European Indexes Advance

Oil issues gained Wednesday as crude prices reached record territory

London

The FTSE 100 ended higher on Wednesday with key oil shares BP (+0.71%) and ROYAL DUTCH SHELL (+1.05%) adding support as WTI traded around US$79/bbl. EIA inventories revealed a sharper-than-expected draw in crude stocks. Wall Street was trading higher, boosted by oil firms and comments from Treasury Secretary Paulson. Elsewhere, ITV (-1.51%) said third quarter advertising revenues continue to improve. The company unveiled its new growth plan, targeting 3-5% CAGR top-line growth over the next three years and doubling ITV's content revenues by 2012 to £1.2 billion. HOME RETAIL (+2.5%) said Argos like-for-like in second quarter rose 1.8%, in line with forecasts but Homebase like-for-like fell a much worse than expected 8% and the group is cautious on fiscal due to the uncertain consumer outlook. BARCLAYS (+0.08%) has injected US$1.50 billion to its Golden Key fund, The Times reports. BAE SYSTEMS (+3.18%) gained on news Armor Holdings has won an order to build 10,000 lorries for the US army. RIO TINTO (-0.49%) will provide a US$350 million loan facility to Ivanhoe Mines. COSTAIN (+0.66%) confirmed it is preparing a £60 million equity issue. UNIQ (-5.91%) plunged after reporting first half. Trading ex-dividend today: BHP BILLITON (-1.02%); KAZAKHMYS (+0.08%), RENTOKIL (-1.29%) and SCOTTISH & NEWCASTLE (-1.13%).

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