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Press headlines & tips: Old Mutual, BHP Billiton, Lloyds Banking Group

Press headlines & tips: Old Mutual, BHP Billiton, Lloyds Banking Group

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


The Times

Tempus: Miles Costello says buy Old Mutual, 205p, where there remains plenty of room for growth (Last IC rating: Hold, 1 Mar).

■ Hold UBM, 740p, as it refocuses its activities on to higher-margin events (Last IC rating: Hold, 1 Mar).

■ Keep an eye on Laird, 248.5p, as it appears to be charting a successful strategy through fast-changing technology markets (Last IC rating: Hold, 1 Mar).

The Independent

No Pain, No Gain: Derek Pain reviews his profile of 14 stocks, revealing that nine are in profit, with five showing losses. But two of the stocks in the 'doghouse' - Animalcare (Last IC rating: Buy, 21 Feb) and TEG (Last IC rating: Hold, 7 Jun) - are both providing evidence of recovery.

The Daily Mail

Investment Extra: Sam Dunn suggests retail investors take a look at the US, where the economy is picking up and it could 'once again reap dividends for investors.' He suggests small investors consider such top-performing funds as Legg Mason Capital Management Opportunities and Threadneedle US Equity Income .

The Sunday Times

Inside the City: Danny Fortson says new BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie is unlikely to be seduced by the sort of mega-deals favoured by his predecessor - which is good news for investors (Last IC rating: Hold, 20 Feb).

Greencoat UK Wind is worth considering for income investors when it floats at 100p later this month (IC comment: 8 Feb).

The Sunday Telegraph

Questor: Garry White says hold Lloyds Banking Group, 53p, as problems for the banking sector remain, although the shares may appeal to buy-and-hold investors (Last IC rating: Hold, 1 Mar).

■ Hold Berendsen, 702p, as Friday's results made clear its new strategy is on track (Last IC rating: Buy, 1 Mar).

The Mail on Sunday

Midas: Joanne Hart suggest investors follow the lead of Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Agarwal and buy shares in the oil and mining group (Last IC rating: Hold, 7 Nov). But it may be time to take profits at PayPoint where non-executive director David Morrison has been a recent seller (Last IC rating: Hold, 29 Nov).

Update: Take some profits at 3i Group, tipped last August at 216p and now 316p (Last IC rating: Buy, 16 Nov).


Business press headlines courtesy of Weekend City Press Review:

Film rights tax shelter shut down

A HM Revenue & Customs tax tribunal has banned a tax avoidance scheme marketed by Goldcrest Pictures which involved the buying and selling of film rights at an inflated price. The decision means that Patrick Degorce, chief investment officer at hedge fund Theleme Partners, will be forced to pay the £7.5m tax owed on the £18.8m of profits he sought to offset under the scheme. HSBC Private Bank was the adviser to Degorce, who plans to appeal the decision. [Financial Times p.1]

CVC to bid for McCarthy & Stone

CVC Capital Partners is expected to team up with former McCarthy & Stone chairman Alan Bowkett to launch a £500m bid for the retirement homes builder. Bowkett resigned from the McCarthy board last week, indicating he wanted to be free to a mount a possible takeover approach. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

HSBC roars back with £15bn profit

HSBC is set to announce a £15.6bn (US$23.4bn) full-year profit, close to the record US$27bn it recorded it 2007. The strong figures come in spite of a US$1.9bn regulatory fine in the US to settle money laundering claims and may also add to the renewed controversy over bonuses, with CEO Stuart Gulliver set to get at least US$6m even though he is entitled to more. [Sunday Times pp.3.1, 3.5]

Pressure on Bank to fire up printing presses

Economists believe a decision on further quantitative easing is 'too close to call' when the Monetary Policy Committee meets later this week. But at least two MPC members need to switch their vote if there is to be more QE and back Sir Mervyn King, who last month was outvoted in his call for another £25bn to be injected into the financial sector. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

BAE eyes grandees as new chairman

BAE Systems has 'sounded out' City heavyweights Sir John Rose and Sir Roger Carr as potential successors to chairman Dick Olver who is due to step down next year and may go earlier if a suitable replacement can be found. Headhunters are about to be appointed by the board to help find a new chairman, with Rose and Carr seen as obvious candidates. [Sunday Times p.3.1]

Aviva to stun City with £3bn losses

Aviva's board will decide on Wednesday evening whether to announce a dividend cut along with Thursday's full year results, expected to show a loss of more than £3bn following the restructuring undertaken last year by chairman Join McFarlane after the departure of CEO Andrew Moss. New CEO Mark Wilson, who started work at the start of the year, may see the results as his best opportunity to reduce what analysts believe is an 'unsustainable' dividend level. [Sunday Times p.3.3]

Record £1.5bn bid for Arsenal

Arsenal FC is reported to be a £1.5bn target from a Middle East consortium backed by funds from Qatar and the UAE. The unidentified bidders are seeking to buy the majority stake held by US businessman Stan Kroenke for an estimated £830m as well as the near-30 per cent held by Alisher Usmanov. If a successful bid is made it would become the world's biggest takeover of a football club, dwarfing the £800m paid for Manchester United FC by the Glazer family. [Sunday Telegraph pp.1, Sports 1, Sports 5]

John Lewis staff set for payout as profits hit £415m

John Lewis staff are set to be awarded a bonus of 15 per cent of their salary when the retail group posts full-year profits up 17 per cent at £415m on Thursday. Although the bonus is up from last year's 14 per cent of salary, it is still below the 18 per cent awarded in 2011. [Sunday Telegraph pp.B1, B7]

EU pay cap 'major risk' to City jobs

Enterprise Minister Michael Fallon claims the proposed EU cap on bankers' bonuses will cost the City 'hundreds of thousands of jobs' if international banks decide to relocate their activities away from London. He suggested that although the new rules would only apply to top earners, it could see foreign-owned banks decide to switch whole divisions overseas. [Sunday Telegraph pp.B1, B6]

Worldwide drop in commodity prices to hit Glencore Xstrata

Slowing global demand for raw materials is expected to hit the profit figures this week from both Glencore and Xstrata just as their long-running merger saga is finally coming to an end. Xstrata's earnings are expected to be down by almost 50 per cent on last year, although Glencore's fall is not likely to be as large. A final date for the merger to be completed will depend on current negotiations taking place with Chinese regulators. [Sunday Telegraph p.B1]

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