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US shares edge higher

US shares edge higher

US shares started higher in contrast to European stocks which were dropping as Syria dominated sentiment.

The bench mark Dow Jones was up 29 points at 14,805, while Nasdaq rose 12 to 3,591. 

Meanwhile, S&P 500 added four points to stand at 1,634.

Among the top risers on S&P 500 was Chevron Corp, up over 2%, following on from the news that Total SA and Cairo-based Beltone Private Equity have bought Chevron’s Egyptian retail fuel stations and aviation businesses.

The pair have purchased 66 service stations, two oil depots and aviation fuel operations at the Cairo and Marsa Alam airports.

Premier jeweller Tiffany was the biggest loser, shedding 2.7%.

Back in UK, the Footsie dropped 0.28% to stand at 6,422.

Also in focus was the first public speech from new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney in Nottingham, designed to give UK investors further confidence in the economy.

The central bank’s new boss said its decision to give forward guidance on interest rates would remove uncertainty. 

But he said that there was a one-in-three chance of the jobless rate falling below 7% by mid-2015 – the level at which rates could rise.

On the equity markets front, geopolitical jitters brought on the customary rise in energy prices. UK oil producers Shell (LON:RDSB), BP (LON:BP.) were among some of the top FT100 risers.

However, troubled security services firm G4S (LON:GFS) was among the top losers after unveiling several initiatives to cut its huge debt pile.

Firstly, there was news of a placing with institutional investors, which will increase the number of shares in issue by one-tenth.

Several disposals have also been announced, notably the sale of its Canadian cash solutions business for £67mln and its Colombian Data solutions business for around £35mln. Also in the pipeline are deals to offload the US Government Solutions and the regulated secure solutions businesses, which should raise a further £150mln.

G4S, best known for botching the manpower requirements for security at the London 2012 Olympics, also released first half figures this morning. Turnover in the first half of 2013 rose 7.2% to £3.65bn. Organic growth was 5.4% for the group as a whole, driven mainly by developing markets.

London broker Investec said headline numbers have come in at the lower end of the consensus range, but it has retained its ‘buy’ rating on the shares.

On the other hand, FTSE 250 miner Kenmare Resources (LON:KMR) fell out of favour as the shares dropped over 9% after it swung back into the red in the first half of 2013.

The company, which mines ilmenite and zircon in Mozambique, reported a loss before tax of US$9.2 million compared with a profit of US$38.8mln in the same period last year.

Investec said: “Clearly a poor result for KMR with a balance sheet that appears stretched following the 50% expansion programme.

“However, this is now approaching a conclusion and as the expansion contributes the impact of fixed costs should improve margins provided there are no major issues with the ramp up,” it added.

Tony Hayward’s Genel Energy (LON:GENL) is set for a boost as it was confirmed among the firms being brought into the STOXX Europe 600 index.

It is expected that its inclusion will enhance demand for the share as index tracking funds are compelled to buy shares to be appropriately weighted to the benchmark.

This additional demand has been estimated in the order of US$7.4mln, which equates to nearly three times the stock’s usual daily trading volume.

Among smaller caps, drug discovery company Summit (LON:SUMM) built on earlier gains after receiving further good news for its drug to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

The group has been given a key composition of matter patent that covers its discovery SMT C1100 for use in the treatment of the fatal muscle wasting disease.

This “cornerstone” patent provides a period of exclusivity for the small molecule utrophin modulator to at least November 2028. 

Northcote Energy’s (LON:NCT) offer to buy some of Aminex’s (LON:AEX) assets in Texas continued to boost both companies' shares.

Northcote is to acquire up to 25% in Aminex’s South Weslaco field in Hidalgo County.

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Chevron Corporation Timeline

November 01 2013
August 28 2013

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