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
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Marketing Executive - B2B - OTE £25,000

£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity to join this new...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £21000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Recruitment Genius: Business Control Manager

£36000 - £44000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Encouraging more businesses to ...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower