Mon, 22 Dec, 2014


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Tue, 05 Aug, 2014
Holding shares for dividends alone may sound nice in theory but in practice is by no means a risk-free endeavour. Exhibit number one: HSBC. Year-to-date its stock price has fallen by 12%, wiping out more than twice the equivalent value of the dividends which it has paid out during the same period. True, the lender's solid capital position means that its pay-out should be safe enough. In fact, Neil Woodford, a well-known fund manager in the UK, included the stock within the sixty top holdings of his new income fund.
Sun, 03 Aug, 2014
Stay on the sidelines until Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes has got a grip on his sprawling drinks empire, Danny Fortson advised in the Sunday Times. In his Inside the City column, Fortson said Menezes had inherited a business that was hard to control when he took over last July. The strong pound, a clampdown on excess by Chinese officials and a botched execution of strategy contributed to disappointing results last week. It is not a crisis. Menezes has cut costs, a new single grain Scotch for the Chinese market could meet local tastes, and destocking by customers will have to stop sometime.
Fri, 01 Aug, 2014
Markets are understandably concerned by the situation facing BG Group in Egypt. The authorities there have been diverting the gas which should be shipped out to the domestic market instead, which is less profitable for the company. There are positive signs in this regard, but the risk of another write-down does exist. On a more positive note, production at its Brazilian assets has been running ahead of expectations and the first LNG shipment from its Queensland project is on schedule despite industrial unrest.
Thu, 31 Jul, 2014
Fund manager Jupiter's shares are set to offer a yield that makes them worth looking at despite analysts' confusion over just how high a payout they can expect from the company. The business model requires relatively low investment. The company had net cash of £170m at the end of the half-year. About a third of excess cash may be paid out. As well, it intends to funnel about half of its earnings per share as a straightforward dividend to shareholders - equivalent to about 14p per share. As well, the proceeds from the sale of its private client business to Rathbones will allow for a one-off payment of another 4.5p. Hence, the payout this year may rise to 24p or 25p, such that the stock will yield about 6%, giving investors every reason to hold on to the stock, says The Times's Tempus.
Wed, 30 Jul, 2014
Engineering outfit GKN is continuing to do well in its core aerospace and automotive markets despite the negative impact of recent movements in foreign exchange markets. The company lost £24m in reported profits during the first six months of the year. Those headwinds are set to continue in the latter half of the year but will eventually drop out. The outlook for its Land systems division however, which mainly sells agricultural equipment, is less rosy. It will do worse than had been expected this year.
Tue, 29 Jul, 2014
Insurance outfit Hiscox is one of the most respected names in its sector and for good reason. For the first half of the year the outfit achieved a combined ratio of 82%. That marks a deterioration on the 74.7% seen in the comparable period of the year before but is nevertheless a good result. The company also improved the returns its makes on investing the money from premiums which it takes in, to 2%, while the dividend was raised by 7% to 7.5p, although it is too soon to say whether it will repeat the trick of repurchasing share capital to the tune of 11%, as it has over the past couple of years.
Thu, 24 Jul, 2014
Capita is a 'hold' after its recent outperformance, according to the Tempus column in The Times, despite a strong showing from the outsourcing group in the first half.
Wed, 23 Jul, 2014
The Questor column in The Telegraph recommends investors keep hold of shares of chip design ARM Holdings, saying that despite a 20% fall in the stock year-to-date "it's not the time to jump in just yet".
Tue, 22 Jul, 2014
The recent slide in the share price of Babcock has been "overdone", according to the Tempus column in The Times, which recommended investors 'buy' shares of the engineer.
Sun, 20 Jul, 2014
Markets are underestimating the turnaround story at small-capitalisation haulage firm Wincanton. The current consensus of analysts' estimates is calling for pre-tax profits to come in at about £25m this year, followed by a small increase to £26m next year, on the back of largely flat revenues. However, after renegotiating its financing and with plans to exit costly leases the well-diversified firm can easily beat those forecasts.
Fri, 18 Jul, 2014
'Buy' ITV on bid talk, recommends the Questor column in The Telegraph, following the news that Liberty Global has bought a 6.4% stake in the broadcaster. "The shares jumped 7pc higher on the announcement and Questor believes the move underpins the value in the UK Media player," the paper said.
Thu, 17 Jul, 2014
The Tempus column in The Times says it is "waiting for a clearer picture to emerge" at London Stock Exchange. While Wednesday's first-quarter trading update showed that the exchange operator is operating well, with progress made across its three biggest divisions, "uncertainties remain", the paper said.
Wed, 16 Jul, 2014
Investors should 'buy' shares of Carr's Milling Industries, according to the Questor column in The Telegraph, which believes that the stock is "overlooked and undervalued".
Tue, 15 Jul, 2014
'Hold' shares of engineering software group AVEVA for the long term, recommended the Tempus column in The Times on Tuesday. While AVEVA is seen by analysts as a "world-class British company with a leading position in its core business", the market has fallen out of love with the stock, according to paper.
Sun, 13 Jul, 2014
Buy shares of Halfords to capitalise on the UK's retail recovery and the growing craze for cycling, Questor advised in the Sunday Telegraph. The shares have risen about 60% since Questor recommended them in early October 2013 but have gone sideways in the past month. The Tour de France has boosted cycle sales and the company has consolidated its position in the bike market by buying out the successful Boardman cycle brand last month. Its car maintenance business is also improving.
Fri, 11 Jul, 2014
Things seem to be looking up for oil exploration outfit Premier Oil. Its latest trading statement confirmed that it was on track to hit an average level of production of between 58,000 and 63,000 barrels a day this year. In fact, there is every chance that target will be beat. Under its new Chief Executive, the firm has already managed to dispose of some non-core assets and production from the North Sea Solan field may start within a couple of months. Furthermore, approval has been granted to go ahead with the Catcher field in the North Sea.
Thu, 10 Jul, 2014
Shares of Booker Group, which supplies convenience stores, have re-rated to a price-to-earnings multiple of 20 times, versus the high 20's in the not so distant past. Curiously, that comes, in part, as a result of investors - somewhat oddly - perceiving it as an online retailer. More justifiably, markets are cognizant of the fact that the company's margins did take some damage from the "supermarket wars".
Wed, 09 Jul, 2014
Shares of Shire failed to move higher despite AbbVie raising the aggregate amount of its bid to £51.15 from £46.26, showing that investors have little faith in the deal actually going through or in AbbVie's ability to further increase its offer. Are they correct? Should Abbvie increase its offer again, say by another 10%, that would leave the combined company burdened with a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 2.7.
Tue, 08 Jul, 2014
Markets seem to have read the runes wrong when it comes to housebuilders. Taylor Wimpey is a case in point in that regard. There were no negative aspects to the firm's trading statement. There was no negative impact from the Mortgage Market Review. The prices of homes rose by 9% in the first six months of the year. Furthermore, total orders totalled £1.6bn by the close of the period, well above the £1.26bn seen in the previous year.
Sun, 06 Jul, 2014
Serco is becoming a classic falling knife share, Questor said in The Sunday Telegraph. Its loss of the contract to run London's Docklands Light Railway caps a grim 12 months for the outsourcing group. The problem for Rupert Soames, the new Chief Executive, is that Serco is in danger of being locked into loss-making contracts for years as costs increase. The closer management looks into the company, the more problems it finds. Yet the shares are still not cheap despite downgrades. Steer well clear.