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Oil prices rise ahead of OPEC meeting

22 May 2017 17:02

Oil prices climbed 0.6% higher ahead of an OPEC meeting to decide whether output cuts would be extended, something that could help to push up prices.

The FTSE 100 index closed the day up 0.3% at 7,496.34, driven by gains in heavyweight constituents such as Vodafone (VOD) which was up 2.1% to 225p.

Other notable risers included cruise ship operator Carnival (CCL), up 0.8% to £47.70; and British American Tobacco (BATS), up 1.2% to £54.64.

Rightmove revealed that the snap general election and Brexit uncertainty failed to alarm the UK property market as year-to-date sales were 2% higher compared to the previous election year of 2015.

Gold was flat at $1,252 per ounce, while copper climbed 0.2% to $5,688 per tonne.

OVERSEAS MARKETS

Defence companies including Lockheed Martin rallied on Wall Street after the US and Saudi Arabia sealed an arms deal worth $110bn.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the day up 0.4% at 19,678. Index constituent SoftBank rose by 1.9% to JPY85.35 after it raised over $93bn to invest in technology sectors such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

FTSE 100 RISERS AND FALLERS

Product testing business Intertek (ITRK) ticked 2.3% higher to £42.63 after financial services group Kepler upgraded its recommendation from 'hold' to 'buy' thanks to its acquisition and productivity improvement strategy.

Shares in Worldpay (WPG) fell 1.9% to 315.9p as investment bank Bryan Garnier downgraded the firm to 'sell' as its US business continued to struggle.

Software firm Micro Focus (MCRO) was also subjected to unfavourable attention from financial services company Credit Suisse. It downgraded the stock to 'underperform' as analysts felt the risks to the business model were starting to increase.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca (AZN) sealed a deal with Recordati for commercial rights to high blood pressure treatments Seloken and Logimax in Europe, but shares in the blue-chip firm remained relatively flat at £51.26.

Broadband provider BT (BT.A) was subject to media speculation as Italian investigators allegedly seized documents from the Milan offices of IBM amid a fraud investigation of one its customers, BT Italy. The market overlooked the news as shares in BT nudged 1% higher to 314.8p.

FTSE 250 RISERS AND FALLERS

John Wood Group (WG.) won a contract to support one of the world's biggest offshore oil and gas projects in Russia - the Sakhalin-2 project run by Sakhalin Energy.

Paysafe (PAYS) slumped 1.8% to 474.6p as investors worried about the impact on the business if regulations were tightened in China. It has significant exposure to the Asian country.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Over a third of Pembridge Resources' (PERE) was wiped off as investors were unhappy it would pursue a London Stock Exchange listing instead of relisting as an AIM investing firm or undertaking a reverse takeover.

Investors were excited about a potential deal for wood chip supplier Active Energy (AEG) as the stock soared 32.5% to 2.98p. The company entered an agreement in principle with two Canadian provinces that could see it harvest and utilise up to 140,000 solid cubic metres of wood annually.

Hardide (HDD) announced its unit Hardide Coatings signed a seven-year supply agreement with Graco in Minneapolis for the coating of various pump components. Its shares jumped 12.5% to 1.66p.

Elsewhere in the mining sector, Metals Exploration (MTL) reported a full year pre-tax loss of £20.5m, blaming delays to ramping up operations at its Runruno gold mine.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com

Related Company: ITRK

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