Tips & Ideas 

Press headlines and tips: Marks & Spencer, Healthcare Locums, SuperGroup

Press headlines and tips: Marks & Spencer, Healthcare Locums, SuperGroup

Welcome to our summary of the weekend's quality press tips, provided on Mondays by Weekend City Press Review.


The Times

Tempus: Marcus Leroux says investors in the retail sector could be forgiven for being confused over the contradictory performances from stores such as John Lewis (good) and Marks and Spencer (bad) (Last IC rating: Buy, 17 Apr). But analysts at Espirito Santo argue that, according to its own research, consumers are becoming more confident as a result of lower inflation and no material changes to the unemployment picture.

The Independent

No Pain, No Gain: Derek Pain admits to sometimes being too cautious when deciding to buy new stocks for his portfolio, but he thanks his 'lucky stars' that he avoided Healthcare Locums (Last IC rating: Sell, 4 Apr), the medical recruiter that is currently in the 'critical care ward'.

The Daily Mail

Investment Extra: Ruth Lythe says some 'experts' are sending a warning to investors who believe that gold and oil will remain 'safe havens' for their funds, since the pressure could soon flip to the downside.

The Sunday Times

Inside the City: Danny Fortson says upbeat interims from Associated British Foods (Last IC rating: Fairly priced, 8 Nov) on Tuesday should keep the shares, £12.26, on the boil.

■ The key question over Russian oil company Ruspetro (No IC rating), run by veteran oilman Don Wolcott from Wyoming, is whether the Kremlin will let foreign investors reap the undoubted rewards the company offers.

The Sunday Telegraph

Questor: Garry White says avoid SuperGroup (Last IC rating: Sell, 20 Apr), 352p, as the market does not take mistakes such as 'accounting errors' very lightly. Buy Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (Last IC rating: Buy, 3 Feb), £22.02, as recent falls in the price provide a buying opportunity.

The Mail on Sunday

Midas: Joanne Hart says buy garden supplies specialist William Sinclair (Last IC rating: Buy, 4 Jan), 189.5p, which should benefit from moves to reduce the amount of 'environmentally-unfriendly' peat used in its products.

Update: Take some profits at Berendsen (Last IC rating: Hold, 24 Feb), tipped in December 2010 at 405p and now 535p, but hold the rest for future growth.


Business press headlines courtesy of Weekend City Press Review:

Nuclear renaissance under threat

Centrica has reportedly told Whitehall officials it may pull out of involvement in the UK's new nuclear power station programme unless it receives assurances about the future price of nuclear-generated electricity. The company, which is planning to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset in a joint venture with EDF Energy, has made clear it needs clarity on price before committing to the substantial investment required. [Financial Times pp.1, 4]

Aviva to lose £1bn on exit from America

Aviva CEO Andrew Moss is expected to announce the £1bn sale of the insurer's US operations at an investor day on 24 May, about half what the company paid six years ago. The decision is part of a strategic overhaul agreed between Moss and incoming chairman John MacFarlane in an effort to revise the flagging share price, down 60 per cent since Moss was promoted from FD to CEO in 2007. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Britain will stagnate this year

The UK economy is expected to narrowly survive a double-dip recession when official first-quarter GDP figures are released this week, although growth may only come in at 0.1 per cent. But analysts are prepared for a contraction of the economy in Q1 according to the preliminary data, with the second quarter also looking vulnerable to lost output from the extra Diamond Jubilee public holiday. [Sunday Times pp.3.1, 3.5]

Barclays £100m' mis-selling hit

Barclays is expected to reveal along with its Q1 results this week a £100m provision to cover the cost of new PPI mis-selling claims in addition to the £1bn set aside last year. But the bank's profits in the first three months are still expected to come in 20 per cent ahead at about £2bn, which may defuse investor concerns at Friday's AGM over CEO Bob Diamond's bonus. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Oil boss strikes it rich

Oil services firm Acteon has been put up for sale by US private equity firm First Reserve for about £1bn, with JP Morgan hired to find a buyer. A deal would earn CEO Richard Higham some £250m from his 25 per cent stake, with senior managers also owning another 23 per cent. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Revealed: Goodwin in secret FSA pact

Former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin has secretly agreed not to work in the City in future. The deal was reached with the Financial Services Authority during its investigation of the bank's near-collapse and was agreed as part of the negotiations that saw criticisms of Goodwin's lack of banking experience taken out of the Authority's report before publication.[Sunday Times p.3.2]

City regulator fines former BoS banker

Former Bank of Scotland banker Peter Cummings has been given a 'warning notice' and undisclosed 'seven-figure fine' by the Financial Services Authority. Cummings headed the corporate division at BoS, which became part of HBOS and was eventually rescued by Lloyds Baking Group, and analysts believe his flawed lending to companies cost the bank over £20bn. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

Barclays profits to hit £2bn

Barclays is set to unveil first quarter profits of £2bn against £1.66bn last time as a result of a resurgence in its investment banking activities as well as a stronger retail banking performance. The bank hopes the results will help calm investors at Friday's AGM over the issue of bonuses, although about 15 per cent of shareholders are thought likely to vote against the remuneration report and the re-election of Alison Carnwath as head of the remuneration committee. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

Vodafone's 11th-hour bid for C&WW set to succeed

Vodafone is poised to acquire Cable & Wireless Worldwide with a £1.1bn offer tabled before Monday's noon deadline and priced at between 40p and 45p a share, compared with Friday's close of 32p. The board of C&WW is expected to recommend the bid now that rival bidder Tata Communications has pulled out of the running. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

Inquiry into SuperGroup error that cost £170m

The UK Listings Authority is to examine the financial accounting systems at SuperGroup following the profit warning and disclosure on Friday that 'arithmetic errors' meant it would miss full-year forecasts by £7.5m. The warning saw £170m wiped off the retailer's market value and the UKLA wants to ensure the mistakes were an oversight rather than deliberate market manipulation. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]


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