Market Report: Good news out of Africa lifts Ophir
Friday 25 October 2013
News that oil and gas explorer Ophir Energy will let off steam and flog some of its interests in an African gas field was welcomed by the City yesterday.
Ophir has had a troubled year as two of its major investors reduced their stakes and a disappointing drilling programme has meant the shares are down 25 per cent since the start of the year.
News of a potential deal in Tanzania was the first piece of good news for the African-focused explorer in a long while.
Analysts at Nomura said the deal will "provide a genuine reference point for valuation" and because it is retaining some ownership "it leaves Ophir at a relatively attractive price to gain access to further upside in Tanzania through block 7 and East Pande with the Mlinzi and Tende prospects planned to be drilled".
A report from India suggested Ophir is in talks to sell to state-run gas company GAIL, but other traders said that there could be a number of interested parties involved.
Ophir said in a statement that a sale process is "ongoing to sell down a part interest in these blocks but there is no certainty that this process will conclude successfully".
Back in February, investors Och-Ziff Capital Management and Queens Park Rangers part-owner Lakshmi Mittal's Mittal Investments sold around half their stake – around 9 per cent – and the shares have underperformed since.
But after news of the talks emerged it was top gainer on the mid-tier table up 27.3p or 9.19 per cent – to 326.7p.
Chinese manufacturing data helped cheer traders and the FTSE 100 soared above the 6,700 level for the first time since May, adding 38.7 points to 6,713.18.
Will Nicholls, dealer at spreadbetter Capital Spreads said: "The UK blue-chip index has gained 400 points since it bottomed out on the 8 October and investors hanging onto short positions must be beginning to panic now.
"We are sitting just 150 points from all-time highs and now the political and fiscal quandaries are moving behind us, the bulls will be looking for a good run up to Christmas."
The pharmaceuticals giant Shire was top of the blue-chip index on a strong, third-quarter performance and it was 235p better at 2,760p.
Miners were also in favour thanks to the positive Chinese numbers and Mexican precious metals miner Fresnillo revealed details of an early £100m dividend payment and was 28p better at 1,022p.
Engineer Rolls-Royce soared 30p to 1,174p after winning a drilling rig contract offshore Korea.
A while back traders used to spend their time gossiping that a Middle Eastern investor was eyeing property group Hammerson. Yesterday there were vague rumours that an investor from Qatar or Abu Dhabi might be having a look at British Land. The Cheesegrater skyscraper developer built up a 10p rise to 623p.
Lloyds Banking Group advanced 2.21p to 80.12p after news emerged that Aberdeen Asset Management (up 24.8p to 450.4p) is in negotiations to buy its Scottish Widows Investment Partnership.
Meanwhile, the fizz went flat at drinks giant Diageo when punters swallowed the bad news coming from rival Pernod Ricard.
The French drinks group, which owns Absolut Vodka, Martell cognac and Chivas Regal whisky – reported a 9 per cent fall in first-quarter sales which it blamed on a slowdown in emerging markets and currency fluctuations. Pernod, which is the second-biggest drinks group after Diageo globally, follows other brands which have blamed a Chinese government crackdown on "gift giving" among top-level officials for weaker sales in the region.
Diageo and SAB were hit and, respectively, tumbled 16.5p to 2012.5p and 14.5p to 3,233.5p. Pernod fell by more than 3 per cent in Paris.
Fabulous third-quarter results from the media giant WPP helped it create a 12p gain to 1,325p – an all-time high.
The National Audit Office has launched an investigation into the Government's privatisation of Royal Mail amid claims that the group was sold off too cheaply.
Royal Mail floated at 330p and is now up 60 per cent on this price. However, it edged back 8p to 529p yesterday.
Australian investor Caledonia (Private) Investments Pty has upped its stake in estate agent Foxtons to 8.15 per cent which increased 1p to 305p.
A new contract win helped Aim-listed commodities trading software group Brady rise 7.25p to 71.25p.
Aim-listed property consultancy Sweett Group said that its full-year numbers could be ahead of expectations and it rose 2.5p to 51p.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...