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Tuesday 07th of October 2008
October 31, 2006

UK tobacco sector in gains


by Elaine Frei

The London equities markets were higher on Tuesday, but barely so, with the FTSE 100 adding a bare 0.04 percent to 6,129.2 and the FTSE 250 ending the session 0.6 percent higher to 10,372.2.

Friends Provident helped the 100 with its 6.7 percent gain to 207p after its third quarter report did better than had been anticipated. The life assurer also revealed plans to increase it’s market share.

BSkyB was also higher, adding 1.1 percent to 543½p on positive comments from Cazenove.

In the pharmaceuticals sector, Shire was 1.7 percent higher to 956½p on the possibility that it could renegotiate a profit-sharing agreement on a new attention deficit hyperactivity disorder treatment, NRP 104. The current agreement, with US company New River Pharmaceuticals, could give as much as 67 percent of the profits to the US firm. Credit Suisse, however, thinks that they agreement will change before the new drug goes on sale in the US early next year.

In the tobacco sector Imperial Tobacco, which said it is still looking for acquisitions, was 1 percent higher to £18.57. Gallaher, the maker of Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut cigarettes, added 1.5 percent to 890p on the hope that Imperial might bid, although most analysts see an offer for Altadis of Spain as more likely.

Shares in water companies were lower on the sessioni. Kelda Group was 1 percent lower to 866p, while Severn Trent dropped 1.6 percent to £13.96.

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