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BP Hits Six-Month High As Spill Claims Seen Lower

Wall Street Journal - Jan 4, 2011

Shares in U.K.-listed oil giant BP PLC (BP) rose to a six-month high Tuesday following reports that compensation payouts for the Gulf oil spill may be much lower than expected and lingering rumors that the company is a takeover target.

After having one of the worst years in its history in 2010 because of the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP shares soared on the first trading day of 2011, adding as much as GBP5.1 billion ($7.9 billion) to the company's market value. At 1301 GMT, the company's shares were up 5.6%, or 26 pence, at 491 pence.

The oil sector in general had a good start to the year thanks to strong oil prices, with most of BP's European peers seeing share price increases of between 1% and 3%. Larger movers Tuesday included Tullow Oil PLC (TLW.LN), which was up 4%, and BG Group (BG.LN), which jumped 3.2%.

While takeover rumors about BP are generally "spurious," good news about the size of the compensation bill for the spill will encourage investors who were already taking a more optimistic view of the size of BP's ultimate liability for the disaster, said Panmure Gordon analyst Peter Hitchens.

Read Full Article from Wall Street Journal

- Posted: 2011-01-04 10:22:33

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