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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
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

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick