MARKET REPORT: Shell shares hit a record high amid conflict fears


Shares in Shell hit a record high as oil prices held firm above $90 amid conflict in the Middle East.

Britain’s most valuable company rose 1.1 per cent, or 28.5p, to 2750.5p, meaning it is now worth £183billion.

The FTSE 100 giant’s gains came as the price of oil stabilised above $90 a barrel following a 7.5 per cent surge last week.

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: ‘The Israel-Hamas war sent oil prices sharply higher last week, in a move that could derail inflation’s path back down towards more normal levels.’

Demand for oil plummeted during the pandemic as governments around the world enforced travel restrictions. 

Record high: Shell shares rose 1.1% as the price of oil stabilised above $90 a barrel following a 7.5% surge last week

Record high: Shell shares rose 1.1% as the price of oil stabilised above $90 a barrel following a 7.5% surge last week

That saw Shell’s share price reach a record low of 900p towards the end of October 2020.

Since then, shares have trebled in value with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sending oil and gas prices surging. 

It is now worth more than Astrazeneca (down 0.02 per cent, or 2p, to 10972p), which lies in second place on the FTSE 100 with a value of £170billion, and HSBC (0.2 per cent, or 1.3p, to 651.3p) in third at around £130billion.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent, or 31.03 points, to 7630.63 and the FTSE 250 added 0.4 per cent, or 65.17 points, to 17519.39.

It was another volatile day for Energean, the mid-cap oil and gas firm which is listed in both London and Tel Aviv.

The company has seen its shares yo-yo since the attacks on Israel. They surged 6.8 per cent, or 57.5p, to 907.5p yesterday.

Ocado fell furthest on the blue-chip index following a bleak note from Barclays, which warned that the online supermarket was likely to miss its own medium-term forecasts. 

Stock Watch – Cerillion

Cerillion shares rose 8 per cent as it eyed higher profits.

The group, which provides billing, charging and customer relationship management software, raked in record revenue and profit in the first six months of its financial year to September 30.

The momentum continued in the second half, with Cerillion expecting its annual profit to be ‘meaningfully ahead’ of the £14.3million pencilled in by analysts. 

Revenue is expected to be around £39million. 

Shares gained 8 per cent, or 85p, to 1145p.

Following talks with several industry experts and its own analysis, the broker concluded that potential roll-out delays and limited free cash flow posed a threat to the blue-chip firm. 

It also highlighted increased competition from the likes of Autostore, a Norwegian company Ocado was embroiled in a legal battle with. 

As a result, Barclays downgraded the stock to ‘underweight’ from ‘equal-weight’ and slashed the target price to 430p from 680p. Shares sank 5.8 per cent, or 30.8p, to 500p.

There was some respite for St James’s Place with shares rising 5 per cemt, or 32p, to 672.2p. 

The stock plunged to a ten-year low on Friday when bosses at Britain’s largest wealth manager confirmed they were looking at revamping its lucrative fee structure.

GSK is hoping its drug dostarlimab will be approved by EU regulators to treat women with severe endometrial cancer, a disease which affects the womb.

The pharma giant said a committee within the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the drug, with a final decision expected by the end of the year. But shares dropped 1.1 per cent, or 16.8p, to 1493.2p.

ITM Power soared 3.3 per cent, or 2.26p, to 71.5p as the green energy firm set its sights on entering the US, which it said could become one of the largest markets for electrolysers.

Tristel boss Paul Swinney said the outlook for the disinfectant firm is the strongest it has been in its 30-year history ahead of its entry into North America next year. Shares rose 4.4 per cent, or 17.5p, to 412.5p.

But Audioboom headed in the other direction, sliding 15.3 per cent, or 27.5p, to 152.5p following a slump in revenue in the nine months to September 30 amid a weak advertising market.

Safestay has bought a freehold property, which used to be a hostel, in Edinburgh city centre for £4.3million. 

The hostel chain hopes to re-open the site ahead of summer next year. Safestay sold a hostel in the city for £16million in 2021.

Shares rose 2 per cent, or 0.5p, to 25p.

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