Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oil Giants Shake off the Jitters over Opec; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Oil Giants Shake off the Jitters over Opec; Market Report

Article excerpt


CRUDE oil prices continued to fall ahead of the outcome of Opec's meeting today and, as production cutbacks appeared to be off for the time being, oil shares rallied from earlier falls, led by BP, up 9p to 5091/2p.

Shell's buyback plan was in operation yesterday as it bought four million shares at 454p each which, with added option activity, pushed the price up 361/2p to 4291/2p, in a sector renowned for its volatility during war threats. Elsewhere, the possibility of global aggression put increased pressure on aerospace group Rolls-Royce, down 81/2p to 1321/2p. British Airways also took the brunt of the increasingly dangerous look of the international scene and again became the Footsie fall guy, losing 11p to 1631/2p, a 6% setback that flew it to the top of the FTSE 100 fallers.

The logic of Marks & Spencer buying its own shares still looks out of kilter with the rest of the retail market. The arrival of George Davies next Friday and rumours that former Tory shadow minister Archie Norman may join the group now he has time on his hands, having been expelled from the Iain Duncan Smith team, failed to lift M&S. The shares added 2p to 241p.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein said that shares in Marconi are worth "between nought and 10p" sending them down 11/4p to 231/2, ever nearer to the all-time low of 20p they hit earlier this month. Its sale of two million shares in French communications giant Lagardere to Salomon Smith Barney for [pound]43 million was seen as a drop in the ocean against estimates that it needs to raise some [pound]2 billion in cash.

Boots fell back 131/2p to 595p on a patchy trading statement. Some analysts fear second-quarter sales in the core Boots The Chemist chain must have gone backwards. But others were reassured, including HSBC which upgraded from hold to add. …

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