Market Report: Scandal-hit ENRC falls deeper into hole

If it were possible for scandal-hit Kazakh mining outfit ENRC to lose more credibility – yesterday it did as another rating agency downgraded the group's credit rating further into junk territory.The company is being investigated on corruption allegations by the Serious Fraud Office across its Kazakh and African operations.

Standard & Poor's has downgraded its credit amid fears the company may not be able to attract additional funds to finance its operations.

News of the SFO investigation last month was evidence to support those in the City who said the group should not have ever listed in London due to its continued corporate governance issues.

The latest blow comes as its founders are trying to raise cash to take the miner private. Alexander Machkevitch, Alijan Ibragimov and Patokh Chodiev have a 17 May put-up-or-shut-up deadline to make a bid. The consortium is holding talks with Russian lenders and is reported to be looking at a sell-off of assets to cut group debt if it is successful.

Many investors have already cut their losses and run – the shares have fallen more than 50 per cent since it listed 2007. The saga of the miner is being closely watched, especially by those who piled in at the bottom earlier last month – when shares were around 224p. Yesterday the shares dipped 0.4p to 274.4p.

Traders attributed the decline in the blue chip index to investors taking profit ahead of central bank meetings this week. The FTSE 100 lost 27.9 to 6430.12.

Despite the slip, the index reported its longest- ever period of monthly gains. It finished April up 0.3 per cent – its longest stretch of monthly gains since 1984, according to Bloomberg data.

Financials were in favour after Lloyds Banking Group's promising first-quarter update. Details of the new capital requirements in the UK are expected in the next month and Lloyds increased by 0.83p to 54.33p. Royal Bank of Scotland took top spot, up 12.3p to 306.3p.

There was more chat about fantasy M&A for telecoms group Vodafone yesterday when analysts at Citigroup speculated on Vodafone buying Liberty Global. The market was non-plussed and Vodafone hung up 0.65p to 196.2p.

The oil giant BP produced a forecast beating profit of £2.7bn in the first quarter and its shares jetted 9.65 to 466.4p. Fellow oil major Shell has beaten France's Total to a giant gas field project with Abu Dhabi National Oil. The deal was announced during a visit to the UK by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan. David Cameron said the Shell deal "highlights the UK's world class energy sector." Shell jetted 10p to 2,253p.

British Gas owner Centrica was out of favour with Credit Suisse which thinks "ongoing weak high street conditions and fiscal austerity" will mean further strain. Credit Suisse slashed its rating to underperform from neutral. Its concerns come ahead of Centrica's first-quarter update on 13 May. Credit Suisse is concerned "results in business energy and home services could be at risk", and that the stock looks expensive compared to peers, trading on 12.8 times 2014 earnings. Punters took note and it hissed down 8.6p to 371p.

Over on the mid cap index, the US fund Vanguard upped its stake in Peter Hambro's Petropavlovsk. The fund, founded by US star John Bogle, now has more than 8 per cent of the gold miner, which retreated 9p to 145p.

Engineer Invensys continued to be powered by takeover speculation. It was lifted for a second day – up 19.9p to 384.7p – following a buy note from Société Générale. JP Morgan took a look at Capital & Counties, the property company behind Earls Court and Covent Garden, and rated it overweight with a 365p price target for shares that built up a 3.3p gain to 308 p.

Sausage maker Cranswick gobbled up pig farmer East Anglian Pigs, which Numis analysts think will give it "control of the supply chain and should be a modest plus for sentiment". Cranswick put on 3p to 1,057p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links