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Thursday's most followed: Bayfield Energy, Redhall Group, Kewill, Booker Group, Gooch & Housego, US Oil & Gas

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Bayfield Energy (LON:BEH) emerged among the most followed stocks this morning after announcing the spudding the EG7 well on its offshore Galeota licence area in Trinidad, pushing its shares up one percent to 58 pence.

The operational report from Bayfield made the list of the most read RNS statements of the day.

This well follows EG8, which was suspended as an oil and gas discovery in March following successful drilling results.

Bayfield operates the licence area with a 65 percent interest with the remaining 35 percent held by partner Petrotrin.

Seymour Pierce analyst Sam Wahab estimates that Bayfield will target an unrisked resource of 24.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, giving the company’s market value an upside if eight pence per share on a risked basis.

“Given the Bayfield’s recent successful result at EG8 (effectively de-risking the company’s exploration strategy in Trinidad) combined with yesterday’s weak overall sector performance; we feel that the company’s shares have again become compellingly cheap offering material upside to investors,” said Wahab.

The analyst upheld his ‘buy’ commendation on the stock with a target price of 108 pence and told investors to expect the results of the well in May this year, noting that it is similar to EG8 and should take around 46 days from the spud date to result.

Along with Xcite Energy (LON:XEL), which was among the top searches on Google Finance after drawing down £2.12 million on the £60 million equity line with Esousa, US Oil & Gas (LON:USOP) also emerged among the most followed stocks as it was de-listed from the PLUS market.

The Nevada focused explorer was surprised at the decision by the exchange, saying it “had been led to believe that dialogue was continuing”.

“The company will now examine all its options and will shortly announce an alternative trading platform for its shares,” the company said.

Meanwhile, operational progress continues to be made in Nevada, and further announcements in that regard will be made shortly.

On message boards, some traders speculated that the company could look into obtaining a listing on the AIM market.

Meanwhile, a few companies were hit by trading updates including Redhall Group (LON:RHL), which dropped 20 percent to 82.5 pence on a profit warning.

The specialist engineering support services group told the markets that its profits in the second half of the current financial year will be materially below management expectations.

The group explained that the £20 million four year contract secured by its subsidiary Booth Industries Limited is “technically challenging and has recently experienced production issues”, which have led to an increase in costs and delays to production schedules.

All other businesses within the group continue to trade as expected, added Redhall.

Likewise, software group Kewill (LON:KWL), which fell 6.5 percent to 70.5 pence, expects its full year results to miss expectations as a result of the impact of the “difficult macro-economic conditions in all regions”.

Kewill has previously said it expected to close three major contracts before the end of the financial year on March 31; however, it revealed today that it has secured just one licence deal.

One of the two other customers decided to carry out further paid for consultancy work before committing to place their order and the other deferred their project, although confirming Kewill as their supplier of choice, the group said.

The group has been able to close a large licence contract in its Reverse Logistics business in the fourth quarter, which has made a “significant contribution” to the full year results.

“Whilst the contract slippages described above are disappointing, we do have encouraging momentum going into our new financial year with the above mentioned potential contracts together with a number of other projects in our sales pipeline,” Kewill told investors.

“The board therefore looks to the future with confidence.”

The updates from food wholesaler Booker Group (LON:BOK) and optical components maker Gooch & Housego (LON:GHH) were more positive, however, shares in Booker fell four percent 81.35 pence.

Booker reported a 4.8 percent increase in total sales for the 12 weeks to 23 March compared with the same period last year, while full year sales reached £3.9 billion, up 7.3 percent from the previous year.

Like for like tobacco sales were up 7.8 percent and tobacco sales increased 5.1 percent compared to the 2010/11 financial year, while profits for the 53 weeks to 30 March were in line with expectations.

The group’s financial performance got a boost from strong growth in online sales, which rose 21 percent to £635 million.

Booker ended the year with £63 million in the bank, up from £27 million a year ago.

“Booker continues to make good progress,” said chief executive of Booker Charles Wilson.

“Customer satisfaction for choice, price and service has improved and we are serving 22,000 more customers than last year. This has helped the group increase sales by over £260 million in the past 52 weeks.

The report from Gooch & Housego showed that the business traded in line with expectations in the six month period as confidence returned to the Industrial Laser market, helping the group secure two significant orders for Q-switches from customers in the Far East.

However, Gooch & Housego said that despite this improvement, overall demand levels remain below the record levels of the last two years.

Demand from other market sectors, including telecommunications, aerospace & defence and life sciences, has been steady with sales levels meeting expectations. In aerospace and defence, the group managed to win new orders totalling more than US$7 million in the past few weeks.

“Following a difficult first half, Gooch & Housego is well-positioned to benefit from improving market conditions and has the capacity to respond quickly should demand continue to increase,” said chief executive Gareth Jones.

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