Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Oil Keeps Footsie in Black despite Thin Trade

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Big Oil Keeps Footsie in Black despite Thin Trade

Article excerpt

Byline: MICKEY CLARK

THE soaring oil price was helping to lubricate the inner workings of thestock market today. In fact, shares of the big oil companies accounted for fiveof the top 10 best performers in the Footsie 100 index following those record,better-than-expected first-quarter profits from Royal Dutch Shell and BP.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell "B" led the way with a rise of 120p to 2043p, whileits "A" shares put on 114p at 2055p.

BP was another winner, with a rise of 33p to 611 1 / 2 p. The spending spreealso spilled over into BG Group, up 34p at 1332p, ahead of what are expected tobe bumper first-quarter profits tomorrow, and Cairn Energy, 39p higher at3038p.

Such is the size of their weightings in the index, the combined efforts of BPand Shell were the equivalent of a 50-point rise. Dresdner Kleinwort has feltmoved to repeat its buy rating on BP with a 675p target.

Strip out the contribution from the oil companies and the FTSE 100 would havebeen showing a loss on the day. As it was, it managed to sport a rise of 9.1 at6099.5.

As if to underline the point, the FTSE 250 index was nursing a loss of 64.6 at10,052.9. Trading conditions remained thin. Caution was the order of the dayamong investors ahead of tonight's decision on interest rates by the FederalReserve and with oil continuing to nudge towards $120 a barrel.

Mining shares caved in to profit-taking, with Kazakhmys sliding 84p to 1641p,Eurasian Natural Resources down 46p at 1243p and bid target Rio

Tinto off 199p at 6027p. HBOS fell 4 1 / 2 p to 491 1 / 4 p after the bankconfirmed plans to press ahead with a [pounds sterling]4 billion rights issue on the basis oftwo shares for every five held at 275p.

Brokers are now asking who will be next to go cap in hand to shareholders.

The City reckons it will be Barclays , down 10p at 460/ 2 p. Royal Bank ofScotland , which has already announced plans to tap shareholders for [pounds sterling] 12billion, fell 3 3 / 4 p at 350 1 / 2 p. …

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