Market Report: Taking Stock

XCL, the old Exploration Company of Louisiana, flared 9.5p to 33p as stories flowed of rich oil and gas finds at Bohai Bay, off north east China. Apache, which partners XCL, is said to have described the discovery as the biggest so far this year.

Jardinerie Interiors, an office plants business, sprouted 7p to 84.5p. Takeover talk is in the air. Rentokil and Wyevale Garden Centres could be interested. JI came to market at 114p, went to 155p and then fell to 72.5p after unremarkable figures.

Tension is growing over order-driven trading but Royalblue, one of the software providers, has no complaints. The shares rose 11p to a 259.5p peak; they have climbed 34.5p this month. Profits are expected to be pounds 2.8m (pounds 2m).

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