Market Report: Bowleven back in the takeover spotlight

The rumour mill has been rather quiet around Bowleven as of late. It was a different story near the start of the year when punters were getting excited over the possibility of an approach. However, after Dubai's Dragon Oil decided in February that, having had a think, it was not going to make a bid, the West Africa-focused explorer has lost more than 40 per cent.

Yet yesterday those still dreaming of a takeover were given a boost by Goldman Sachs as scribblers from the broker decided Aim-listed Bowleven still looked appealing to a suitor.

Although they conceded that, despite the recent weakness of share prices in the sector, stocks were not cheap enough to "incentivise widespread M&A" among the energy explorers, they did add that "attractive targets remain".

One of them is Bowleven, according to the analysts, who also raised their price target for the group (which is on their "conviction buy list") to 261p – more than three times higher than where it currently trades.

It was not the only one finding itself in the takeover spotlight, with Genel Energy and Falkland Islands driller Rockhopper also among those highlighted by the analysts as looking attractive.

At the same time the former, which is headed up by former BP boss Tony Hayward, pictured, had its rating upgraded to "buy", with the scribes saying the Kurdistan-focused group's share price should be higher "given the quality of the company's assets and [its] strong cash balance".

However, despite the bid talk, the explorers were unable to avoid the market sell-off as Bowleven and Rockhopper dipped 3.25p to 73p and 14p to 295.5p respectively on Aim, while Genel was pegged back 16p to 636p.

Meanwhile, their peer, Ophir Energy, was one of the worst hit on the mid-tier index, slumping 33p to 518p, despite Goldman Sachs more than doubling the group's target price to 850p from 409p.

Having set a record low for 2012 on Tuesday, there was no let-up for the FTSE 100 as the City continued to wait for news from Greece where politicians are attempting to form a coalition government. At one point during trading, the benchmark index dropped well below 5,500 points, and although there was a late rally, by the bell it was still 24.5 points worse off at 5,530.05.

Those who stuck to the old trader's motto of "sell in May and go away" will certainly have been pleased – after the first day of the month saw the Footsie move above the 5,800-point level, it has now lost close to 5 per cent in just five sessions.

The fact that a number of companies were trading ex-dividend did not exactly help, with Aberdeen Asset Management (10.3p lower at 259.2p) and G4S (6.9p lower at 262.8p) among those losing their payout attraction.

Carlsberg's first-quarter results did not help SAB Miller, as the Grolsch-brewer slid back 16p to 2,484.5p after its Danish rival revealed it was gaining share in Russia, where the two go head-to-head.

Of those blue-chip companies which did manage to rise, broadcaster ITV and commodities trader Glencore advanced 1.75p to 82.5p and 5.95p to 397.95p respectively after first-quarter updates from both were greeted positively. Meanwhile, Glencore's positive comments helped a number of the miners, including Vedanta Resources which jumped 30p to 1,089p to finish in pole on the top-tier index.

Elsewhere, telecoms giant BT climbed 2.7p to 217.2p ahead of today's final results. Oriel Securities' John Karidis was telling punters to pile in, saying that "management's record of under-promising and over-delivering has now led to the share price... having a record of performing strongly on results days."

With the latest data from the retail sector showing sales over April suffered the biggest fall for more than a year, Singer Capital Markets' scribes pointed out that the high street will not exactly have been helped by the terrible weather already seen this month.

Meanwhile, on the FTSE 250, Debenhams (2.4p better off at 77.85p) and Argos-owner Home Retail (1.6p better off at 74.6p) managed to shrug off the data, fashion firm SuperGroup retreated 18p to 307p before today's fourth-quarter results. The update is especially eagerly awaited after last month's profit warning, which the owner of the SuperDry chain blamed partly on getting its sums wrong.

Aim-listed tech firm Microsaic shot up 4.5p to 36.5p after revealing it had struck a deal to provide at least 100 of its MiD product to an unnamed "international supplier of laboratory equipment".

Having announced the signing of two new contracts – including one with blue-chip utility SSE (5p lower at 1,324p) to provide metering services across most of the country – Smart Metering Systems powered up 9.5p to 128.5p.

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit