Royal Dutch Shell Group .com U.K. Stocks Mixed; Cadbury Schweppes Rises as Shell Shares Fall


March 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. stocks were mixed. Shares of Cadbury Schweppes Plc rose after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the company, while Shell Transport & Trading Co. declined as the stock traded without the right to its most recent dividend.


The FTSE 100 Index shed 1.6 to 4411.20 as of 9:22 a.m. in London. The benchmark is heading for its first quarter of declines in a year and the second monthly slide of 2004. The FTSE All-Share Index lost 0.48 to 2207.45.


Cadbury Schweppes, the world's No. 3 maker of soft drinks, climbed 8 pence, or 1.9 percent, to 431.25 after Cedric Boehm, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, raised his recommendation on the stock to ``overweight/in-line,'' from ``equal-weight/in-line,'' on rising sales of Dr Pepper and Trident sugarless gum. Boehm also raised his share-price forecast by 18 percent to 500 pence.


Shell, which has a 40 percent stake in Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Europe's second-largest oil company, shed 8 pence, or 2.2 percent, to 359.25 as shareholders were no longer eligible for the second-half payout of 9.65 pence.


Legal & General Group Plc, Britain's No. 4 insurer, was also among stocks that fell as they traded without the right to dividends. The insurer dropped 2.75 pence, or 2.8 percent, to 95.75 after the shares changed hands without the right to the second-half payout of 3.33 pence.


Amersham Plc, Amvescap Plc, British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, Exel Plc, Kingfisher Plc, Scottish & Newcastle Plc and Wolseley Plc also traded without the right to dividends. Stocks changing hands without the right to payouts accounted for about 7 percent of the FTSE 100 Index.


The following stocks are making gains or losses today. Stock symbols are in parentheses after the company names.


BP Plc (BP/ LN), Europe's biggest oil company, rose 6 pence, or 1.3 percent, to 463 as U.S. gasoline prices soared to an 18- year high. The company said a unit at its refinery and chemical plant in Texas City was on fire following an explosion, raising concern about fuel shortages before the third quarter when demand peaks. Brent crude for May delivery gained 32 cents, or 1 percent, to $32.77 a barrel in London.

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