Market Report: City spends energy on oil and gas talk

Oil and gas explorers on both sides of the Channel were flaring up on City takeover chatter. BG Group has been a takeover target since its shares lost around 20 per cent after warning on production forecasts at the beginning of the month.

The group is said to have hired bankers Rothschild and Goldman Sachs to help it handle any hostile takeover attempt. And the latest City whisper is that a bid is about to be put to these advisers.

Speculation previously linked Brazil's energy giant Petrobras and Royal Dutch Shell to the group. But City traders were also busy connecting Shell to another oil and gas group – French oil explorer Etablissements Maurel et Prom.

Exane BNP Paribas' Special Situations team reckon Maurel's boss, Jean-François Hénin, has a "major incentive" to "sell the company" before June next year and China's Sinopec Group (China Petrochemical Corporation) has already been rumoured to be in talks. Traders have floated a share-price target of between €15 and €20. Shell's interest is said to have been piqued by Maurel's African holdings including those in Gabon and Mozambique.

BG Group surged 11p to 1,031p. Shell ended down 3.5p to 2,132p. Maurel edged up €0.15 to €11.72.

Still on the Anglo French theme – Nomura's analysts took a look at Kingfisher.

They admit that the UK may be cutting back on DIY jobs, but despite sales in the UK dropping, the domestic market is still offsetting declines at retailer Kingfisher's French businesses of Castorama and Brico Dépôt.

Nomura's Sunita Entwisle retained her "hold" rating on B&Q owner Kingfisher and said: "Market data suggests that DIY in the French market has weakened with consumer uncertainty following the new budget and a fall in housing starts given changes in buy-to-let incentive plans."

But she thinks the UK has fared better and "with further cost savings and gross margin gains … estimates UK earnings of £61m".

Kingfisher will update the market with third-quarter results next week.

The French market is looking ever weaker and Ms Entwisle said that if the weak trade "drives further cost savings and self-help measures, we think there could be upside to our discounted cash flow valuation".

She gave the stock a share price target of 287p. Kingfisher built up a 1.3p loss to 277.9p.

Kingfisher will have to realise there are still no signs of a French recovery – credit-rating agency Moody's downgraded France's triple-A rating, blaming an uncertain fiscal outlook and deteriorating economy. It reduced its sovereign credit rating by one notch to AA1.

With the eurozone crisis back in focus and a crucial meeting on Greek debt underway the FTSE 100 index saw a volatile day of trade. But it recovered morning losses when news that a ceasefire in Gaza was imminent lifted investor sentiment. The benchmark index ended up 10.44 points to 5,748.10.

The luxury goods brand Burberry was back in fashion and traders put its 33p gain to 1,247p down to short sellers in the stock being squeezed.

Hotels group Intercontinental Hotels booked in a place toward the top of the Footsie after analysts at Barclays Capital raised it to overweight and gave it a share-price target of 1,825p, up from 1,730p, on the hope it will sell some of its assets. Its shares checked in a 43p gain to 1,633p.

On the mid-cap index, platinum miner Lonmin completed its $817m (£513m) rights issue and listed 365,497,663 new shares. The shares closed the day before at 515p but were up more than 13 per cent on the day – closing up 36.77p to 310.7 p – above the theoretical ex-rights price of 274p.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon gave it a "buy" rating and said: "Our new (ex-rights) target price of 506p... with balance sheet uncertainty now addressed we believe (the current share price) provides an excellent entry point for new investors."

Scottish-based Energy Assets reported a 38 per cent jump in first-half profits and unveiled a contract with Dong Energy to supply its industrial and commercial customers. The gas meter specialist's shares ticked up 7p to 191p.

A profit warning from BrainJuicer sent the online market research group to the bottom of the Aim index, losing 99.5p to 256p.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?