London's FTSE 100 up for fourth day, Petrofac leads smallcaps higher

March 30, 2023 07:54 PM AEDT | By Reuters
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By Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) -UK's export-oriented FTSE 100 extended gains on Thursday, led by financials stocks and miners, while oilfield services provider Petrofac surged nearly 60% to clock its biggest intraday jump on a deal worth 13 billion euros ($14.09 billion).

Petrofac Ltd surged to the top of the FTSE Small Cap index after the company said it was awarded a framework agreement with Hitachi Energy by Dutch-German electricity grid operator TenneT to supply offshore platforms and onshore converter stations.

"Investors are looking for carbon intensive companies that are changing their spots to the spirit of the times," said Andrew Bell, chief executive officer of Witan Investment Trust.

"Petrofac was weighed down by debt earlier... it shows that when sentiment is really depressed about a company you can have a dramatic response to a single piece of good news."

The oilfield services operator had ended six-consecutive years in losses between since 2017 until 2022.

The FTSE 100 rose 0.5%, while the FTSE 250 added 1.1% by 0841 GMT.

Banks boosted the benchmark index as calm washed over markets, and precious metals miners added 2.1%.

With a day left for the end of the first quarter of the year, the FTSE 100 is on track for gains of 2%, while the mid-cap index is likely to have a muted end.

Top performing sectors this quarter include the FTSE 350 aerospace and defence, construction and materials and retailers. Following extreme gyrations earlier in the month, banks are also set to end 3% higher.

Meanwhile, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said February car production rose 13.1% in its first monthly increase in three, helped by an easing of supply-chain snags.

The FTSE 350 Automobiles and Parts sector added 2.5% and is among top-performing sectors this quarter.

Bucking the trend, Drax Group Plc slid 5.0% after the government turned down the power generator's carbon-capture project for the country's Track-1 programme.

Moonpig Group PLC added 17.9% after the online card retailer said it expects revenue to expand across 2024.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Krishna Chandra Eluri)


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