After slumping yet again at the tail end of last week, to record its fourth week of losses in a row, the FTSE 100 (FTSEINDICES: ^FTSE) has popped up above the 6,500 level again by gaining 22 points to 6,505 by mid-morning. Vodafone’s further rise today has helped, and the yo-yos that are the UK’s big mining companies are once again in fickle favour as domestic demand has helped boost Chinese factory output.
After revealing last week that it is in talks with Verizon Communications with a view to selling its stake in Verizon Wireless, Vodafone Group confirmed further press speculation this morning and saw its share price respond with an additional 7.9p (3.8%) rise to 214p. That takes it to the highest it has been since the dot com boom.
Vodafone told us that the discussions are at an advanced stage, and that the sum under consideration is one of $130bn which would consist mainly of a mix of Verizon shares and cash. The firm did say “There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached”, but some in the press are predicting a further announcement by as soon as this evening.
Shares in Rolls-Royce Holdings (LSE: RR) (NASDAQOTH: RYCEY) got a 16p (1.4%) boost to 1,128p in morning trading, after the aero engine maker announced the completion of the sale of its 50% stake in the RTM322 helicopter engine programme to Turbomeca, a subsidiary of French aerospace engineer Safran.
The deal, which has netted a cash sum of €293m, will see Rolls-Royce progressively handing over operational responsibilities for the engine, which powers Apache and Merlin helicopters, over the course of the next few years. Design and production responsibilities have already been transferred.
Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) shareholders saw their shares gain 20p (2%) to 1,028p this morning, despite news that a dry well in Mozambique is to be plugged and abandoned — the Buzio-1 exploration well in offshore Area 2 has not encountered any hydrocarbons. The company, however, has previously encountered hydrocarbons at its Cachalote-1 well, also offshore Mozambique, and according to exploration director Angus McCoss, the data from both will be combined to determine the next move.
Tullow oil shares are down more than 25% over the past 12 months, even with today’s small gain, and down 30% since an Octover 2012 peak of 1,485p.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Vodafone.