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UK Equities
Wood Group pleases with trading update
From the Financial Times of Thu, 11 Dec 2014 10:02:40 GMT

Energy services groups were top of both the benchmark and the mid-cap indices on Thursday after FTSE 250-listed Wood Group said it would weather weak oil prices thanks to its strong order book.

Shares in the company, which delivers production support to the oil and gas industries and power companies, rose 3.4 per cent to 590p after saying it expected its full-year earnings to be in line with expectations and up on last year’s performance, when profit dropped 15 per cent due to weakness at its Canadian unit.

Wood Group said its cost-reimbursable order book and range of longer-term contracts would ensure resilience in 2015. The energy services sector has been one of the hardest hit since oil prices started falling in the summer, on concerns that producers will cut back on spending.

“The company highlights a number of areas where the business is performing well or is expected to remain resilient and in this regards it is a good statement,” said analysts at Deutsche Bank.

Petrofac, Wood Group’s FTSE 100-listed rival, led the main index, climbing 2 per cent to 731.4p as other energy-related stocks edged higher. BP rose 1.3 per cent to 404.7p and Royal Dutch Shell added 0.8 per cent to £21.15.

Meanwhile, oil exploration and production company Afren rose to the peak of the mid-cap index, climbing 3.6 per cent to 37.6p.

After initial modest gains, the FTSE 100 flattened after just over an hour of trade, at 6,501.3, while the FTSE 250 was 0.3 per cent lower at 15,695.9.

Resource groups and financial services kept the pressure on the FTSE 100. Glencore, the mining and commodity trading group, fell 2.7 per cent to 298.2p after JPMorgan cut its price target on the stock to 350p from 370p, retaining its neutral rating.

Aberdeen Asset Management stood beneath all others on the main index, falling 3.3 per cent to 424.3p as financial services stocks endured a volatile few sessions.

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