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STOCKS NEWS UK-Gulf Keystone gains on upbeat Iraqi well data

Wed, 11th Aug 2010 10:57

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08:20GMT 11Aug2010-Gulf Keystone gains on upbeat Iraqi well data


Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum rise as much as 9 percent to touch a year high after the oil explorer says tests at its Shaikan-1 well in Iraq's Kurdistan show a ten-fold increase in flow rates, raising expectations for future production rates.

'Clearly more good news is flowing from Gulf Keystone,' says analyst Richard Nolan at Daniel Stewart.

'The results that we saw today are very encouraging. It helps to give a lot of credibility and support to not only Gulf Keystone but anybody who is working in Kurdistan,' he adds.

The broker keeps its 'buy' rating and price target of 150 pence on the stock.

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08:01GMT 11Aug2010-Capital & Regional up on positive H1


Shares in Capital & Regional Plc rise 4 percent after the property fund manager swings to a first-half profit, boosted by disposals and higher property values.

'We believe management is doing all the right things and trading at 42 percent discount to net asset value combined with strong potential acquisition power of 1.5 billion pounds (for third parties), the stock does look interesting in our view,' broker J.P. Morgan Cazenove says.

The broker has an 'overweight' rating on the stock.

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07:29GMT 11Aug2010-Micro Focus falls on flat Q1; lower guidance


Shares in Micro Focus International fall 24 percent to a 10-month low after the IT firm disappoints with flat underlying revenue growth for the first quarter, and lowers its guidance for full-year sales.

The company says a number of significant transactions have been delayed, and it now sees revenue growth for the year in the low single digits rather than its previous mid-single digit forecast. It said it was still targeting double-digit growth in the medium term.

'With confidence already fragile and a second-half weighted year, Micro Focus's rating will not start to reflect ambitions for double digit growth in the medium term,' says KBC Peel Hunt analyst Alex Jarvis, who downgrades to 'hold' from 'buy'.

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07:29GMT 11Aug2010-Rok tumbles as co suspends CFO, warns on profit


Shares in Rok plunge as much as 50 percent after the British repair and maintenance firm says it has suspended its chief financial officer due to 'serious failings' in financial controls at its plumbing unit, and warns on full-year profits as a result.

'The wider implications have to be if there are failings there there could easily be failings elsewhere and I think that's why the shares have halved,' says Panmure Gordon analyst Andy Brown.

The broker cuts its stance from 'buy' to 'sell', saying: 'The result of this news means we cannot justify buying the shares at this stage.'

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07:46GMT 11Aug2010-Standard Life falls; Panmure downgrades


Standard Life shares fall over 3 percent as a ratings downgrade from one of the sector's top analysts weighs on the company, which posted higher interim profits on Wednesday.

The stock is one of the biggest losers on Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index , which is down by 1.3 percent.

Panmure Gordon analyst Barrie Cornes says he has cut his rating on Standard Life to 'hold' from 'buy', while maintaining a 225 pence price target on the stock.

'I thought they were good figures but the stock's had a good run,' he says.

Thomson Reuters Starmine rates Cornes as the joint best analyst on the stock, along with Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Blair Stewart.

Standard Life shares have risen nearly 23 percent over the last month, since touching a 52-week low of 170 pence in early July.

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07:33GMT 11Aug2010-UK small caps fall 0.2 pct early


The FTSE Small Cap index falls 0.2 percent in early trade, outperforming both the blue chips and the midcaps, off 1.3 percent and 1 percent respectively.

Rok slides almost 39 percent after the property repair firm says full-year profits will be significantly behind the market view as it suspends its chief financial officer amid financial mismanagement in its plumbing unit.

Capital & Regional puts on more than 4 percent after the property fund manager swings to a first-half pretax profit, helped by higher property values and disposal of assets.

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