Market Report: Shell's focus 'has switched to Afren'

 

City rumour-mongers couldn't stop shelling out gossip on Europe's largest oil producer. On Wednesday, whispers emerged that Shell could be taking a look at BG Group after its share price sunk. Then yesterday FTSE 250 Africa-focused oil and gas company Afren was said to be its target.

Afren has already been the subject of takeover talk this year. Italy's ENI and Exxon Mobil were rumoured to be interested then. Afren's shares yesterday spurted up 5p to 142.7p.

Royal Dutch Shell yesterday reported third-quarter profits of £4.5bn, down 6 per cent on last year. Shell said it saw a drop in oil and gas production and warned of difficult times ahead. Its shares gushed up 51p to 2,241.5p. But Investec's Stuart Joyner gave it a hold rating and a share price target of 1,936p.

BG, which slashed its production forecasts yesterday, got the wooden spoon for a second day as analysts downgraded the stock. It ended down 45.5p at 1,102p.

Traders with a taste for tittle-tattle picked another mid-cap index dweller and speculated that Ukraine-focused iron producer Ferrexpo could be the subject of a bid. Vague whispers that it could be taken private accompanied a share price rise of 10.9p to 219.8p.

The FTSE 100 was lifted by better-than-expected Chinese manufacturing data. Weak UK output figures didn't dent its gains and it jumped 79.22 points to 5861.92.

The benchmark index was also helped up by banking stock following Lloyds' third-quarter results. Barclays put on 11.75p to 239.25p despite revealing it is facing a £290m fine from US regulators over alleged electricity rigging.

BSkyB broadcast a share price advance of 50p to 759p after revealing it had signed up 48,000 new households, with 20,000 additions to its core pay-TV offering.

British luxury group Burberry saw its shares strut up ahead of its half-year results next week. It gained 49p to 1,215p.

There was better news for mid-cap gold digger Centamin. The Egyptian miner's shares fell 35 per cent on Tuesday when it emerged that a court ruling had voided its rights to operate its flagship Sukari mine. It has been mining gold at Sukari since 2009 in a region that has been mined since before the Pharaonic Era. But it said it will appeal against the ruling and its shares were reinstated after a suspension. They glistened up 3.27p to 67.1p.

Another day, another profit warning from Chemring. Shares in the defence equipment maker landed at the bottom of the mid-cap index, falling more than 16 per cent, and are at their lowest since 2006.

The stock has shed more than a fifth of its value in the past three months after profit warnings and uncertainty over talks with its potential suitor, United States private-equity player Carlyle. It cut its full-year profit guidance by more than a quarter after it was hit by delays to contracts and technical problems.

The explosive-device detectors and flares maker had been expected to report an average earnings per share of 43p for the year but yesterday it reduced this by 13p. It surprised the market last month with the news that chief executive David Price was being replaced by former John Wood Group executive Mark Papworth.

Analysts think the Carlyle interest is all but dead. Chemring's full-year results are due on 24 January and its shares nose-dived 53.1p to 260.6p.

Electrical retailer Dixons benefited from the imminent demise of rival Comet, and its shares sparked up 2.78p to 23.38p.

Previously troubled AIM-listed oil and gas exploration and production company Circle Oil said it has had some good news at a well in Tunisia. Analyst Keith Morris at Investec rates the shares a buy with a target of 80p.The shares edged up 0.62p to 18.88p.

AIM-listed tiddler Mirada, one of many companies offering "TV anywhere" media software, has moved into the black for the first time. The group, which counts Disney, Sky and MTV Networks as clients, saw its shares tick up 4p to 14.5p.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
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

Reach Volunteering: Trustee – PR& Marketing, Social Care, Commercial skills

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...

Reach Volunteering: Charity Treasurer

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin