Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Output Cheer Gives New Confidence to Buyers; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Output Cheer Gives New Confidence to Buyers; Market Report

Article excerpt


SHARE prices recovered from a slow start today to begin nudging back towards their highest level in more than a year.

Further signs of an improvement in manufacturing and industrial output provided the inducement to lure buyers back, though brokers described trading conditions as thin.

The FTSE 100 index rose 20.1 to 4277.3, exceeding its previous closing high of 4272.1 achieved last month. The index reached an intraday trading high of 4286.4 at 11.42am, its highest this year, narrowly ahead of the 4286.1 high reached on 19 August. BG Group edged ahead 41/4p to 2701/4p after broker Credit Suisse First Boston raised its recommendation from neutral to outperform and lifted its target from 263p to 305p.

CSFB is impressed with the exploration group's strong "best-in-class" cash flow. It said in a note to clients today: "With exploration and production as the main contributor to profit, we believe cash flow and returns are underpinned by a very high-quality business."

Royal & SunAlliance fell a further 23/4p to 1251/4p as investors continue to ponder its proposed one-for-one rights issue at 70p.

GlaxoSmithKline fell 18p to 1257p after a US advisory panel urged regulators to reject an experimental drug for smoker's cough.

The experts voted seven to three on Friday against Food and Drug Administration approval for GSK's Ariflo, for treating the serious lung condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, because of doubts over its effectiveness.

US securities house Goldman Sachs and Dutch bank ABN Amro are positive about GSK. Rival AstraZeneca lost 28p to 2622p despite Merrill Lynch setting a 3150p target.

HSBC traded 5p better at 8231/2p after UBS raised its rating from neutral to buy and lifted its target price from 800p to 950p. …

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