Market Report: Support from Putin fuels a gain for BP

 

Russia's president Vladimir Putin took time out from giving his soldiers a pep talk for a tête-à-tête with BP's Bob Dudley this week. The meeting, at which Mr Putin is said to have pledged his support, indicates that BP could eventually be given access to Russia's Arctic fields as part of a deal that will see it sell its 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP to the state-controlled energy giant Rosneft.

The long-expected deal is unlikey before Christmas but traders were noting yesterday that Rosneft, headed by Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister, is believed to have started talks with banks in London to secure up to $15bn finance to buy BP's stake. The talks show BP and Rosneft are coming closer to agreeing a deal that would allow BP to exit from its sometimes stormy TNK-BP joint venture with a quartet of oligarchs, and BP flowed up 4.8p to 443.75p.

Traders are also pinning their hopes on Qatar's sovereign wealth fund ploughing even more cash into London listed stocks. Yesterday, a spate of reworked rumours was doing the rounds about Qatar's riches, focusing on British utility groups.

Some dealers speculated that British Gas owner Centrica could be in the Gulf oil state's sights. The business is no stranger to takeover chat. For the past six years, rumours have come and gone that Russia's state-owned Gazprom has been circling. Centrica hissed up 1.8p to 335.5p.

Takeover talk refused to die for water group United Utilities and shares were up 19.5p to 727p. But some of the wiser City scribblers argued the move in utility company share prices could be impacted by government plans to change how the retail price index is measured. The Office for National Statistics is proposing changes to the way it calculates RPI — and utility charges are linked to RPI.

Last week's rumour that the Qataris were looking again at supermarkets chain Sainsbury's has disappeared for now, and the shares were stable at 0.1p to 341.3p. Brokers also had time to natter about software group Sage again. Bid talk has done the rounds for months, and yesterday whispers of a sale or restructuring of its US arm caused the shares to edge up 2.1p to 318.3p.

Banker-bashing has become obligatory, but could HSBC be a bank investors are allowed to love? Some City scribblers think as much. Analysts earlier this week lost patience with Royal Bank of Scotland and issued a sell rating, but today scribes at Barclays Capital have come out in favour of HSBC. They claim the "market currently underestimates HSBC's earnings and dividend trajectory".

Barclays' Rohith Chandra-Rajan retains his overweight – or buy – recommendation with a share price target of 700p and said HSBC's disposals and restructuring were "well on the way" to completion. He expects underlying earnings growth to accelerate from 4 per cent this year to 26 per cent next year.

Banks are under the cosh with new capital requirements coming in from Europe, but Mr Chandra-Rajan thinks HSBC, as a result of its strong capital position and its relatively limited European exposure, will "both be ahead of other UK banks and above the level proposed by the ICB." HSBC banked gains of 9.9p to 587.8p.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts were also keen on banks yesterday, upgrading their share-price targets for a number of lenders. Barclays moved down 0.25p to 225.15p while RBS edged up 1.3p to 268.4p and Lloyds Banking Group rose 0.65p to 39.5p.

The FTSE 100 was up on news that Japan's central bank will make another round of monetary easing, but punters were lackadaisical and the index closed up only 20.32 points at 5888.48. After a strong run over the past month, shares in spread-betting company IG Group lost favour yesterday, falling 19.7p to 449.5p.

On the small-caps, persistent talk that bidders were eyeing Sportingbet was proved right when bookie William Hill said it is considering a joint offer for the Australian business with Sportingbet rival GVC Holdings. Sportingbet booked gains of 7.25p to 51p.

Octogenarian tycoon Jack Petchey's Trefick Limited has sold its entire 17.3 per cent stake in used car dealership Lookers. The shares were sold at 66p a share and small cap Lookers drove down 3p to 68.75p on the news.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape