Thursday's most followed including Royal Mail, ebola, New Britain Palm Oil, Greka Drilling and Hayward Tyler


Ebola, London house prices and Royal Mail (LON:RMG) were all topics covered in webworld  Thursday as FTSE100 was climbing after yesterday's losses - triggered by a rebound in stocks overnight.

News has emerged that the UK  is now sending troops and  a medical ship to Sierra Leone, one of  the West African countries affected by the outbreak of the virus and  where over 3,800 people have died.

Footsie's biggest gainers were the big cap diggers , with Randgold Resources (LON:RRS), up 7.28%.

Closely followed postal giant Royal Mail (LON:RMG) was in focus - and shares lifted 1.56% - a it revealed it was  making an £18mln provision after reaching a settlement in principle with French watchdogs over a breach of competition law.

"By agreeing to settle and provide compliance commitments now, Royal Mail will benefit from a reduction to any fine," it told investors.

It is almost a year since Royal Mail took its stock market bow at a price of 330p. In the months after the float the price peaked at above 600p before a slow decline from the spring onwards. The shares now stand at 1.48%.

A notable London riser was Greka Drilling (LON:GDL), as it revealed the first well on the US$65 million contract for Essar Oil in India had been spud.

The well in the Raniganj East Block in West Bengal was started by the GD75-17 rig and is currently at a depth of 435 metres with drilling continuing.

Shares surged 12.36% to 10 pence a pop.

London house prices were also in focus as RICS said in a new survey that prices in the capital, recently assessed as the most expensive place to live and work, had fallen for the first time in nearly four years.

Internet retailer N Brown (LON: BWNG) dropped 12.89% and was one of London's biggest losers - as the fashion seller reported a fall in sales and revenue for the half ended August 30.

Like-for-like sales, excluding newly opened stores, were 0.5% lower. Profit before taxation was £42.7mln, down from £44.1mln in 2013.

Meanwhile, New Britain Palm Oil (LON:NBPO) was surging ahead - with shares up over 74% as it receoved takeover offer from Malaysian giant Sime Darby worth 715p a share.

That's a premium of 85% to last night’s closing price. 

The Malaysian firm looks to add high yielding plantations that can immediately boost its earnings.

"As a brown field asset, NBPOL will immediately contribute to earnings without the incumbent risks associated with green field expansion," managing director of Sime Darby Plantation Franki Anthony Dass said in a statement.

Engineer Hayward Tyler (LON:HAYT) continues to blossom - with shares up 6.12% as it revealed it had won contracts for the energy and muclear markets worth more than £10mln last month.

New contracts signed in the first half now stand at £27.6 million. That's 7% ahead of the same period last year and ahead of internal targets for the first half, the firm told investors.

"Given the visibility we now have, and the ongoing positive outlook for new orders, the board is confident in the group's ability to at least achieve current market expectations for the full year," confirmed Ewan Lloyd-Baker, chief executive.

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