Market Report: Hopes of Borders oil find lifts Falklands explorers

As foreign secretary William Hague condemned Argentina's dramatic seizure of oil assets that were located in its land but controlled by Spain's Repsol, British hydrocarbon companies operating in the waters around the disputed territory of the Falkland Islands enjoyed a splendid day.

In contrast to Repsol's plummeting share price, UK oil firm Borders & Southern Petroleum soared by an astonishing 55 per cent yesterday, shrugging off Argentina's claim to sovereignty over the Falklands and its threat to sue any company operating in the vicinity.

Borders & Southern's share jump (by 38.5p to 108p) came amid growing excitement that the results of exploratory drilling around the Falklands would determine commercial quantities of oil. This would put Borders in an exclusive club, since only Rockhopper has yet found commercial quantities of oil, after striking black gold at its Sea Lion field last year.

"The results are nearly on us. There's obviously nothing out at the moment but I guess it's just speculation as to a positive result," said one analyst.

The positive sentiment Borders engendered around Falklands oil contributed to meaty share price rises for rival explorers in the region, with Falkland Oil and Gas jumping by 24.25p, or 35 per cent, to 93p, and Desire Petroleum adding 1.25p to close at 29.25p.

In contrast to Argentinian land, upon which President Cristina can renationalise any foreign-owned assets she likes, Buenos Aires has no legal jurisdiction over the Falklands. Consequently, although Argentina is ratcheting up its campaign to extend its oil empire by grabbing the Repsol assets, investors in operators around the islands seem unperturbed by the country's threats of legal action.

Still on resources, Fresnillo turned in a glistening performance yesterday, dragging other miners up with it, jumping 3.24 per cent as the gold and silver producer delivered an expectation-busting first-quarter performance.

Fresnillo's shares increased by 51p to 1,624p, as the miner hiked gold production by 26.3 per cent in the first three months of 2012 to 121,792 ounces.

FTSE 100-listed, Mexico-based Fresnillo has been working hard to boost production to take advantage of the historically high gold price, which has risen steadily for most of the past decade and is expected to keep growing this year, after falling from its September record in the final months of 2011.

The company, which also reported an expectation-meeting 3.5 per cent decline in first-quarter silver production, said its gold output was primarily boosted by a 42 per cent jump in production at its eponymous Fresnillo mine in Mexico.

The mining sector was given a further boost when BHP Billiton reported a better-than-expected 8 per cent drop in iron ore output in the three months to the end of March.

This was largely due to interruptions to production as a result of a stormier-than-usual cyclone season and was in contrast to rival Rio Tinto's disappointing statement to the market on Tuesday, which reported a larger-than-expected dip of 11 per cent in iron ore shipments.

BHP's encouraging iron ore performance was complemented by a 35 per cent surge in petroleum "liquids" production from its US onshore gas business, which together outweighed disappointing coking coal production and saw the miner's shares leap up by 16.5p and end the day at 1,943p.

The strong showing from the resources companies helped to balance out declines elsewhere in the FTSE 100, although the blue-chip index still dipped slightly, falling 21.66 points to end the day at 5745.29.

However, it wasn't such a good session for interactive whiteboard maker Promethean World, which saw its shares tumble by 15.75p, or a hefty 21.5 per cent, to 57.5p, as challenging conditions, particularly in North America, dragged down the company's revenues by 14 per cent during the first quarter.

Furthermore, the FTSE Small cap education company, which is hobbled by the fact that 95 per cent of its businesses comes from governments around the world, warned that the market would remain challenging in the US and Europe.

This prompted Peel Hunt to downgrade its recommendation on the stock from "buy" to "hold".

Promethean's woes also pushed down shares of education specialist Pearson, which fell by 14.0p, or 1.25 per cent, to close at 1,119p.

Liberum Capital's analyst Ian Whittaker said: "There is a negative read across from the interim management statement from Promethean World, which is a global education interactive learning technology company that works with a number of the educational publishers."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Senior Analyst - ALM Data - Banking - Halifax

£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...

Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/day

£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...

Liquidity Reporting-Basel III-LCR-Bank-£400/day

£400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Liquidity Reporting - Basel III - LCR - Ba...

Investment Manager – Media and Entertainment

Up to £50,000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Sauce Recruitment: We are repre...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz