Market Report: Talk of SFO inquiry hits Kazakh miner

Kazakh mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation is no stranger to controversy following a series of corporate governance issues, but news that the Serious Fraud Office could be considering a formal criminal inquiry left the miner buried at the bottom of the benchmark index.

Earlier this month the group parted company with law firm Dechert which it had hired to run its internal inquiry into potential corruption in its Kazakh and controversial Congo businesses.

But it emerged that the SFO has sent a section 2a notice to the legal firm concerning the investigation. The notice means the SFO can demand information at a "pre-investigation stage" when it suspects overseas bribery and corruption.

There is no indication yet that the SFO will pursue a formal inquiry but punters took fright at the suggestion.

ENRC has had a rotten April – the shares are down 30 per cent since the start of the month. Opportunistic investors lifted the shares a tad last week but these bottom fishers were left adrift when the shares declined 10.4p to 229.8p.

In February the group was the subject of takeover rumours with traders speculating that a bid was being lined up by a private European billionaire.

The rumours followed speculation that a bid from one of ENRC's joint founders – Alijan Ibragimov – had recently been rejected. Mr Ibragimov owns close to 15 per cent of the group. Its major investor, with a 26 per cent stake, is fellow miner Kazakhmys, which had also been indicated as a potential buyer.

The Kazakh government owns more than 26 per cent of Kazakhmys and would have to agree any deal. For now the takeover rumours have subsided.

After four days in the red the FTSE 100 began the day in positive territory with no new bad news to rattle investors. But during the afternoon, once the US had opened in the red, London looked less confident. The FTSE 100 couldn't hang on to its earlier gains and slipped into negative territory for a fifth day, dropping 0.54 points to 6243.67.

Michael Hewson, a senior market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "Equity markets started to roll over on vague chatter that a French bank might be in trouble and this sent banking stocks sharply lower."

Royal Bank of Scotland suffered at the hands of the rumour and closed 9.3p down at 273.95p, while Lloyds lost 1.14p to 47.085p.

Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline got the thumbs up for its lung-disease drug when advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration gave their backing for its experimental treatment Breo Ellipta. The FDA will decide whether to give full approval by 12 May.

As a result, Glaxo's shares were looking healthy at an 11-year high, but analysts still think it is a good time to buy into the pharmaceutical group.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank raised their target price to 1,620p, while Kepler, rating the stock a buy, gave it a 1,770p price target. The shares were 51p better at 1,658p.

Oil group Tullow Oil recovered some of its falls. A dry well in French Guiana was the cause of its drop on Wednesday, but analysts at Société Générale said the 21 per cent fall in the share price this month creates a buying opportunity and gave it a 1,200p price target. The shares jetted 41.5p to 1,024p – to top the blue chips.

Car and aerospace engineer GKN, which makes parts for several vehicles including Ford Cougars, pictured, reported a 4 per cent fall in revenues, but analysts at Investec said that the group's margins were up and it "remains an attractively rated stock." The shares drove up 6.3p to 252p.

Mid-cap oil and gas explorer Soco International released some good news from its TGT field and the shares spurted 3.4p to 371.9p. The wooden spoon went to coal miner New World Resources. It has scrapped its full-year guidance as coal prices continue to hit the struggling central European group. The shares slumped 22.1p to 164.9p.

On Aim, shares in Europa Oil & Gas gushed up 1.5p to 9.62p after it announced plans for a farm out with Kosmos Energy for its prospect offshore of Ireland.

On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Recruitment Consultant - Soho - IT, Pharma, Public Sector

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week