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TMCNet:  London Evening Standard, market report column

[January 17, 2013]

London Evening Standard, market report column

Jan 14, 2013 (London Evening Standard - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- From Malaysia to west Africa, serial entrepreneur and resources specialist Algy Cluff has certainly been around the world in his time. But today it is Merseyside and northern Wales which have got his investors excited.



Cluff's fifth company, Cluff Natural Resources, soared 0.75p to 4.38p on AIM after winning two licences for Underground Coal Gasification in Loughor Estuary in Wales, and the Dee Estuary in Merseyside. He thinks the UK could avoid the controversial use of fracking -- hydraulic fracturing to produce energy for the UK.

The licences have been awarded by the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change and Cluff will now apply to develop the sites which he says have the "potential to do much to address the UK's future energy needs".

Cluff Natural Resources listed on AIM last year and these projects take Cluff near his beloved North Sea -- the home of his first company Cluff Oil that he created in the Seventies. His Cluff Oil discovered the lucrative Buchan field in the North Sea and he later sold his business to BP. The septuagenarian has had an eventful career -- he was an officer in the Grenadier Guards and in the Eighties owned The Spectator magazine. But it is his success in natural resources that investors love and when Cluff Natural Resources floated, the placing was oversubscribed.

Banks were still in favour with investors, even after last week's steady gains prompted by the relaxation of the Basel III liquidity rules. Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays both jumped more than 8 percent last week. Lloyds added another 1.51p to 55.55p and Barclays ticked up 0.6p to 300.25p today. Royal Bank of Scotland rose 8.4p to 368.85p. Miners were also in favour and the top-flight index continued last week's rise and gained 6.91 points to 6128.49.

Software group Sage took up a position near the bottom of the index after Barclays cut its rating to Sell, from Hold. Shares lost 3.9p to 309.7p.

Telecom group Cable & Wireless edged down 0.32p to 39.08p after it confirmed it had sold 51 percent of its Macau operation to Chinese state-owned Citic Telecom. Back on Aim, new boy Northcote Energy -- an onshore US-focused oil and gas explorer -- raised pounds sterling 1 million via its placing at 1p a share. The shares traded at 1.3p today.

All is not well at Exillon Energy. Swiss shareholder Worldview Capital Management has called for a board reshuffle as it is unhappy with the Russian oil producer's performance. Shares fell 4.5p to 141.5p.

North Sea-focused Lochard Energy is to de-list from the Australian Stock Exchange and said its licence for the Thunderball project will lapse. Shares dipped 1.12p to 4.88p.

___ (c)2013 London Evening Standard Visit the London Evening Standard at www.standard.co.uk Distributed by MCT Information Services

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