Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BP Shaking off the Damage Fromquake; Market Report

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BP Shaking off the Damage Fromquake; Market Report

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL CLARK

BP WAS today shrugging off the ill-effects of a big sell-off in its shares before the close of business last night, prompted by fears of yet another possible downgrading of its growth targets.

The shares rallied 4p to 4151/2p, having been sent reeling yesterday by reports of a major earthquake in Alaska, where the oil giant has extensive interests. Dealers say BP has been forced to shut down its facilities out there for safety reasons.

BP's Alaskan project produces about 300,000 barrels of oil a day and analysts say a prolonged shutdown could force the group to take another look at its current 3% growth target. Only last week, BP took a battering after downgrading its growth forecast for the third time in two months.

It had originally set a figure of 5.5% for 2002.

Share prices generally came drifting back in thin trading, reflecting the late decline for the Dow overnight that saw it fritter away a lead of 212 points to close only 54 points higher ahead of tomorrow's meeting of the US Federal Reserve that could lead to an interest rate cut. The FTSE 100 index fell 18 points to 4123.5. A computer breakdown forced traders to switch to their telephones during early trading.

Marks & Spencer led blue-chips lower with a loss of 161/4p, or 4%, at 364p after warning that market conditions were less buoyant. The retailer reported a jump of almost a third in pre-tax profits and has achieved four consecutive quarters of growth.

Scottish Power was rewarded with a rise of 41/4p at 3761/4p after posting a strong recovery at the interim stage. City speculators claim this could pave the way for Scottish Power to make a bid for Scottish and Southern Energy, up 2p to 6481/2p, creating a new "British champion" in the energy sector.

Cookson slipped 1/4p to 211/2p on the back of its latest trading update. …

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