LONDON -- The FTSE 100
In fact, the energy business was big in the news in general today, with a number of companies in the sector featuring among the movers of the various FTSE indexes.
Falklands Oil and Gas rose 3.4% in early trading to 71.85 pence after announcing it has taken over the use of the Leiv Eiriksson drilling rig from Borders & Southern, a fellow explorer in the Falklands area that has completed its 2012 drilling program.
Now under contract to Falklands Oil and Gas and its partner Edison International Spa, the Leiv Eiriksson rig will be moved to the Loligo well area, where it will be used for two exploratory wells. The firm could do with a drilling success, as its shares have traced a volatile route to nowhere over the past 12 months, booming and busting their way to an overall gain of just a few percent.
Power station operator Drax Group enjoyed a smaller gain of 12% to 476 pence despite announcing a 17% fall in first-half profits and slashing its interim dividend by 10% to 16 pence per share as it moves away from some of Europe's most polluting coal as a source of energy.
But that bad news was already known, and the shares have already slid from a July peak of 573 pence. Today's boost came from the confirmation that the firm is on track to convert to the use of biomass as the U.K. government offers subsidies for renewable energy. Three of the company's six plants are now expected to be converted to biomass within five years.
Interim results from Elementis gave the shares a 4.7% boost this morning to 208 pence as the speciality chemicals producer reported a 12% increase in pretax profit to $79 million and turned a previous net debt position into net cash of $29.9 million. The interim dividend has been lifted by 5% to $0.0245 per share, which is well-covered by earnings.
This adds to an already impressive recovery for Elementis, whose shares have piled up from a June 2009 low of just 24 pence. In fact, in 2012 alone they've risen from 137 pence for a gain of more than 50%.
But energy is big business, and the clear leader is still the oil and gas industry. If you want to gain some insight, the latest Motley Fool report, "How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares," might prove valuable. Click here for your personal copy while it's free.
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