Kathleen Brooks
THE airline that once billed itself as the world’s favourite is set to report fourth quarter results on Friday, but it has hardly been an upbeat few months for British Airways. Although these profit figures will not include the disruption caused by the volcano in Iceland, the carrier has been mired in an industrial dispute that dates back around six months. So long as this uncertainty prevails it’s going to be a difficult to attract leisure passengers over the summer. The to-and-fro of legal action between BA and the unions is only prolonging the pain and the move below 200p highlights the market’s lack of confidence in the airline. The current IG Index price is 193.7p-194.3p.

Icap, the inter-dealer broker, announced profits yesterday from continuing operations of £333m. This was way ahead of the market forecast of £303m. It also stated that its share of the market had increased to 22-24 per cent. Immediately after the results were announced its share price dropped as much as 4.8 per cent to 371p before stabilising around 375p. This drop has seen it fall below its 50 and 100 day moving averages, which could limit any upside for the stock. The next support is around 362p, then 335p. Spread Co offers a spread of 374.02p-375.18p.

Land Securities, the UK’s largest property investment trust, posted mixed results for the year to 31 March yesterday. Net asset value per share increased, however rental income fell 13.5 per cent over the year. But the company’s management are more positive for the future. Most of Land Security’s portfolio is based in London, as well as retail outlets across the UK. Its key assets include Piccadilly Lights, Queen Anne’s Gate (which houses the Ministry of Justice) and the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham. Although the drop in rental income is worrying, the recovery in the overall property market and tight supply in London should help Land Securities to outperform this year. Spreadex offers a rolling spread of 609.30p-611.20p.

BAE Systems made what many analysts are calling an expedient investment yesterday when they agreed to purchase US Atlantic Marine for just over £230m. The company was privately owned and is a specialist provider of ship maintenance and repair services. This should help BAE to boost its naval capacity, according to analysts at S&P Equity Research who have rated the stock as a buy. Spreadex offers a spread on BAE Systems of 329.40p-330.40p.

The vice chairman of private equity firm Blackstone said in an interview yesterday that gold prices could reach $1,500 an ounce later this year. His comments come after gold briefly reached a record high last week as investors sold risky assets and instead bought safe havens including the precious metal. In fact demand for gold is expected to hold up this year due to the high levels of volatility in the financial markets. The sovereign debt problems in Europe are still rocking the markets, and are unlikely to be dealt with anytime soon, which is likely to keep upward pressure on gold. IG Index has a spread on the daily spot gold price of $1190.78-$1191.22.

Oil giant BP has had been under huge pressure since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of the negative press, reputational damage as well as the spiralling cost of the clean-up operation has hurt the share price, which has tumbled nearly 20 per cent since the explosion on an oil rig that BP had hired. After many failed attempts to stem the leak, earlier this weak the company was successful and it is estimated that the company is now capturing about 40 per cent, or 2,000 barrels a day, of the oil that is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. As long as efforts continue to stem the spill and there are no set-backs then this is a good entry point. Spreadex offers a rolling spread of 522.90p-524.30p.