- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

COLUMBUS, OHIO (AP) - Shares of Noble Corp. rose Thursday as oil prices hit a new high for 2009 even though the offshore drilling contractor is being removed from the S&P; 500.

Noble is relocating its headquarters to Switzerland, making it ineligible to be included in the index.

Shares of Noble were up $2.26, or 9 percent, to $27.37 in trading Thursday afternoon as oil prices surged above $50 a barrel. The shares have been as high as $68.99 in the past year.

The company said Tuesday that shareholders have approved switching the company’s incorporation from the Cayman Islands.

Noble will be replaced by O’Reilly Automotive Inc. after the close of trading on a date to be announced.

Many index funds track the S&P; 500, a broad market indicator, and fund managers are likely to sell company shares if it is removed from the index.

When Noble announced the move in December, it said major draws were Switzerland’s stable commercial and financial environment and its tax system. Noble’s operational headquarters will remain in Sugar Land, Texas.

Noble said its shares will continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under its current ticker symbol, “NE,” and that it would still be subject to the reporting requirements of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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