Nynex has been as high as 147p in the past year; Telewest touched 195p.

Cardcast and Card Clear, involved in card payment and fraud prevention, confirmed they were actually talking merger. Card Clear, 5p firmer at 43p, is expected to make a share exchange offer for Cardcast, up 5p at 88p

After Thursday's blush of excitement, insurances came down to earth with United Friendly off 34p at 805p and its proposed partner, Refuge, down a further 15p at 393p. London & Manchester fell 15p to 366p and Britannic 22p to 741p.

Boosey & Hawkes ended the week on a high note. The shares jumped 68p to 798p after a US court ruled in B&H's favour in its dispute with Disney over the copyright for the Fantasia video. Earlier this week the company paid pounds 17.9m for a reed maker. On Monday the shares were 665p.

Ladbroke was the best performing blue chip as takeover speculation returned. The shares cantered 4.5p to 197p in brisk trading. A deal with Hilton Hotels Corporation is still the market's favourite bet with Bass expected to be preoccupied with Carlsberg Tetley and out of the running.

British Steel fell 3.5p to 178.5p as SBC Warburg remained negative and James Capel caution lowered Lucas Industries 2p to 231p.

Pan Andean Resources' Bolivian oil hopes lifted the shares 7p to a 123p peak and African Gold, also from the John Teeling stable, improved 2p to 17p.

AG, a maker of reels for the storage of cables and ropes, firmed to 157p on Williams de Broe support. Profits are expected to have risen nearly pounds 500,000 to pounds 3.5m in the year just ended with pounds 4m likely this year.

Cowie, the transport group, was little changed at 367p despite a buy note from Wise Speke suggesting the shares could hit 450p in the next year.

TAKING STOCK

rAIM's only Nasdaq share, Electronic Retailing Systems, is enjoying a spectacular run this month. The US supplier of electronic shelf labelling systems arrived at 145p when Henderson Crosthwaite placed shares to raise pounds 7.7m. After a subdued few weeks the shares have come to life and yesterday jumped 25p to 198p. The group's products allow price changes and stock information to be transmitted between the shelf and a store's central computer.

rStories persist Whitbread has another significant takeover bid on its menu. The leisure giant is in the process of paying pounds 133m for the Pelican restaurant chain and there is talk it could descend on Harry Ramsden's, the famous fish and chip chain with a market capitalisation of pounds 33m. Ramsden's rose 10p to 380p.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Accounts Payable

£12 - £15 per hour: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: Excellent opportunity to join...

Technical BA - Banking - Bristol - £400pd

£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...

Account Management Strategy Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum + competitive: Real Staffing: Required skills:Previo...

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice