Tips & Ideas 

Press headlines and tips: Johnson Matthey, Centrica, Petra Diamonds

Press headlines and tips: Johnson Matthey, Centrica, Petra Diamonds

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


The Times

Tempus: Martin Waller remains cautious about the housebuilding sector's 'impressive' recovery from the depths of recession, although suggests investors should not forget it is a highly-cyclical industry.

The Independent

■ No Pain, No Gain: Derek Pain is adding Findel, 7p, to his portfolio as a recovery play, with another new entrant to be unveiled next week.

The Daily Mail

Investment Extra: Tom Stevenson, an investment director at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, is cautious about investors choosing bonds over equities, suggesting income and security can be gained as easily from shares with high yields as from traditional bonds.

The Sunday Times

Inside the City: Danny Fortson says that Johnson Matthey's first-half profits on Wednesday are expected at about £193m, some 5 per cent less than last year. But they could have been much worse without the benefit for its catalytic converters business of new EU regulations tightening emissions on new cars and trucks (Last IC rating: Buy, 2 Aug).

■ Analysts expect Compass to announce another £500m share buyback on Wednesday alongside the annual results, in spite of the difficult trading conditions in the southern eurozone countries (Last IC rating: Buy, 16 May).

The Sunday Telegraph

Questor: Garry White says buy Centrica, 313.5p, for income and long-term capital growth (Last IC rating: Hold, 26 Jul).

■ Buy Petra, 100p, as a speculative play on recovery in the diamond market (Last IC rating: Hold, 25 Sept).

The Mail on Sunday

Midas: Joanne Hart says director buying at North Atlantic Smaller Companies Investment Trust (No recent IC rating) and Admiral Group (Last IC rating: Hold, 30 Aug) is a signal for investors to either buy or hold the shares. But shareholders in (Last IC rating: Sell, 20 Oct) and NCC Group (Last IC rating: Hold, 5 Jul) should follow the lead of those directors selling their stock.


Business press headlines courtesy of Weekend City Press Review:

Credit Suisse and JP Morgan settle with SEC

Wall Street banks Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Chase have agreed to pay US$417m in total to settle claims from US regulators that they misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities. The deals with the two banks are among the first achieved by the Securities and Exchange Commission as result of a special presidential taskforce set up last January to investigate the allegations of mis-selling. [Financial Times p.15]

BP plots £4bn buyback to repel raiders

BP is considering a £3.7bn share buyback to rehabilitate the oil major in the eyes of the City. The buyback, which could come early next year, reflects the BP board's awareness that the company is vulnerable to an opportunistic bid from a cash-rich rival. [Sunday Times pp.3.1, 3.8]

Ocado's crunch talks with banks

Ocado has appointed Ondra Partners to help negotiate a new deal with its banks to avoid a breach of its debt covenants at the end of the month. Although the banks, including Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group, are expected to relax the deadline and terms, the likely higher costs will add to current pressures on the company. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Blackstone backs Barclay twins in Claridge's battle

US fund management group Blackstone has joined the battle for three of London's top luxury hotels - the Berkeley, Claridge's and the Connaught – by backing the attempt by Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay to wrest control of the Maybourne Hotel Group from Irish property developer Paddy McKillen. Blackstone has offered to provide £530m of debt for a refinancing, with Maybourne investors asked to support a £150m rights issue - a move initiated by the Barclay brothers to try and force McKillen to sell his 36 per cent stake to them. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Investors to block Xstrata payouts

Xstrata's shareholders are expected this week to vote down the mining group's controversial £140m retention scheme for 72 'key managers', although the merger with Glencore is likely to be approved. Shareholders have been unhappy with the retention payouts since they were first proposed and it has now emerged that at least 20 per cent of the payout will go to 14 back-office staff based in Switzerland who have no direct involvement in the running of the company's mines. [Sunday Times p.3.3]

Politicians 'crippling UK banks'

The Association of British Insurers has warned that 'regulatory upheaval, political interference and opaque accounts' are all making bank shares unattractive to professional investors. The ABI is due to tell the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards that institutional investors are reluctant to invest in the major banks because of 'increased risks and shrinking returns'. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

Yahoo plots alliance with Facebook in new search deal

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg have held discussions over forming an alliance which could mean the end of Yahoo's current relationship with Microsoft over the Bing search engine. Facebook is believed to be particularly interested in linking up with Yahoo to develop search engines on the social networking site. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

Shell CEO throws weight behind Government’s 'dash for gas'

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser is backing the government's 'dash for gas' strategy as he believes it is the 'fuel of the future'. Voser, in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, revealed that Shell would be investing US$20bn in the sector between 2012 and 2015. [Sunday Telegraph pp.B2, B7]

Guggenheim in line to snap up Aviva USA

Guggenheim Life, part of US financial giant Guggenheim Partners is in exclusive talks to buy Aviva's US arm for up to £850m. Guggenheim is working with US private equity firm Apollo on the bid after seeing off competition from Harbinger Partners. Meanwhile, former AIA chief Mark Wilson is thought likely to become Aviva's new CEO. [Sunday Telegraph pp.B1, B5]

CBI boss calls on new Bank chief to 'share burden'

CBI president Sir Roger Carr believes the next Governor of the Bank of England must 'share the burden' of the role with colleagues because of the extra responsibilities he or she will be given. Carr, who is also deputy chairman of the BoE's Court, says (in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph) that it is 'critically important' that whoever gets the job is 'someone of experience, real competence and energy'. The CBI is holding its annual conference on Monday at the Grosvenor House in London. [Sunday Telegraph pp.B2, B9]


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