Market Report: Hunting goes on a roller-coaster ride

Markets in the US were closed for Presidents’ Day

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The Independent Online

The energy services company Hunting went on a roller-coaster ride yesterday. Shares in Hunting, which builds and supplies equipment for oil wells and platforms, tumbled by more than 12 per cent in early trade after it said the impact of falling oil prices meant its outlook for the year ahead was not pretty. It would be cutting an unspecified number of jobs and was unable to predict how it would perform given the fast-changing nature of the market.

But the shares closed 23.7p higher at 520p after investors changed their minds, deciding that its self-help measures were probably a good move. Malcolm Graham-Wood, an independent oil analyst, said: “Hunting comes into this slowdown relatively well protected. It has very strong positions in the high-margin kit still being used in the long horizontal wells and an order book that, while obviously being hit, has not been devastated like some. The company expects to continue its investment in new operations and machinery, as it has done recently, and will be very well placed for the recovery when it comes.”

It was a generally quiet day for the markets. SpreadEx’s Connor Campbell said: “Much like the start of last week, the markets have been strangled this Monday by a lack of news combined with the infuriating and ever-present waiting game surrounding the Greek debt issue.”

Markets in the US were closed for Presidents’ Day. The FTSE 100 index dipped 16.47 points to 6,857.05.

SABMiller rose 66p to 3,523.5p after bid speculation at the weekend. 3G Capital of Brazil is said to be plotting a £75bn bid for the Peroni brewer in concert with AB InBev, which owns Budweiser and Stella Artois. 3G’s owners are controlling stakeholders in AB InBev.

The product-testing specialist Intertek slipped towards the bottom of the index, down 87p at 2,508p, after Jefferies said the company would suffer from the oil sector slump because 40 per cent of Intertek’s revenues were linked to oil and gas in some way.

On AIM, the fertiliser maker Plant Impact jumped 5.62p to 41.75p after it announced a deal to develop a new product to improve soy harvests.