Stocks start the week in a positive mood with the FTSE 100 index up 0.2% to a new six month high of 7,473 led by energy stocks.

Oil prices have hit a new high for the year as the US tightens sanctions on Iran by withdrawing waivers on its exports to countries such as China and Turkey.

Brent crude is trading at $74.50 per barrel on Tuesday compared with less than $55 per barrel at the start of the year.

Shares in oil majors BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) add 1.5% and 1.9% respectively while smaller producer Tullow (TLW) adds 4% to 252p.

The big losers are airlines as higher oil prices mean higher fuel costs. Shares in Easyjet (EZJ) give up 3% to £11.85 while IAG (IAG) gives up 2% to 547p.

However shares in tour operator Thomas Cook (TCG) jump 18% to 29p on an unconfirmed report that private equity firms are interested in bidding for some or all of the company's assets.

Elsewhere in company news, Ukraine-focused iron ore producer Ferrexpo (FXPO) finally reports its full year results after they were delayed twice due to a probe into charity donations.

The delays did nothing for the firm’s performance as volumes fell by 2% and profits were down 15% to $335m, leaving the shares flat at 286p.

Meanwhile the investigation into Blooming Land, a charity supported by Ferrexpo, seems to suggest that it might have ‘misappropriated’ company funds.

On a more mundane note, commercial property owner British Land (BLND) announces it has sold its interest in 12 Sainsburys (SBRY) superstores to Realty Income Corp.

The sale price is £429m while British land will trouser £193.5m which represents a small premium to the properties’ book value last September. Shares soften 0.6% to 592p.

Intellectual property rights investor Hignosis Songs (SONG) announces it has acquired a music catalogue from US songwriter Brittany Hazzard, aka Starrah.

Starrah’s songs have achieved 94 Number 1 positions and include the most-streamed song by a female artist on Spotify, Camelia Cabello’s ‘Havana’. Shares in Hipgnosis mark time at 104p.

Video games service provider Keywords Studios (KWS) announces the acquisition of Japan’s Wizcorp for Yen 120m (£0.8m).

Wizcorp develops games for mobile users and has an annual turnover of Yen 310m (£2.1m). Keywords shares add 0.6% to £14.80.

Further down the market, minnow Angling Direct (ANG:AIM) reports a record start to the year with like-for-like shop sales up almost 30% during February and March.

At the same time online sales in France, Germany and the Netherlands helped lift European sales by 66%. Shares leap 10% to 74p.



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Issue Date: 23 Apr 2019