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BLOOMBERG: Amec, Brit Insurance, Shell, Smiths: U.K., Irish Equity Preview

March 15 (Bloomberg) — The following stocks may rise or fall in U.K. and Irish markets today. Stock symbols are in parentheses and prices are from yesterday's close.
The benchmark FTSE 100 Index slipped 2.2, or less than 0.1 percent, to 5950.6 in London, even as more stocks rose than fell. The FTSE All-Share Index added 0.1 percent to 3032.12. Ireland's ISEQ Overall Index lost 0.6 percent to 7899.81.
U.K. Companies:
Amec Plc (AMEC LN): The world's third-largest engineering- services provider will report preliminary full-year 2005 earnings figures, according to the company's Web site. The stock dropped 5.75 pence, or 1.4 percent, to 400.5 pence.
BP Plc (BP/ LN): The world's second-largest oil company said its 2005 profit from trading oil and natural gas rose 56 percent to $2.9 billion as energy prices soared.
The net gain included $1.55 billion for oil trading and $1.31 billion for natural gas, the London-based company said in its 2005 annual report. The company reported a loss of $64 million from power trading. The profit from oil and gas trading in 2004 was $1.83 billion. The shares added 1.5 pence, or 0.2 percent, to 651.
Brit Insurance Holdings Plc (BRE LN): The Lloyd's of London insurer is due to report 2005 results. The company will report a 2005 pretax profit of about 60 million pounds ($107 million), beating analysts' estimates, the company said in a Feb. 1 statement. The insurer's earnings are “significantly ahead of market consensus,'' the company said in the statement. Shares of the London-based company slid 1 pence, or 1 percent, to 102.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK LN): Two blood-thinning drugs, GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Arixtra and Sanofi-Aventis SA's Lovenox, help people survive heart attacks better than current therapies, studies show. Arixtra, now used to prevent blood clots in people undergoing major surgery, reduced deaths and additional heart attacks by 14 percent after 30 days when given in hospitals to heart attack patients. The shares added 4 pence, or 0.3 percent, to 1,574.
London Stock Exchange Plc (LSE LN): Nasdaq Stock Market Inc.'s 2.4 billion-pound hostile offer for LSE is too low, according to Martin Currie Investment Management Ltd., which owns 1 million shares in the U.K. market.
The offer of 950 pence a share isn't acceptable with the current stock price at 1,190 pence, said Eric Woehrling, who helps oversee 8.7 billion pounds at the Edinburgh-based firm. LSE's biggest shareholders, Threadneedle Investments and Scottish Widows, have said they're willing to discuss the bid. The shares added 41 pence, or 3.6 percent, to 1,190.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA LN): Europe's second-largest oil company and its partners building a $20 billion natural-gas venture in Russia's far east should be denied funding by Eastern Europe's biggest lender because it's causing ecological damage, activists said.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development shouldn't give loans as the Sakhalin-2 liquefied natural gas project endangers the island's wildlife, waterways and inhabitants, ecologists including Igor Chestin, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund, said in Moscow. The shares slid 10 pence, or 0.6 percent, to 1,774.

Smiths Group Plc (SMIN LN): The maker of components for Boeing Co. (BA US) planes and supplier of anthrax-detection systems to the U.S. Postal Service will probably say its fiscal first-half net income rose to 135 million pounds ($235.8 million) from 119.6 million pounds a year earlier, according to the median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The stock gained 3.5 pence, or 0.4 percent, to 986.5 pence.
Wolseley Plc (WOS LN): The world's biggest distributor of plumbing and heating equipment was downgraded to “underperform/neutral'' from “in-line/neutral'' by Tim Cahill, an analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co. The shares gained 15 pence, or 1.1 percent, to 1,442.
Irish Companies:
Grafton Group Plc (GN5 ID): Ireland's biggest builders' merchant may report a 31 percent increase in second-half profit from a year earlier to 87.4 million euros, as acquisitions and demand in Ireland boost sales, according to the median estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The shares rose 5 cents, or 0.5 percent, to 10.57 euros.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Aisha Phoenix in London at [email protected].

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