Drinks group shares cheers FTSE spirits

Drinks firms helped lift spirits on the London market today as investors warmed to the prospect of a possible bidding war for Allied Domecq.

Drinks firms helped lift spirits on the London market today as investors warmed to the prospect of a possible bidding war for Allied Domecq.

The FTSE 100 Index lifted 15.6 points to 4864.9 by the close of trading.

News that US giant Constellation Brands may gatecrash Pernod’s takeover deal left both Allied and rival Diageo among the highest blue-chip climbers.

Allied lifted 8.5p to 671.5p and Diageo moved 12p higher to 782p.

Surging oil prices had earlier provided the main interest for the market after problems at refineries in the US were blamed for the latest hike in energy costs, which saw the price of crude hit almost $56 in New York.

A number of stocks were under pressure as a result, although oil giants Shell and BP bolstered the market by adding more than 1% each.

Shares in BP, which will announce first quarter figures tomorrow, rose 7p to 539p while Shell gained 6p to 478p. A clutch of other energy-related stocks were making progress with Scottish Power ahead 7.25p at 421.75p and Scottish & Southern Energy 9.5p stronger at 935.5p.

Those affected negatively by the oil price rise included gases group BOC, which eased 9p to 988p and cruise ship operator Carnival, which dipped 29p to 2760p.

The highest Footsie risers were BAT up 19p to 982.5p, International Power rising 3.5p to 189.5p, Tate & Lyle up 9p to 493p and BG adding 7.25p to 419.5p.

The heaviest fallers were ITV down 3p to 125.75p, WPP off 12.5p to 588p, Daily Mail & General Trust down 12.5p to 694.5p and Schroders NV off 11p to 656.5p.

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