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ifaonline.co.uk: Oil pushes FTSE past 6,600: ‘rumours of a potential tie-up between Shell and BP’

Friday 18th May 2007: 09:58
By Nyree Stewart

The FTSE 100 is up 53.3 points, or 0.81%, to 6,632.6 in early trading, as oil prices push the index higher following rumours of a potential tie-up between Shell and BP.

Cadbury Schweppes is posting the biggest gains with a rise of 3.49% to 697p, on reports private equity firms are mustering a potential £8bn offer for the company, while BG Group has added 2.47% to 789p.

Among oil stocks Royal Dutch Shell ‘B’ stocks are up 2.31%to £19.02, closely followed by BP which has climbed 2.28% to 583.5p, while insurer Royal & Sun Alliance has added 2.43% to 172.9p.

British Airways is the biggest loser with a fall of 3.99% to 481.5p, as operating profits fell and it confirmed it has made a provision of £350m for possible fines and compensation following investigations into long haul passenger and cargo fuel surcharges.

DSG International is also down 0.7% to 170.8p, closely followed by Imperial Tobacco Group which has slipped 0.62% to £22.35, while Marks & Spencer is down 0.4% to 738p, and Reckitt Benckiser has dropped 0.36% to £27.89.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 99.02, or 0.6%, to 17,399.58 at the 3pm close, as steelmakers led losses after Tokyo Tekko forecast a drop in net income in the current financial year.

Nippon Steel lost 26 yen, or 3%, to 836, while JFE Holdings, the second largest maker of the alloy in Japan, dropped 150 yen, or 2%, to 7,280, Sumitomo Metal Industries, slid 19 yen, or 2.9%, to 631, and Tokyo Tekko tumbled 41 yen, or 4.9%, to 789.

Credit Saison, the nation’s largest credit card provider by market value, tumbled 150 yen, or 4.3%, to 3,350, while Aeon Credit Service fell 20 yen, or 1%, to 2,090, and Mitsumi Electric, which makes parts for Nintendo’s Wii game console, slumped 290 yen, or 7.3%, to 3,660.

Inpex Holdings surged 30,000 yen, or 2.9%, to 1.05 million yen, while Cosmo Oil, the nation’s No. 4 refiner, jumped 8 yen, or 1.5%, to 534, as the price of crude oil for June delivery rose 3.7% to $64.86 in New York.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the session down 10.81 points, or 0.08%, to 13,476.72, as rising oil prices offset early gains.

Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar was the biggest loser with a fall of 1.46% to $74.84, closely followed by Verizon Communications which slipped 1.4% to $42.14, while Coca-Cola declined 1.02% to $52.20.

JP Morgan Chase slipped 0.79% to $52.56, while Hewlett-Packard dropped 0.75% to $44.87, although losses were limited by United Technologies which ended the day up 1.3% to $69.37.

However, Boeing posted the biggest gains with a rise of 1.52% to $96.79, closely followed by Du Pont which advanced 0.8% to $51.91, while 3M Company added 0.77% to $86.67, and McDonald’s climbed 0.56% to $52.26.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Nyree Stewart on 020 7034 2681 or email [email protected]

http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/public/showPage.html?page=447524

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