THERE’S been no shortage of news regarding the increased demand for natural gas by UK consumers as the cold snap continues to grip the country. As a result, BG Group (formerly British Gas) has got the year off to a cracking start, outperforming the FTSE-100 by over 100 per cent. But the cold (hopefully) won’t last forever. The freeze has also highlighted the problems with gas storage capacity in the UK, which requires investment in in the coming years. So, has the rally run its course? IG Index offers 1,185.3p-1,188.2p for BG Group.
Resolution, the investment vehicle owned by the charismatic Clive Cowdery has been gobbling up players in the British life insurance sector all year. Now it’s taking a shine to Legal & General, the investments, insurance and pensions provider. Rumours of a takeover bid waiting in the wings caused Legal & General’s stock price to soar by more than five per cent on Friday and as the rumour mill heats up there could be further upside. ETX Capital offers 83.77p-84.02p.
Tesco reports a trading update tomorrow after a slew of other retailers announced good sales growth over the festive season. It’s not been plain sailing for all the major retailers and there’s been some notable under-performers such as Marks & Spencer whose 0.8 per cent rise in sales disappointed the market. However, John Lewis, which had a record-breaking Christmas, and Next both outperformed consensus and in general supermarkets have done well this winter. This should bode well for Tesco, which has the largest market share of all the supermarkets in the UK. But it’s worth remembering that consumer confidence had the sharpest fall for some time in December and that shoppers might not be in such great shape as we move into the new year. City Index is offering a spread on Tesco of 413.4p-414.3p and Capital Spreads offers a price of 415.3p-416.0p.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee held interest rates at their record 0.5 percent lows for yet another month last week, but many analysts believe rates could start moving upwards again soon – particularly if the economy picks up strongly in 2010 and the Bank decides to end its stimulus plans and stops quantitative easing. Spreadex has a March-based UK Short Sterling quote of 99.34-99.38.
Tullow Oil is in focus after it announced that its oil field in Uganda, which it part owns with Heritage Oil, has 4bn extra barrels of oil in its reserves, bringing the total level to 6bn barrels. However, a recent note out from Jeffries International, the global securities and investment banking firm, was downbeat on its prospects. It wrote that the upside potential for Tullow Oil for this year has probably been reached and expectations for further oil discoveries and a boost to its reserves levels are too optimistic. ShortsandLongs.com has a rolling spread of 1,328.6p-1,332.4p.