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October 18, 2006    

UK energy sector mixed

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by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets saw gains on Wednesday, with the FTSE 100 adding 0.7 percent to 6,150.4 and the FTSE 250 gaining 1.2 percent on the session to close at 10,342.

The media sector saw gains after upgrades for the sector. BSkyB was 0.9 percent higher to 552½p after JP Morgan said that it could top its target for subscribers for 2010. Elsewhere in the sector, Johnston Press added 2.3 percent to 428¾p, while Trinity Mirror gained 3 percent to 502½p and Daily Mail & General Trust was up 3.1 percent to 657p.

Steelmaker Corus added 1.7 percent to 487p on rumors that CSN, the Brazilian steelmaker was ready to top Tata Steel’s bid, worth 455p per share. The bid rumors were denied after the close of the session.

In the energy sector, British Energy was up 5.2 percent to 474p on rumors that a European utility could bid for the UK government’s 65 percent of the company. On the other hand, National Grid dropped 1.6 percent to 674½p.

The retail sector was also mixed, with Tesco up 1.5 percent to 390p, a record high share price, on speculation that it will raise its earnings forecast. However, clothing retailer Next dropped 1 percent to £18.51 on rumors that it is preparing to issue a profits warning.

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