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businessday.co.za: ‘Shell and BP were lifted by merger talk…’: ‘ BP and Shell declined to comment’

International Markets Report:

Posted to the web on: 18 May 2007

EXTRACTS

Energy shares rose to lifetime highs after oil prices jumped more than $2 a barrel.
Oil company Exxon Mobil rose 0,4% to end at $81,80, after hitting a lifetime high of $82,44 while Chevron climbed to a high at $82, before ending up 0,9% at $81,46.
GE fell 0,8% to $36,53 and was the top drag on the S&P 500 index. Caterpillar slid 1,5% to $74,84.

BRITAIN’s FTSE 100 index rose 0,3% yesterday as heavyweight oil shares Shell and BP were lifted by merger talk, but miners fell on lower copper prices. Shares in Royal Dutch Shell rose 3% to their highest close in six months as traders cited tie-up talk. Shares in BP added 2,4%. BP and Shell declined to comment.

Other oil stocks were also up, due to a rise in oil prices, with the DJ Stoxx European oil and gas sector index 2% higher. The FTSE 100 closed up 19,8 points, or 0,3%, at 6579,3, ticking up at the end of a largely subdued trading session.

Also benefiting from merger and acquisition talk, shares in British-based credit information firm Experian Group added 3,9% to lead FTSE gainers. Traders cited the company as a potential bid target after US rival Acxiom agreed to be bought for $3bn, a 14% premium to its closing price on Wednesday.

Capping the oil sector’s strong advance, miners were hit by falling copper prices, with Xstrata off 2,6%, BHP Billiton down 2,2% and Rio Tinto shedding 2%.

Reuters
Sapa-AFP

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