Tips from the press
The cupboard was very bare this morning for share tips, only the Telegraph had a stock tip:
's somewhat disappointing quarterly results yesterday. The column makes the point that on a like-for-like basis BP's production actually rose, although asset sales have reduced capacity.
There is also some pride at stake, Questor told everyone to buy BP in October, since then the stock has dropped 4 per cent. Nevertheless, Questor continues with the buy rating not least because of the prospective yield of 4.7 per cent (Last IC rating: Buy, 8 Feb).
Business press headlines:
Shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and
rose on Tuesday as experts warned he may have to sever all ties with the satellite broadcasting business he founded. News Corp could be forced to sell off its entire 39pc stake in BSkyB, or watch the £12bn pay-to-view company lose its valuable licence to air television. In London, BSkyB shares rose 13 to close at 691p, buoyed by expectations of a sale and ahead of its third-quarter results on Wednesday. In New York, News Corp shares went up 32 to $19.93 in morning trading. The share price increases came as Ofcom, the UK media regulator that has the power to revoke BSkyB's broadcasting licence if it decides that any director or controlling shareholder is not "fit and proper", signalled it would take into account a damning report by MPs, The Telegraph writes.
Almost a fifth of
's shareholders have failed to support the re-election of
chief executive Ivan Glasenberg to the board, dealing a blow to the mining groups' planned £50bn mega-merger. Some 13 per cent voted against keeping Mr Glasenberg, while a further 2.8 per cent abstained from the vote at Xstrata's annual shareholder meeting. Commodity giant Glencore, which owns 34 per cent of Xstrata, has agreed to pay 2.8 new Glencore shares for every Xstrata share. The offer values the miner at about £37bn, effectively constituting a £24bn offer for the block of the company Glencore does not already own. Xstrata chairman Sir John Bond on Tuesday described the deal as "fair and reasonable", in the wake of a slew of comments from his shareholders arguing that it undervalues the miner, according to The Telegraph.
Bolivian President Evo Morales ordered his military to seize the local assets of Spanish energy company Red Electrica, in the latest example of muscle-flexing by a South American leader. Mr Morales said the expropriation of Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE), which runs most of Bolivia's power grid, was "in honour of all Bolivian people who have struggled to recuperate our natural resources and basic services". He timed the seizure for May Day. TDE is 99.94 per cent owned by Spain's Red Electrica and, according to El Pais, accounts for about 1.5 per cent of the company's business. Accusing Red Electrica of underinvestment in TDE, Mr Morales said: "We do this... for the benefit of the Bolivian people," The Telegraph says.
Quarries and cement plants across Britain are up for sale, after the competition watchdog told their owners they must "pave the way" for a new competitor to enter the UK cement market if they want to get the go-ahead for a joint venture.
, the FTSE 100 miner which owns Tarmac, and French construction giant Lafarge must sell "a significant portfolio" in order to merge Tarmac with Lafarge's UK operations, the Competition Commission announced. The assets to be sold off include Lafarge's cement plant in Hope, Derbyshire, one of the largest in the country, as well as the nearby Dowlow quarry and three linked rail depots. The two firms must also sell more than half their ready-mix concrete capacity in the UK, The Telegraph says.
Michael O'Leary's all-conquering Ryanair is at the centre of pincer movement after Etihad Airways snatched a strategic stake in the rival Aer Lingus, only months after the Abu Dhabi airline had swooped on another Ryanair competitor, Air Berlin. Etihad has taken a near-3 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, the part-privatised Irish flag-carrier, in a move seen as a sign of the Middle Eastern airline's desire to buy the Irish Government's 25 per cent stake as and when it comes up for sale. The acquisition of the stake by Etihad is provocative. Ryanair has built up a near-29 per cent stake in Aer Lingus but has lost a small fortune on the shareholding because of the collapse in the share price. Mr O'Leary has been thwarted in his attempts to take control of Aer Lingus. Dublin has refused to sell him its stake and European competition authorities have ruled his attempts offside, The Times reports.
The temperature was turned up at
as shares of the UK's largest power station sparked 8.5p higher to 551.5p. Punters switched on to revived talk of a possible bid north of £7 a share. German utility giant RWE and British Gas owner Centrica (5.4p better at 312.3p) were mentioned as possible predators. Drax has been touted as a potential take-over target following its programme to convert production from coal to biomass. Analysts agree that it would make the company a strategically desirable asset. Broker BarCap describes Drax as one of the most compelling transformation stories in the European utilities sector. It is one of the most strategically valuable assets in the UK power market, given its competitiveness and the dynamics among other power generators. Its price target is 695p, writes The Daily Mail.
The chief executive of
Lloyds Banking Group
hit out at fraudulent claims for payment protection insurance compensation on Tuesday as the bailed out bank increased its provision for mis-selling the controversial product by 12 per cent to £3.6bn. António Horta-Osório said the £375m additional provision was a "minor adjustment" when asked if it would require the bank to pursue any additional clawback of bonuses from former and current directors. Some £1.5m was clawed back following the £3.2bn provision taken last year. But he criticised the claims management companies that submitted 45 per cent of the claims the bank received in February and March, from customers who typically bought the insurance when taking out a loan, to cover themselves for illness or other hindrances to paying it back. Of the claims submitted by these firms, 25 per cent were from people without Lloyds products. "We have to stop this, it's fraud," Horta-Osório said, The Guardian reports.
Read today's Market Overview - a round-up of today's company announcements.
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