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MARKET REPORT: Booming energy prices lift shares in Serica Energy

Serica Energy recorded a profit of £194m for the first six months of the year, compared to £2.2m for the same period in 2021

Serica Energy has become the latest North Sea stock to benefit from soaring natural gas prices after posting a surge in profits.

The AIM-listed company reported a profit of £194m for the first six months of the year, compared to £2.2m for the same period in 2021, as its production averaged 26 600 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day. compared to 18,855 last year.

The figure represented 5% of all gas produced in the UK during the period. As natural gas prices were “very volatile”, Serica pointed out that the average price per therm jumped to 175p, more than three times the 50p average a year ago, fueling a surge in profits.

Serica Energy recorded a profit of £194m for the first six months of the year, compared to £2.2m for the same period in 2021

Serica Energy recorded a profit of £194m for the first six months of the year, compared to £2.2m for the same period in 2021

But the company has taken a more optimistic note in its outlook, cutting its production forecast for 2022 to 26,000-28,000 boe per day from 26,000-30,000 previously.

He also predicted that the windfall tax on energy companies, introduced earlier this year by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, could have a “significant impact” on performance.

Serica shares rose 3.8%, or 13p, to 355p after the results. Oil and gas companies saw their profits soar after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted energy supplies.

But the sums have sparked outrage from politicians, who have accused the sector of profiting as households grapple with rising bills.

Gas prices showed no sign of easing amid reports of leaks in Russia’s Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines, which Danish and German officials suspected were the result of sabotage.

Natural gas prices jumped more than 10% after the news.

However, SSE fell 7.3%, or 122p, to 1,549p after warning that its renewable energy output fell 13% below expectations in the year to September 22.

The company blamed adverse weather conditions, but added that its gas storage sites and thermal power plants performed well.

Stock Watch – TinyBuild

Computer game maker TinyBuild surged after reporting better-than-expected half-year results.

The company recorded a profit of £6.3m for the first six months of 2022, up from £633,723 a year ago, while revenue fell from £17.3m to 26, £6 million.

Boss Alex Nichiporchik said it happened despite “unprecedented challenges” such as the extraction of personnel from Russia and Ukraine during the war. He was on track for future results in line with forecasts.

The shares rose 5.4%, or 5.75p, to 112p.

The FTSE 100 fell 0.52%, or 36.36 points, to 6984.59 while the FTSE 250 fell 2.36%, or 418.72 points, to 17,304.11.

Markets calmed down slightly after feverish trading following the Kwasi Kwarteng mini budget last week.

But as the pound stabilized somewhat, concerns over the health of the UK economy continued to weigh on sentiment.

Property companies were again on the back foot, fearing that rising interest rates would translate into more expensive mortgages, dampening housing demand.

Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey fell 7.2%, or 6.92p, to 88.92p while rival Barratt fell 6.5%, or 24.9p, to 360.3p. Property listing sites also fell, with Rightmove slipping 8.9%, or 48.6p, to 500.6p.

But one firm bull was lender Virgin Money, which gained 0.3%, or 0.35p, to 132.65p after suspending some mortgage transactions.

Miners supported the FTSE 100 amid higher metal prices. Rio Tinto rose 1.8%, or 83.5p, to 4,781.5p while Antofagasta gained 2.3%, or 24p, to 1,074p. Glencore rose 3.3%, or 14.95p, to 471.4p and Anglo American rose 1.6%, or 41.5p, to 2642.5p.

Water supplier United Utilities fell 5.7%, or 53.4p, to 888.8p after slashing its forecast amid rising costs.

The FTSE 100 group forecast income for the six months to the end of March next year to be 1% lower year-on-year due to “moderately lower than expected” consumption levels.

National Grid shares fell 4%, or 40p, to 948.2p after regulators opened an investigation into the group’s planned sale of 60% of its gas transmission and metering operations to the bank of Australian investment Macquarie.

The Competition and Markets Authority will investigate whether the deal will lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ in the UK and has until November 22 to make a decision.

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