Fuel costs rise no deterrent to Arriva

At the end of a relatively calm day on the markets the FTSE 100 closed in positive territory, up 18 points at 6156.5.

At the end of a relatively calm day on the markets the FTSE 100 closed in positive territory, up 18 points at 6156.5.

Transport stocks supported this overall trend with Go-Ahead Group finishing the day up 2.9% at 2424p following a buy back of 10,000 of its ordinary shares.

Similarly, ahead of the announcement of its 2006 results, Arriva closed up 1.8% at 730p. Like many of its sector peers, the bus and rail operator has suffered from increasing fuel costs in the last year.

Despite this, forecasts indicate that underlying pre-tax profits will be up 8.6% at £112m versus £103m a year earlier.

Arriva has continued to grow its bus business in the UK and overseas with recent acquisitions in Spain and the Czech Republic.

The company was also short listed for the lucrative East Coast Main Line franchise last month. In the industrial transportation sector, Northgate also closed up 3.25% at 1080p.

Angel Biotechnology announced a second GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) deal with a US based company.

Angel is a bio-manufacturing company with operations based in Cramlington. Angel will manufacture and supply GMP materials for use in a specific type of cell therapy for a further clinical trial due to commence in 2008.

The Office of Fair Trading is considering whether the anticipated takeover of Wilson Bowden by Barratt Developments will create a merger situation which is likely to result in the substantial lessening of competition within the UK; if this is the case it could warrant further investigation by the Competition Commission.

Elsewhere in the Regional Portfolio, Romag Holdings, a specialist manufacturer of glass, powered ahead with its shares closing up 7.1% at 203.5p.

Fiona Erdozain is an investment adviser at stockbroker Wise Speke in Newcastle.

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