Market update - 30 December

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The Independent Online

The London market continued to rally this morning, with the FTSE 100 rising to 4352.12, up 32.77 points, and the FTSE 250 advancing by 34.55 points to 6385.11 at 11:35 am. Volumes dwindled, however, with a mere 253 million shares changing hands in early trading.

Moving up

Commodity stocks continued to underpin the gains, with the Eurasian Natural Resources gaining 5.1 per cent or 16.5p to 339.75p. BHP Billiton was up 1.77 per cent or 22p at 1265p.

Imperial Energy was up 7.28 per cent or 75p at 1105p ahead of the one o’clock deadline by which shareholders must given consent to ONGC Videsh’s 1250p per share offer. ONGC is under no obligation to extend the offer deadline if it does not receive valid acceptances representing 90 per cent of Imperial’s investor base.

Given the premium offered, analysts expect enough acceptances to come through, but warn that if it does not win enough support in the first instance, ONGC is unlikely to proceed at the current price.

Elsewhere, Cattles soared to 16.75p, up another 15.52 per cent or 2.25p, amid growing confidence in the company’s ability to secure a banking license in the New Year.

Moving down

Lloyds TSB, down 3.44 per cent or 4.4p at 123.6p, and HBOS, down 2.55 per cent or 1.8p at 68.8p, fell back following reports that trustees of the HBOS pension scheme were considering taking legal action to delay the proposed merger of the two banks.