Market Report: Is the Kurdish oil gamble about to pay off?


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Is the gamble on the Kurdish oil industry about to pay off?

Producers in the unstable region have been struggling to get payment for their exports, amid squabbles between Kurdistan and the Iraqi Government over who should take what cut. But yesterday the Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said it would pay $75m (£47m) to exporters this month, with future payments to follow. It also revealed that exports have jumped by 60 per cent in the last four months.

The news sent producers in the region rocketing. Afren jumped 9.25p to 82.1p, Genel Energy 27p to 754p and Gulf Keystone Petroleum 8.75p to 75p.

After a bullish start to the session, the FTSE 100 retreated slightly after mixed job numbers from the US, but still closed up 16.09 points at 6,567.24.

The gust of optimism in equities did wonders for illiquid companies as demand pushed up prices.  SuperGroup climbed 63p to 882p, Ted Baker 139p to 2,090p, Pets at Home 7.6p to 201p and Game Digital 21p to 345p.

Cost savings helped deliver a 4 per cent rise in third-quarter profits for Rentokil Initial, but a warning that currency problems would knock £17m off its full-year earnings sent the shares down 6.1p to 116p.

Fever-Tree’s management will be enjoying a few G&Ts after the upmarket mixer maker enjoyed a strong float on AIM. Fever Tree, known for its posh tonic, offered shares at 134p but ended the day at 165p.

Retail investors who took a gamble on Horse Hill, the Surrey oil project being worked by a consortium of AIM explorers, were disappointed this week after the drilling failed to discover the bountiful reserves of gas that had been hoped for. But serial AIM entrepreneur David Lenigas, who championed the project and whose UK Oil & Gas, down 0.02p at 0.43p, is involved, is unrepentant. He said the exploration to date has been a “huge success”. Plenty of punters will disagree.

Fitbug was on the march yesterday, up 1.32p to 6.35p. The rise was sparked by news that Fitbug, which makes fitness monitoring devices, is launching a health coaching device, KiQplan.