Market Report: BP and Shell shares rise as oil price edges up

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Investors stocked up on oil shares in time for Christmas after a bit of festive cheer for the bombed-out sector. 

The price of a barrel of Brent crude rose 31 cents to $36.66, still perilously close to 11-year lows, but the move helped oil stocks recover from this week’s falls.

On the blue-chip index, BP gained 4.3p to 339.45p, while merger hopefuls Shell and BG Group put on 13p to 1463.5p and 21.2p to 921p. 

Further down the food chain, Tullow Oil advanced 3.9p to 159.8p, Cairn Energy was 2.1p better off at 140.6p, and Ophir Energy improved 2.15p  to 88.75p.

Petra Kuraliova, a dealer at Capital Index, said: “If the US can cut the output at least by a million or two [barrels] this week, the markets may well attempt to hit the $40 mark.”

Trading volumes were unsurprisingly thin as business winds down for the winter break, but the FTSE 100 still moved up 39.46 points to 6074.30.

The top flight outshone the FTSE 250, up 0.36% to 17,138.91, which has less exposure to oil and mining.

Over the year, however, that has been a blessing with the FTSE 250 climbing 6.5% against a 7.5% fall for its bigger brother.

Investors tuned out of ITV, which was the biggest blue-chip faller, down 4.6p to 267p, as US giant Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, quashed rumours it was eyeing a bid.

Comcast said: “We don’t comment on M&A rumours, but the speculation on ITV is just completely inaccurate.”


No deal: Comcast said it was not planning to buy Downton Abbey maker ITV

On the junior market, shares in online fashion retailer Koovs, India’s answer to Asos, dipped 0.25p to 26.5p as first-half losses widened to 570.6 million Indian rupees (£5.8 million), even as revenues jumped to 199.2 million rupees.

Iron ore group West African Minerals dipped 0.03p to 2.1p as executive chairman Brad Mills, who ran embattled platinum miner Lonmin when it was flying high in the FTSE 100, said it would continue to “weather the storm” and scope out asset deals on the cheap.

Mills has turned to running smaller companies in recent years after he was forced out by Lonmin’s board in 2008 in the midst of its bitter £5.6 billion takeover battle with Xstrata.

Shell company Infinity Energy, which counts former Portsmouth FC chief operating officer Bruce Vandenberg as a director, crashed 0.21p, or 48%, to 0.22p after talks to take over nine oil licences in South Wales ended.

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December 22, 2015 |
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