Market Report: Investors fear Gulf’s fundraising will be done at junk-bond prices


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The Independent Online

Gulf Keystone Petroleum tumbled yesterday amid concerns that the oil and gas explorer is struggling to raise cash.

The Kurdistan-focused independent said earlier this month it needs to raise $250m (£150m) from bondholders to fund the ongoing development of its Shaikan field, but yesterday the market was swirling with rumours that the  company’s investor roadshow is struggling.

Investors fear the issue will be priced at junk-bond levels and two renowned short sellers, Simon Cawkwell and Lucian Miers, have backed this thesis in the past few days.

Gulf Keystone fell 12.25p to 86.12p.

The first quarter of 2014 ended yesterday, with traders in a more downbeat mood than when it started. There was talk of the blue-chip FTSE 100 index ploughing its way to 7,000 at the beginning of the year, but yesterday the index closed down 17.21 points at 6,598.37 – 132.3 points lower than at the start  of 2014.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “The FTSE 100 is down not just a little bit – it’s down a lot. It’s a bit strange, especially given the outlook we’ve got in the UK, but then again it’s a global index. If you look at the FTSE 250, which reflects the UK, it’s a different story.”

The FTSE 250 closed yesterday at 16, 273.72, 354.63 points higher than the start of the year. The biggest riser on the mid-cap index was Russian-focused steel producer Evraz, which added 7.65p to 78.4p.

Pensions provider Just Retirement had an afternoon bounce after chief executive Rodney Cook bought 50,000 shares, but the company closed down 1.2p at 138.8p.

Online video-advertising specialist blinkx yesterday published a full rebuttal of claims made by a Harvard professor in January that it was “defrauding advertisers”. 

Chief executive Subhransu Brian Mukherjee said the company had “diverted considerable time, energy and resources” to addressing “the inaccurate and misleading assertions made”, adding: “We do not intend to engage in any further debate on this topic.”

Blinkx, which met with investors and analysts yesterday, fell 0.5p to 112.5p.