A re-heated bid rumour that Norway's Statoil is eyeing African-focused Tullow Oil sent shares in the London-listed group spurting up more than 7 per cent yesterday. Tullow has been rumoured to be a potential takeover target since its share price came under pressure last year after a series of disappointing updates. The rumours of Statoil's interest were reported last month and yesterday the City's enthusiasm for the chit-chat led to a spike in volumes, with more than 6 million shares traded. Statoil, which is speculated to be considering a 1,400p a share bid, fell ahead of its fourth-quarter update, due tomorrow. Tullow was the top riser on the benchmark index, up 56p to 849.5p.
The wider market edged out of the red as negative sentiment subsided but traders remained cautious before tomorrow's US jobs figures and the FTSE 100 climbed 8.62 points to 6,457.89.
On the mid-tier table, Essar Energy surged ahead by 4.95p to 59.3p after it said it had restored power to its Stanlow refinery.
The share price of the emerging market-focused investment manager Ashmore was picking up – a sign that investor concerns about emerging markets were starting to ease. The stock soared 16.8p to 334.4p after Analysts at Canaccord Genuity raised it to buy.
Wolfson Microelectronics, the small-cap audio chip maker, fell 5p to 125p after a fourth-quarter operating loss.
Blinkx, the troubled Aim-listed online video search specialist, fell 5.5p to 107.25p. It suffered last week after a blog about the company circulated among investors. Muddy Waters' Carson Block has also taken a short position – betting the shares will fall. Karl Loomes, a market analyst for SunGard Astec Analytics, said: "Our data shows that the number of Blinkx shares being borrowed began to increase in early January… it has now climbed almost 40 per cent."
UK analytics firm Ebiquity said its major shareholder, the US private equity house Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS) had sold its 40 per cent stake. VSS placed 28.9 million shares with a number of institutions through Numis Securities at 120p a share – above its mid-market price. Ebiquity ticked up 0.5p to 119.5p.