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Ophir Energy jumps on gas find; FTSE edges up
Shares in Ophir Energy (OPHR.L) leap after the Africa-focused oil and gas firm announces a gas discovery in Tanzania.
Shares in Ophir Energy (OPHR.L) leapt on Monday after the Africa-focused oil and gas firm announced a gas discovery in Tanzania, while Britain’s FTSE 100 inched higher ahead of German business sentiment data and a report on US home sales.
Ophir shares shot up 53p, or 13%, to 455p after the London-based group said its Jodari-1 exploration well indicated gross recoverable resources in the area of 2.5 trillion to 4.4 trillion cubic feet.
‘The result from Jodari-1... has materially exceeded pre-drill estimates and represents the largest discovery in Ophir's history,’ said Nick Cooper, chief executive at Ophir. He added that the results were important for the development Ophir’s partnership with BG Group (BG.L), Ophir's joint venture partner offshore Tanzania. BG shares hardened 17p to £15.09.
Analysts at Oriel Securities reiterated a ‘buy’ recommendation for Ophir following the announcement, saying: ‘The prospectivity in Tanzania appears to have the potential to support three [liquefied natural gas] trains and we see material exploration upside elsewhere in the portfolio.’
Spain’s borrowing costs fall
Meanwhile, the UK index of blue-chip shares improved 0.15%, or nine points, to 5,864 and the All Share index added 0.16%, or five points, to 3,047. See the FTSE’s performance and the index’s top winners and losers.
The gains came following reports that Germany was set to allow a temporary increase in the eurozone’s financial ‘firewall’ this week, to prevent the bloc’s debt woes from spreading further.
‘Weekend press reports suggest a thaw in German and Finnish opposition, but much will depend on the will of the fiscally weaker member states to deliver on austerity and structural reform,’ said Michala Marcussen, head of global economics at Société Générale.
‘While financial stress in the periphery may thus ease anew, austerity headwinds will continue to blow.’
Stock markets elsewhere in Europe weakened slightly: Germany’s DAX index lost 0.15% to 6,985, France's CAC 40 index lost 0.36% to 3,464, and the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was 0.1% to 1,078.
The yield, or implied interest rate, on benchmark 10-year Spanish government bonds slumped 10 basis points to 5.32%, after a sharp rise in Spain’s borrowing costs heightened fears that recent efforts to contain the debt crisis were failing.
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN.L) topped the leader board on the FTSE 100, taking on 6p to 256p, after the fund manager reported that clients added £1.4 billion of new cash in first two months of the year.
On the FTSE 250, EasyJet (EZJ.L) jumped 35p to 496p after the no-frills airline said it expected its first-half loss to come in smaller than previously thought.
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