Market Report: Analysts praise 'safe' African Barrick Gold

Investors left African Barrick Gold (ABG)glittering last night after the miner released a positive drilling update and was praised as a "safer" option for those wanting exposure to the recent strength of the precious metals sector.

The group reached 558.5p during trading, before tracking back and closing at 539p, a gain of 10p. As well as its statement that recent findings could add "considerable value" to its Nyanzaga project in Tanzania, ABG was also given a helping hand by Citigroup, which raised its recommendation to "buy" in a large note on the sector.

Saying that "gold and silver love political tension and a high oil price", its analysts noted that the two commodities – along with high-quality diamonds – have benefited from the "heightened risk-perception" caused by the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and that ABG's "lack of political challenges has made it a 'safer' entry into the gold price upside".

It praised the blue-chip silver producer Fresnillo as well, saying it "offers the best-quality entry to the sector", and its advance of 27p to 1,560p helped the FTSE 100 rise 19.89 points to 5,900.76. The top-tier index has put on over 180 points since Monday, its best weekly gain since last November.

Autonomy missed out on the move after attracting criticism from JP Morgan Cazenove, which described its earnings quality as "poor and deteriorating" and cut its expectations for 2012.

The software company was driven back 56p to 1,586p, finishing in last place on the FTSE 100, despite sentiment in the sector receiving a boost from across the Atlantic where both Oracle and Accenture released impressive figures late on Thursday.

Numis Securities said the results "highlight the attractions of the enterprise software and services sector as a play on strengthened business investment intentions", choosing Fidessa as its "top pick". The financial software group is currently trading at its highest level since 2000, and it was bumped up another 22p to 1,754p.

Traders said Oracle's comments on an increase in demand for cloud computing should benefit TeleCity, which added 12p to 495p. Royal Bank of Scotland's John King pointed to another set of results as a positive sign for the data centres group, this time from its Dutch peer InterXion whose figures, the analyst said, reaffirm his belief that "supply conditions and hence pricing will remain favourable this year".



Despite finishing in pole position on the top-tier index after climbing 11.9p to 353.1p, Invensys was still weaker than before Thursday's announcement of the surprise departure of its chief executive Ulf Henriksson. Evolution Securities broadly welcomed his replacement Wayne Edmunds, describing him as "the driving force behind resolving" its pension liability. "We strongly believe that a form of resolution on the pension," said its analyst Harry Philips, "will lead to the value of the business... being realised either organically or through corporate activity."

Another group being discussed as a bid target was GKN, which revealed its own departure earlier in the week, as it was lifted up 3.9p to 198p. Its chief executive Kevin Smith is retiring at the end of the year, and market voices said the change could draw attention to its takeover potential.

Just behind it was Reckitt Benckiser, which advanced 96p to 3,160p after the group was upgraded to "buy" by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, with the broker saying its "conservative guidance and prospect of generics entry is fully reflected in the share price which now offer attractive value".

Also seeing a small rise was BP – 2.65p stronger at 483.55p – despite the decision late on Tuesday by an arbitration tribunal in Stockholm to block its venture with Rosneft over objections by the oil giant's partners in the TNK-BP venture, AAR.

Analysts from Citigroup described it as a "setback... not only because of its inability to complete on a potentially important exploration opportunity in the Arctic, but because it looks to have weakened the shareholder alliance in TNK-BP".



Down among the small-caps, 888 booked gains of 4.25p to close at 44.5p following its tie-up with the US casino group Caesars Interactive Entertainment getting the green light from the Nevada Gaming Commission. Shore Capital said the news "represents further encouraging momentum in the re-appraisal of online gambling in the US by regulators, with the regulation of [it] now looking increasingly likely".

Meanwhile there was vague speculation that it could help the prospect of 888 receiving a formal bid from Ladbrokes; the two announced they were in preliminary discussions last December, but neither has commented recently on the progress of the talks.

The struggling retailer HMV jumped up 0.75p to 17.5p after the group revealed it was considering a break-up. There has been talk for a while that it could sell its Waterstones unit, and yesterday it announced it was "exploring strategic options" for the book chain as well as HMV Canada.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones