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Split talk sees G4S march to top of FTSE 100

Britain’s blue chip stocks look like ending the week above 6,700 after flat trading on Friday meant they held the gains compiled over the course of the week.

The shares have climbed to five-month highs thanks to some shaky September jobs numbers from the US.

This filled investors with hope that the Federal Reserve will stick by its bond buying scheme for the foreseeable future.

Friday’s tentative trading, which saw the FTSE 100 add just 6 points to 6,719, was prompted by fears about demand for growing superpower China, the world’s largest importer of metals.

This saw mining shares fall, with Vedanta Resources (LON:VED) leading the pack, down 2% to £10.66.

G4S (LON:GFS) however propped up the index at the other end, up 3% to £2.60 as rumours about a possible break-up of the security giant swirled around the City.

HSBC, which lifted its recommendation from ‘neutral’ to ‘sell’, sparked the speculation, saying: “Hopes that value can be unlocked through break-ups and a rejuvenated strategy are likely to buoy G4S’s stock through what is perceived as a rump of difficult trading.”

Private equity firm Charterhouse Capital is checking out the company’s cash solutions business, while activist hedge fund Cevian Capital has been buying into the firm to encourage it to sell off parts of the business.

Other risers include Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS), up 2.4%, and iPad chip designer ARM Holdings (LON:ARM), up 1.9%.

The mid-cap index slipped slightly, with AZ Electronic Materials (LON:AZEM) down 3.4% after it was cut to ‘underperform’ by Credit Suisse.

The housebuilders, which are heavyweights on the FTSE 250, were also trading lower, along with PC World and Currys owner Dixons Retail (LON:DXNS).

Premier Oil (LON:PMO) was among the top performers as its 15%-owned Rochelle field in the North Sea achieved ‘first gas’.

As for the small caps, Antrim Energy (LON:AEY) jumped 23% to 7.7p as it confirmed the restart of oil production from the Causeway and Cormorant East fields in the North Sea.

This follows the completion of a routine phase of maintenance, which began in August but had overrun.

Additionally, Antrim also confirmed that production rates from Causeway are now expected to rise over the course of the year, due to the start-up of electrical submersible pumps and the use of water injection.

Prior to shut-down, Causeway was producing just shy of 3,000 barrels per day while Cormorant East, which came online earlier this year, produced 625 barrels per day in the first half of the year.

Antrim owns a 35.5% interest in Causeway and an 8.4% stake in Cormorant East (which is located in the Contender Area).

Industry sources also suggest Antrim is a possible takeover target for those looking to get a foothold off the coast of Ireland.

Seeing Machines (LON:SEE) rose 2.3% to 5.5p when it revealed Cliffs Natural Resources is to trial its driver safety technology, which monitors truck drivers’ fatigue levels.

Seeing Machines said the technology will be installed into six road trains for a 90 day fatigue assessment trial which, once completed, could see a larger scale rollout across the fleet. The value of this deployment is over A$150,000.


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July 31 2012

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