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Market Report: Taking Stock

DESIRE Petroleum, involved in the search for oil and gas off the Falkland Islands. jumped 34.5p to 209p as it cautiously admitted encouraging developments. Amerada Hess, the US group has encountered oil and gas shows during drilling in the North Falklands Basin. It is "far too early", say Desire, to say whether the well will turn out to be commercially viable.

The company has a 20 per cent interest in the development. Greenwich Resources gained 2.75p to 23.5p and Westmount 12p to 157p. They each have 20 per cent of Desire.

ACTION at Millennium & Copthorne, the hotel chain. There was talk that Hong Leong Investments, the Far Eastern group with 55.1 per cent, had trimmed its stake. A seller attempted to unload 5 million but had to be content with getting rid of 3.5 million. Millennium shares fell 2.5p from their peak to 617p.