Market Report: Gulf Keystone puts on a victory spurt

Usually punters need news of fresh oil to get them excited, but yesterday it was a court case in London that sent Gulf Keystone Petroleum spurting up more than 16 per cent.

After a long-running dispute, a court ruled in favour of Gulf and against Excalibur Ventures which had claimed it had rights to 30 per cent of Gulf's assets in Iraq's oil rich region of Kurdistan.

The shares had been suspended yesterday morning pending the court case and returned to the market at midday. The retail investors' favourite remained as popular as ever and on news of its victory it gushed up 31.5p to 219.25p. The market was then quick to suggest the group could now be a takeover target.

But Dragan Trajkov, an analyst at Westhouse, said: "We believe that the market's perception is that the conclusion of the case removes an obstacle towards the sale of Gulf. However, we believe that the main obstacle for a potential sale is political uncertainty in Kurdistan rather than the litigation case. Thus, we think this may be a good exit opportunity for investors."

While VSA analysts said Gulf is no longer the "only player in town" and crucially, the "majors have decided to take up their own exploration acreage, rather than acquire discovered assets or companies with such assets. We do not completely discount a takeover, but it seems like a less likely outcome than it did before."

Gulf has been going to great lengths to appoint new independent directors and it has split executive chairman Todd Kozel's role ahead of its plans to more to London's main market.

Across the wider market, traders' concerns about US military action in Syria waned when Russia offered to help put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. The reduced tensions put traders in a positive mood as did better-than-expected industrial production numbers from China. The FTSE 100 climbed 53.25 points to 6,583.99.

The good Chinese figures also helped miners advance: Rio Tinto was 87p stronger at 3217.5p, commodities giant Glencore Xstrata advanced up 7.45p to 328.75p as it promised investors it would slash costs, shelve risky projects and squeeze more benefits from its takeover of Xstrata.

But gold diggers were less fortunate – the price of gold fell as its attractions as a safe haven were reduced as the fears of war eased.

Gold specialist Randgold Resources tarnished 225p to 4,689p and Fresnillo slipped 44p to 1,225p.

Airline stocks soared as fuel got cheaper again – Brent crude futures were down to a one-week low. EasyJet soared 91p to 1,358p and took the top spot on the blue chip index while British Airways-owner IAG flew up 14.3p to 319.8p, and Irish budget carrier Ryanair was €0.16 better at €6.27. Coffee to hotels business Whitbread reported a slow down at its Costa Coffee arm, where first quarter growth of 8 per cent dropped to 3 per cent in the second quarter and it declined 78p to 3,138p.

Concerns about competition from generic rivals for lung drug Advair by GlaxoSmithKline hit the pharmaceuticals giant after a draft guidance document was issued by the US Food and Drug Administration. It was 41.5p weaker at 1598.5p.

City scribblers took a trip to Oxford Street to hear about Marks & Spencer's new product plans but some were less than impressed. Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald rated it a sell with a 445p price target because its improvements are just "another step in a long journey". They did admit the "product and presentation in the remodelled Oxford Street store represented more than a subtle change but a big improvement on previous store iterations" and it was in vogue for some and it added 10p to 510.5p.

Over on the mid-tier table, Ocado the online grocer was popular, up 15p at 365p, ahead of its third-quarter trading update and analyst tour later this week.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index itself was in fine fettle and reached a new record high, up 177.87 points to 15,270.73.

Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto-maker Premier Foods was boosted by analysts at Shore Capital who upgraded it to buy, from hold, with a 149p price target because a refinancing through "£250m of new equity and £350m corporate bonds could yield 42.5 per cent share price upside". The group gobbled up 16.75p to 166.5p.

First-quarter gold production was way ahead of expectations at Aim-listed Orosur Mining and it glistened 6.5p brighter at 17.4p.

Aim-tiddler Nostra Terra announced a 200 per cent return on its first Colorado well and the drilling of a new one and edged up 0.015p to 0.41p. The construction and fit out services group ISG reported full-year operating profits up 20 per cent and built up 15.5p to 216.5p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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