Market Report: Good news for oil producers


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The Independent Online

Finally, some good news for oil producers.

A late rally for Brent Crude on Friday set up explorers and producers for a happy Monday, with under-pressure companies shooting higher yesterday. Tullow Oil jumped to the top of the Footsie, 34p better at 399p, with BG Group, up 47.3p at 934.2p, not far behind. BP, which is tipped to announce a big cost-cutting drive alongside today’s fourth quarter figures, rose 13.25p to 437.7p and Shell climbed 66p to 2,170.5p.

On the mid-cap index Afren, which ended last week in crisis, leapt 4.7p to 10p. Issues over its debt remain, but management will be breathing a sigh of relief. Premier Oil also jumped 12.3p to 156.9p and Soco International closed 14.9p better at 278.1p.

The travel sector acted as a counterbalance to the oil optimism, as gas-guzzlers found themselves in a sea of red. Cruise operator Carnival sank 76p to 2,921p; easyJet slipped 120p to 1,742p and British Airways-owner IAG fell 15p to 529.5p. The latter two weren’t helped by a warning from rival Ryanair, off 0.62p at 9.77p, on oil prices. The FTSE 100 rose 33.15 points to 6,782.55.

The acquisition of £4.9bn-worth of assets from Lafarge and Holcim helped CRH surge 115p to 1,718p. The rise came despite the sale of 74 million new shares at 1,650p each, raising €1.6bn (£1.2bn) to fund the deal. Irish building materials supplier CRH indicated that it will not keep sole control of all the assets and is in talks with private equity firm KKR to partner on some of the UK properties.

Meanwhile DIY specialist B&Q was in a bad shape, as parent company Kingfisher slipped 7.7p to 335.1p. A UBS target price cut sparked the fall.

Card Factory dropped 12.5p to 262.5p as its private equity backer Charterhouse General Partners offloaded 40 million shares. It bought Card Factory for an estimated £370m in 2010, before listing it last year at 225p a share.

Satellite specialist Inmarsat climbed 16p to 850p, as it announced that Sunday’s launch of its latest satellite from Kazakhstan was a success. The company warned last year it could be hit by Russian sanctions, with many of its rockets coming from the country.