Market update - 4 August

The FTSE 100 was down 5.3 points at 5,349.4 at 11:51 am today.

On the leader board, the oil majors tracked the price of crude, which edged up past $125 per barrel, and Royal Dutch Shell was up 29p at 1,809p. Drax, the company behind the coal-fired power station in Yorkshire, also benefited from firmer commodities prices and gained 12p to 721p. The housing materials group Wolseley was the strongest on the benchmark index, up 10.5p at 350.25p, following talk that it may offload Stock Building Supply, its North Carolina-based subsidiary. Its private equity-owned rival HD Supply, Nasdaq-listed Builders First Source and Pro-Build are billed as the most likely buyers.

Moving up?

Imperial Energy, the Commonwealth of Independent States-focused oil & gas explorer and producer, leapt to 1170p, up 96p or 8.94 per cent. The company has confirmed a second takeover approach, widely believed to be from China's Sinopec, the state-backed oil refining and petrochemical group. The news follows an earlier 1,290p per share approach from the Oil & Natural Gas Corporation, the Indian state-backed oil & gas business.

Reacting to the news, Cazenove said that the two bidders may join hands. "There has been high level engagement between the Chinese and Indian governments to facilitate co-operation between the two countries when investing / acquiring overseas oil assets. As far as we understand, this never resulted in a formal agreement, but rather an informal [Memorandum of Understanding] of sorts… Both companies have a declared appetite for oil assets, especially those that offer good production growth - in many ways, Imperial's portfolio is tailor-made for either or both. So, it is not inconceivable that ONGC (majority government owned) and Sinopec (an arm of the government) team up to avoid competing against each other. We note that neither company has ever consummated a foreign corporate takeover of a listed entity," the broker said.

JP Morgan also weighed in, suggesting the final take-out price may be as high as 1,409p per share.

The broker said: "Summing up, our risk-based calculation of the potential value of Imperial Energy suggests the possibility of an attractive return on the shares. At this stage, we believe the shares are only a moderate fundamental value proposition, but the optionality of the deal makes them significantly more interesting."

Elsewhere, the pub operator Punch Taverns gained 17.25p to 274.75p following reports of potential bid interest from the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners.

Game was up 4.5p at 264.5p after UBS moved the stock to a short-term "buy".

"The games industry does not appear to have been affected by the consumer slowdown in the UK to date, implying some countercyclical qualities to the Game business model. Competitive threats also appear overdone, with pricing remaining relatively stable at present. We view the risk from digital downloading as a long-term concern and unlikely to affect forecasts for this cycle," the broker said.

Centrica, up 3.5p at 300.5p, and British Energy, up 13p at 713p, were firm as speculation mounted about a possible all-share merger between the two companies. The hopes follow the break down of takeover talks between British Energy and France's EDF.

Moving down?

The mining sector proved a drag on the FTSE 100 as metals prices moved lower -Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation was the worst off, down 50p at 1006p. Kazakhmys, at second place on the loser board, was down 62p at 1,361p, and Vedanta Resources slipped by 83p to 1,828p.

The banking sector was also down following results from HSBC, down 19p at 818p. The bank reported a 28 per cent drop in first half profits, broadly in line with analyst forecasts. In the wider sector Standard Chartered was weaker by 50p at 1443p and HBOS lost 5.25p to 297p.

Voices
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
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
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?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

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

Property Underwriter

£70-90,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client a London Market Insurer are seeking a Pro...

Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

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...

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