Daily Mail (UK): Shell clams up over $9bn bid rumours: “Shell was engulfed in speculation that it plans to bid for $9bn rival Williams. With gallons of cash in its tanks - and with a need to generate some momentum after a miserable year - analysts think this could be a likely buy for the beleaguered beast.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 30 Jan 04
(EXTRACT FROM ARTICLE)
IT WAS up to the oil stocks to provide a few sparks yesterday, with the markets looking less than slick.
Shell was engulfed in speculation that it plans to bid for $9bn rival Williams. With gallons of cash in its tanks - and with a need to generate some momentum after a miserable year - analysts think this could be a likely buy for the beleaguered beast.
There is also a grudge match brewing. Williams, one of America's largest gas firms, outbid Shell to acquire Barrett Resources and Shell could now do with more natural gas in its portfolio. The Anglo-Dutch company nevertheless refused to comment on the speculation and its price slipped 2i4p to 461'/4p.
Other oil producers were hit by fears that Iraqi pipelines will be struck by terrorists at this weekend's elections.
BP dropped 8p to 525p, while BHP Billiton, the diversified miner with oil interests, fell lOp to 645p. Gas major BG Group Was 5lAp lower at 364p and Tullow Oil dropped 3p to 158p.
The stocks were not helped by further falls in crude prices. Traders suspect that oil cartel Opec will leave its production targets unchanged at its meeting this weekend.
Analysts fear an imminent attack on Iran. Mark Cliffe of ING Financial Markets said conflict with Iran would have even bigger financial consequences than the war in Iraq. The combination of disrupted oil supplies and a general flight from risk assets would lead to surging oil prices, another drop in the dollar and sharp falls in share prices, bond yields and interest rate expectations.