Today's market overview
Equities are tracking upwards once more, following the lead from yesterday’s bounce back. The Trader Dominic Picarda believes that the strong lead being shown by Wall Street could bring further gains here before a pull back is due.
IC TIP UPDATES:
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has responded to media reports about fines relating to Libor manipulation it is likely to have to pay to authorities in the US and UK by confirming that an agreement is close. The fine, rumoured to be around £300m, will be paid for from reductions in bonuses after the intervention of the UK government. Our sell recommendation on RBS is under review.
Engineering consultant WS Atkins (ATK) says it is trading resiliently in tough markets with the UK and Asia Pacific proving to be stronger than the US and Gulf region at the moment. Full year results should be in line. Buy.
African budget airline FastJet (FJET) has gone public to refute press reports of claims from the chief executive of Fly540 Kenya, its Kenyan subsidiary, for further unpaid consideration for the purchase of Fly540. We maintain our speculative buy recommendation on FastJet.
Virgin Media (VMED) has confirmed the approach from Liberty Global for a combination of the two businesses, which would form a global broadband operation with 25m customers in 14 countries. Liberty is offering $23.3bn in cash and shares.
Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) has announced the sale of a portion of its wind farm interests to a new fund, Greencoat UK Wind, which has today announced it intention to float on Aim before the end of March. The fund is paying £140m for the assets and SSE will also invest £43m in Greencoat’s planned £205m fundraising.
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) is benefiting from the recovery in equity market confidence and the increase trend towards self-directed investment. It posted record revenues of £140.3m, up 24 per cent, for the six months to December and profits grew 30 per cent to £93.7m. Total assets under management stand at £30.4bn.
FlyBe (FLYB) has put more meat on the bones of its agreement with Ryanair (RYA) to take on a portion of the business of Aer Lingus should the bid for the Irish carrier be successful. For a consideration of €1m, FlyBe would take on 43 routes, 9 aircraft, crew, engineers and a €100m cash injection.
Troubled healthcare staffing business Healthcare Locums (HLO) has received an approach from shareholders led by Toscafund with a view to taking the company private at a price of at least 0.54p a share.
OTHER COMPANY NEWS:
Lamprell (LAM) has announced a second contract award for a jack-up rig with Jindal Group of Singapore.
Shares in Cameroonian gas play Victoria Oil & Gas (VOG) have sold off on news that the company has completed a rapid £23m placing to fund the further development of its Logbaba gas field.