Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thundering Herd Puts Its Weight Behind BP; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Thundering Herd Puts Its Weight Behind BP; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

BP WAS being swept along by the Thundering Herd today, the shares climbing 111/4p to 448p on turnover of 46 million.

The Thundering Herd, Wall Street's nickname for broker Merrill Lynch, has decided to throw its weight behind the oil giant by upping its recommendation from neutral to buy with a price target of 520p.

Merrill's Mark Iannotti says BP is on the way up following last year's disastrous performance. It was impressed by recent second-quarter numbers and by the strength of the management. The story is coming together in terms of growth and profitability.

The shares have lost much of their premium rating compared with the European oil sector, are currently trading on nine times earnings and are regarded as low risk.

The bulls had the bit between their teeth in London where shares briefly hit a new closing high for the year. The FTSE 100 index sported a rise of 68.5 to 4272.9. The bulls look to the US and claim that the longawaited recovery there is under way.

Overnight, the Dow surged 107 points and the S&P 500 index rose back above the 1020 support level, boosted by betterthanexpected manufacturing output numbers.

The Nasdaq Composite index is trading at a 17-month best. The Dow extended those gains in early trading this afternoon.

National Grid Transco slipped 31/4p to 3841/4p as US securities house Morgan Stanley slashed its target price from 450p to 390p.

It has also downgraded earnings numbers, blaming lower US profits. The group has been linked to power cuts that plunged London and the US eastern seaboard into darkness last month. Weekend reports suggest the group could face compensation claims ranging from [pounds sterling]400 million to [pounds sterling]1 billion from businesses affected by the power cuts.

International news agency and financial YOU CAN BUY AND SELL SHARES ONLINE FOR [pounds sterling]15 AT www.thisismoney.co.uk This is Money Share Dealing Limited is an appointed representative of The Share Centre Limited. …

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