News & Tips: Unilever, Nanoco, Close Brothers, 4Imprint, WH Smith, Severfield-Rowen, FlyBe, Hochschild Mining & more

Equities are struggling for direction in early trading but The Trader Dominic Picarda points out that momentum remains in favour of the rally continuing for a while yet.


Personal care brands giant Unilever (ULVR) has turned in a strong set of results for 2012 showing broad-based growth. Overall turnover rose by 10.5 per cent to break through the €50bn barrier at €51.5bn. Underlying sales growth was 6.9 per cent better and margins also improved. Emerging markets sales grew by 11.4 per cent and now represent 55 per cent of total turnover. We keep our buy rating.

Meanwhile, quantum dot technology specialist Nanoco (NANO) is the biggest riser around after its shares added 26 per cent on the back of a landmark global licensing deal with US chemicals giant Dow, who will now have exclusive worldwide rights for the manufacture and sale of Nanoco’s quantum dots for use in electronic displays. Nanoco's quantum dot technology produces sharper colour performance of LCD displays and also contains no harmful heavy metals. Buy.

Close Brothers (CBG) has experienced mixed trading during the past six months with its banking and asset management businesses performing well but the securities division suffering from low volumes. Nonetheless we maintain our buy recommendation.

Marketing and promotional products specialist 4Imprint (FOUR) is going well with revenues in the year to 29 December up by 15 per cent on the previous year with both its UK and US operations contributing well. We keep our buy.

Risk management software provider Brady (BRY) expects to reports earnings 40 per cent ahead of the previous year when it publishes its full year results. Buy.


WH Smith (SMWH) says the 20 weeks to 20 January saw a ‘good profit performance’ despite the fact that total sales dipped by 4 per cent and like for like sales by 5 per cent.

Structural steel specialist Severfield Rowen (SFR) has seen its shares mangled this morning after admitting that cost overruns on a project at Leadenhall in London are hurting the business. Chief executive Tom Haughey is paying the price with his job, with chairman John Dodds stepping into the breach. The company is also in talks with its lenders ‘regarding compliance with its covenants’.

Airline operator FlyBe (FLYB) has announced a restructure of its business which will see around 10 per cent of its UK workforce laid off as it tries to realign itself to changing business trends. Its contract flying business in partnership with Finnair is performing well but its UK airline is facing tough operating conditions.

Land Securities (LAND) says its most recent quarter was a good one with lettings performance going well.


Hochschild Mining (HOC) reported full year production of 20.3m ounces of silver and has set expectations for 2013 at a minimum 20m ounces.

Asset management and analysis software specialist Statpro Group (SOG) is performing well with good demand for its cloud-based software StatPro Revolution, which trebled revenues to $2.5m during 2012.

Enquest (ENQ) is paying £18.75m for 8 per cent of the Alba producing oil field, which pumped 6.4m barrels of oil in the nine months to September 2012.


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