MARKET REPORT: Crude price falls as Opec mulls production hike sparking hopes it will lead to lower prices at the pumps

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Oil stocks were weighed down on the London stock market yesterday as the price of crude fell to its lowest level in ten months.

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North Sea producer Harbor Energy fell 8.5 per cent or 27.9p to 299.5p and global giants BP (fell 3.8 per cent or 17.9p to 458.15p) and Shell (fell 3.1 per cent or 72p to 2272.5p) were also on the slide.

The sell-off came as oil prices fell on concerns about the Covid lockdown in China and Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers are discussing an output increase.


Crude oil shortage: North Sea producer Harbor Energy plunges 8.5% after oil price tumbles on concerns about Covid lockdown in China and OPEC discussing production hike

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Brent crude fell more than 5 percent to below $83 a barrel for the first time since January, clawing back some of its losses.

Motorists will be hoping that this will bring down prices at the pump, while any drop in inflation will also be welcomed.

But a slide on a slow start to the week in London dragged the FTSE 100 down 0.12 per cent, or 8.67 points, at 7376.85.

The FTSE 250 fared better and rose 0.68 per cent or 130.3 points to 19,413.35. Michael Hewson (flat at 232p), chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: ‘The week has been a weak start for Europe markets after the Asia session, dominated by concerns that Chinese authorities will impose further enforcement measures. Lockdown after the country reported its first Covid-related death since April.

‘Consequently, we have seen a sharp fall in the price of crude oil and base metals due to concerns over weak demand, which has acted as a drag on infrastructure resources and the energy sector.’

Compass, the world’s largest catering group, was on a slide yesterday despite an upbeat set of results.

The company said a 37.5 per cent increase in revenue to £25.8 billion in the 12 months to the end of September took them back above post-Covid levels. Profit more than tripled from £464 million to £1.5 billion.

Stock Watch – Pod Point

pod The point turned upside down after orders for electric vehicle charging points were delayed.

The group, which installs charging points for homes and firms including Tesco, said supply chain issues meant fewer electric cars were being delivered to the UK.

This has affected demand for its charging points, denting revenue. Pod Point said it expected to make losses of around £7 million this year and a similar amount in 2023. Shares have lost 5.5 per cent or 4.2 per cent or 72p.

Compass operates in 40 countries and has 500,000 employees, including 50,000 in the UK where it serves school, university and office canteens as well as sporting events such as Wimbledon.

The company said it was ‘significantly disrupted’ by Covid, but ‘recovered well and learned from the pandemic’.

Compass announced a £250 million share buyback program after completing a £500 million buyback plan.

The company has also increased its annual dividend payout by 125 per cent, meaning shareholders will receive 31.5pa a share. But shares fell 1.4 per cent, or 26.5p, to 1824p.

Diploma rose 2.6 per cent or 74p to 2874p after a year of successful acquisitions.

The technology products supplier praised its seven ‘strategically important acquisitions’ throughout the year, including Australian business Anti-Corrosion Technology (ACT) which cost £187 million.

Diplomat’s revenue rose 29 per cent to £1 billion in the year to September and its profit rose to £129.5 million in the period from £96.6 million a year earlier.

Group results saw RBC increase the target price from 2450p to 2700p.

Insurance giant Beazley rose 3.3 per cent, or 20.5p, to 643.5p after Berenberg and Morgan Stanley raised their target price.

Among keyword studios, the video game developer enjoyed a positive second half of the year thanks to a stronger dollar.

The group now expects profit and revenue for the year to be ‘comfortably ahead’ of what analysts had predicted.

Keywords said revenue of £586million would be ahead of a market range of £549million to £581million, while profit of more than £96million would certainly exceed estimates of £84million to £91million.

The group also expects next year’s results to top analysts’ expectations. Shares rose 2.4 per cent, or 64p, to 2774p.

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