Oil prices keep falling – to $47 a barrel

Aer Lingus share price falls in Dublin after airline rejects takeover offer

Aer Lingus’s shares closed at €2.42, a fall of 3.2 per cent, which put it among the largest losers on the day. Photograph: Alan Betson

Aer Lingus’s shares closed at €2.42, a fall of 3.2 per cent, which put it among the largest losers on the day. Photograph: Alan Betson

British AirwaysIAGAer Lingus,

The falling price of oil continued to drag down the price of some market heavyweights while, in Europe, hopes of quantitative easing from the European Central Bank helped shift share prices in the other direction. DUBLIN Bloomberg reported that people “familiar with the matter” were saying that IAG was considering increasing its offer to as much as €2.50 a share as early as this week, though no final decision had been made. On January 9th London-based IAG said Aer Lingus had rejected an offer worth €2.40 per share. Yesterday the airline’s shares closed at €2.42, a fall of 3.2 per cent. That put it amongst the largest losers on the day.

Aminex shares fell 10 per cent, to €0.02, while Dragon Oil fell 2.44 per cent to close at €6.19. Ryanair rose 1.44 per cent, to close at €9.64 , while CRH ended the day at €19.49, an increase of 0.05 per cent. The Iseq index was ended down 0.14 per cent, at 5,118.18.

LONDON Blue-chip shares weathered the storm of the latest oil price fall as the FTSE 100 Index ended the session flat.

Brent crude dipped close to $47 a barrel taking it to a new near six-year low and driving heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell to further falls, but the wider top-flight held firm, ending 0.3 points higher at 6501.4.

On the FTSE 100, the oil price fall saw BP off 2.1p at 396.6p and Royal Dutch Shell down 33.5p to 2126.5p – with both having already fallen significantly since last summer, when Brent crude stood at more than twice its current value.

Engineering firm Lamprell said it expects revenues for this year will be around 10 per cent below current expectations. Its shares dived by 15 per cent or 17.2p to 95.2p and put pressure on FTSE 100-listed oil and gas services firm Weir, which fell 44p to 1723p.

Energy companies SSE and Centrica were lower after Labour leader Ed Miliband said energy regulator Ofgem should be given powers to force firms to cut gas and electricity bills.

With sliding oil prices increasing pressure on the two companies to act on tariffs, SSE fell by 6 per cent or 92p to 1503p and Centrica dropped 3 per cent or 7.8p to 261p. EUROPE European shares ended higher in volatile trade as slumping oil prices lifted shares of companies that benefit from lower fuel prices, such as airline Lufthansa, helping to offset a fall in energy companies‘ shares.

Lufthansa rose 1.7 per cent in brisk volume after saying it expects the lower price of oil to cut its fuel bill for 2015 by 13 per cent after the cost of hedging, setting it on course for a rise in profit this year.

Continental rose 2.8 per cent after saying it expects sales growth to quicken to around 5 per cent this year as global passenger car production rises moderately.

Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40 were both up by more than 1 per cent. Greek shares rose 3.8 per cent after a 6.8 per cent fall last week.

NEW YORK US stocks fell, with energy producers leading declines, as crude extended losses after Goldman Sachs cut its price forecasts. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 0.9 per cent at 1:31 p.m. in New York, following two weeks of declines.

Exxon Mobil and Chevron plunged at least 1.9 per cent to lead declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. All but one of the 43 members of the S&P 500 Energy Index fell.

NPS Pharmaceuticals jumped 8.3 per cent on news that Ireland’s Shire will pay $46 a share in cash for the business. Bristol-Myers Squibb climbed 45 per cent. The drugmaker said its Opdivo treatment showed better overall survival rates compared with docetaxel, a form of chemotherapy, in a study of patients with a type of lung cancer.

– (Additional reporting Reuters/Bloomberg)