News & Tips: N Brown, Faroe Petroleum, Barratt Developments, Communisis, French Connection, Europa Oil & Gas, Fortune Oil, Sound Oil & more

Profit takers are active today after the recent strong run in equities as the rhetoric in the US over the debt ceiling negotiations begins to ramp up, but The Trader Dominic Picarda thinks that we are nowhere near the end of the bull run.


Retailer N Brown (BWNG) continues to enjoy strong trading with total sales up 8.5 per cent in the 19 weeks to 12 January and like for like sales up by 7.9 per cent in the same period. Online sales leapt by 17 per cent and now account for more than half of total sales. We keep our buy rating.

Shares in Faroe Petroleum (FPM) are off a little after an operational update which said the much-anticipated North Uist field is still drilling after technical difficulties. The company has been awarded new exploration licences by Norway. We keep our buy rating.

Housebuilder Barratt Developments (BDEV) expects to report profits of £45m for the first half of its financial year, more than double last year’s effort after growth in the number of private sales and operating margins. Buy.

Simon Thompson recommendation Communisis (CMS) says full year results are expected to meet forecasts and that recently announced contract wins should contribute to 2013 performance.

Macau Property Opportunities (MPO) expects to complete the construction of its Fountainside development by the end of the first quarter. The company is also enjoying occupancy levels above 80 per cent in its completed Waterside development. We maintain our buy recommendation.

Chinese hydrocarbons play Green Dragon Gas (GDG) has reported a 55 per cent rise in year on year in upstream gas production. The company’s midstream and downstream operations also performed to plan. Buy.

The positive equity market performance in the final quarter of 2012 boosted Jupiter Asset Management (JUP) which increased assets under management from £25bn to £26.3bn during the period. We keep our buy rating.


French Connection’s (FCCN) poor run continues with news of a decline in UK like for like retail sales of 2.9 per cent in the 24 weeks to 12 January, partly caused by a decision to delay its sale by a week. The company expects to report a loss for the year to 31 January of £7.5m-£8m.

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has performed creditably considering the poor consumer environment. It reported an 8 per cent hike in like for like sales in the 11 weeks to 13 January. Total sales in the year to date, the 24 weeks to 13 January, are ahead by 11.2 per cent.

Chocolate maker Thorntons (THT) appears to be turning its business around with news of a 5.4 per cent growth in total company sales in the past quarter, although own shop sales continue to be a negative drag on performance.


Europa Oil & Gas (EOG) is popular with investors today after reporting on initial assessments of its interests in the South Porcupine Basin, offshore Ireland where the company claims it may have uncovered a new hydrocarbon province with early indications that its Kiernan prospect could hold 1.6 barrels of oil or oil equivalent.

Fortune Oil (FTO) has received the approval of its lenders to pursue the sale of its natural gas business.

Sound Oil (SOU) has confirmed its strong funding position ahead of the drilling of the Nervesa appraisal well. The company has drawn down further tranches of a share placing held last summer and expects to have $14m-$15m in the bank when drilling begins.


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