Market Report: Fracking investors dealt a further blow


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The Independent Online

Investors who bet on a fracking boom in Britain are out of pocket. The country’s nascent shale gas industry was dealt a blow yesterday after Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called for a moratorium on fracking, citing climate change concerns, public opposition and uncertainty about its effects. It comes just days after Cuadrilla’s requests for two proposed wells were knocked back by Lancashire County Council.

Westhouse Securities warned that the EAC’s verdict “creates significant further uncertainty around what has been a very emotive issue”. Shares in IGas, the leading UK shale gas firm, fell 7.5p to 19.5p.

Despite uncertainty surrounding Greece, the FTSE 100 managed to extend its unbroken winning streak to an eighth day, rising 19.57 points to 6,852.4. BG Group topped the index, 25.9p better at 917.6p, as rumours continued to circulate that it could be the subject of a break-up bid from Exxon Mobil or Petrobras.

Coca-Cola HBC slipped 36p to 1,076p as Citi warned that political uncertainty in Greece and Russia and unfavourable exchange rates mean the year ahead is likely to be a rough one for the bottling company.

The ink is barely dry on Shire’s $5.2bn deal for drug maker NPS Pharmaceuticals but it is already paying off. Natpara, one of the New Jersey-based company’s drugs, has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, helping Shire rise 52p to 4,868p. AstraZeneca, down 33.5p at 4,700p, could be on the hunt for a US drug maker.

OnTheMarket, a new property portal set up by estate agents to rival Zoopla and Rightmove, launched yesterday. Jefferies was unimpressed by the site, saying it was “more of a damp squib than a nuclear warhead”. Zoopla shares have fallen by 25 per cent in the run-up to the launch and the broker said this now looks like an overreaction. Zoopla recovered 14.5p to 169.5p and Rightmove inched up 7p to 2,350p.

Filter-maker Porvair rose 7.25p to 297.25p, thanks to a 10 per cent jump in profits to £8.4m and a 23 per cent leap in revenues to £104m. The company also announced three new contracts to provide spare parts, worth $5.5m.