Marlet Report: Enterprise Oil falls from grace after production target warning

High flying Enterprise Oil crashed 43p to 609p after chief executive Pierre Jungels warned its production target would be missed.

Speaking at an oil industry conference in Norway he said the group's much-vaunted ambition to produce 320,000 barrels a day would have to be put back until 1999.

Although this year's output had been rather lacklustre Enterprise had appeared confident as recently as September that it was still on course to meet its signalled production levels. But Mr Jungels said next year's output was likely to be similar to this year's. His comments were immediately viewed as a disguised profit warning. They flowed over to Lasmo, off 6p at 275p.

Enterprise has had a heady stock market run. At one time shares were riding at 729.5p with a range of bullish stories going the rounds. They were pulled back as the market came off the boil but were still regarded as one of the better performing blue-chips.

The oil group's fall from grace was a major factor in Footsie's 21.6 points fall to 4,845.4.

But at least Enterprise's negative contribution was genuine; Williams' 37p advance to 390p was entirely fictional.

For most of the session the fire protection and security group was traded between 346p and 351p. Then as the market closed there was an order-book trade at 390p for just 1,000 shares. Clearly some mistake. Even so Williams was elevated to top of the blue-chip leader board with the alleged 390p close, representing a 10.5 per cent gain, used in the final Footsie calculation.

The latest order-driven fiasco comes as pressure mounts for the Stock Exchange to make the system more friendly to agency brokers and small investors.

The market remained preoccupied with Far Eastern affairs. Another rally in Tokyo was undermined by a further setback in Hong Kong and suggestions the Japanese market was set for a bumpy ride overnight.

Hopes of a financial deal still drifted around with National Westminster Bank up 12.5p to 883p. There is a growing conviction that NatWest has re-opened talks with Deutche Morgan Grenfell for the sale of its securities operation.

Vodafone misdialled, falling 15.5p to 341.5p. A series of price cuts triggered suggestions it was starting a mobile telephone war. The company denied it was launching a price-cutting campaign. It claimed the market should be growing at a faster rate and "it is appropriate for the market leader to lead this new phase of growth". Orange was caught on the Vodafone line, giving up 9p to 242p.

Cadbury Schweppes shrugged off the appearance of another lemonade rival in the US. PepsiCo is launching a lemonade-style soft drink to challenge Cadbury's Seven-up and Coco-Cola's Sprite. Cadbury shares ended 1.5p higher at 614.5p.

The latest takeover block by Margaret Beckett, President of the Board of Trade, lowered Sears 3.5p to 54.5p. Sears, denied the chance of selling Freemans to Littlewoods, said it intends to demerge its home shopping operation with a cash hand- back to shareholders.

Northern Ireland Electricity, another handing over cash, improved 14.5p to 488.5p. Its exercise is, in effect, part of a name change - to Viridian.

Talk of bids, probably a management buy-out, gave Racal Electronic a 9.5p boost to 224p.

Billiton fell 5p to 170p despite warming noises from Societe Generale Strauss Turnbull. Although the securities house regards the metals group as a buy it has lowered its earnings forecasts.

Ronson, the luxury goods group, lost an early gain to stick at 11p after saying takeover talks with third parties continue. The shares have fallen from more than 20p since August when negotiations were revealed.

Ilion, the computer distribution group, was the worst casualty, falling 90p to 172.5p after warning that year's profits would not meet hopes of around pounds 8m. The group, formerly Persona, expects an out-turn in the pounds 6m to pounds 6.5m range.

Costain, the civil engineer, lost 3.5p to 32.5p, lowest since its return. Majestic Wine bubbled 11p to a 320p peak on Christmas sales hopes and expectations of cheerful interim figures next week.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?