Thu, 31 Jul, 2014

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Tue, 03 Sep, 2013
Rio Tinto's interim figures out yesterday showed pre-tax profits halved, to 3.2bn dollars. Yet given the improvement in prospects for China, a rise in commodity prices, a reduction in capital expenditures and significant cost-cutting measures analysts expect the company's cash-flows to double over the next two years. In fact, operating cash flows were actually stable at the half-way mark for the year as a result of all of the above. Further, the company's forecast full-year dividend enjoys a cover of 2.5 times earnings per share. The shares look cheap, having fallen by around 15% this year. The 2013 earnings multiple of 10 times, falling to 7.5 times next year is at a discount to BHP Billiton. The dividend growth also looks well underpinned. Hence, The Daily Telegraph's Questor team retains its advice to buy.
Sun, 01 Sep, 2013
Buy bathroom supplies company Norcros and watch the shares gain from the recovering housing market and wider economy, the Mail on Sunday's Midas column said. Norcros owns Triton showers, Johnson Tiles and Vado bathroom accessories. The company performed well even in the downturn and is highly efficient and well managed. Buying Vado this year gave Norcros more products and markets, particularly in the Middle East where business is strong. With a plan in place to double sales by 2018, Norcros is poised for growth.
Fri, 30 Aug, 2013
The recent purchase of the Ashtenne fund out of administration by property fund Hansteen amounts to a big bet on UK industry and yet the stock market seems to have completely missed the benefits of this deal. Perhaps critically, the team at Hansteen knows Ashtenne property portfolio as they were the ones who sold it back in just 2005. To boot, they have acquired it at a 30 per cent discount to book value. The vacancy rate on those properties is 18 per cent you say? Indeed, but finding tenants is precisely Hansteen´s bread and butter. Further, the company will earn fees from Aviva for managing the portfolio. Lastly, sporting a 4.9 per cent forecast dividend yield The Daily Telegraph's Questor thinks the shares are worth a look. Buy, it says.
Thu, 29 Aug, 2013
Chime Communications yesterday revealed a large drop in operating profits at its main segment, sports and entertainment. That was the result of very difficult comparables given last year's Olympic Games. Hence, interim profitability at the segment decreased by 40 per cent to 4.5m pounds. Nevertheless, the company has expanded its advertising and marketing division to cope with a slew of new contracts. Further, Chime has netted eight contracts for the World Cup in Brazil next summer and five for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. As well, the shortfall from sports has been offset by strong performances in all of Chime's other divisions in the first six months of the year. "There might be a bit of a lag before seeing any significant upside from the sporting action next year. Still, the sterling growth outside of sport is encouraging. [...] Best get in now and be patient," The Times's Tempus says.
Wed, 28 Aug, 2013
Shares of oil equipment manufacturer Petrofac are too cheap given the very positive expectations for its sales and earnings next year. Not only were its interim figures out yesterday better than expected, the company is expected to receive a significant boost as the In Salah gas project comes on-line, together with the Zakum project in Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, after having raised its stake it will soon be able to book the total figure for sales and orders at its Petrofac Emirates subsidiary. Even after yesterday's movement in the share price the 2013 earnings multiple is 10.4 times, falling to 8.3 times next year. Add in the interim dividend being nudged up 5 per cent to 22 per cent, paid on October 18th, and the shares remain a Buy, says The Daily Telegraph's Questor.
Tue, 27 Aug, 2013
Shares of Ophir Energy have moved lower following its "progress" report August 15th. The company failed to deliver any positive news-flow from drilling operations; rather it revealed some slippage. As well, for now at least the big names in the sector seem to be looking on its exploration activities without committing. While the company is right to avoid making premature announcements the lack thereof sows doubts investors' minds about the commercial viability of those projects. Hence, at the moment the main attraction of the outfit seems to be its status as a potential take-over target. Yet that is still a good reason to like Ophir, writes the FT's Lex column.
Sun, 25 Aug, 2013
Add Morrisons to your basket of investments for a solid defensive stock, the Telegraph's Questor column advised. The supermarket group has filled the online gap in its service by teaming up with internet grocer Ocado and tight control of meat production meant it was not affected by the horsemeat scandal. The shares yield a bank-beating 4% and with UK economic prospects brightening it is a good time to buy.
Fri, 23 Aug, 2013
Yesterday´ 5m pound acquisition of Canadian 'skunkworks' Analytical Flow Products, announced by IMI, reflects the strengths of the company. It is at the leading edge when it comes to innovations in its field - the design and manufacture of bespoke gears, as opposed to commoditised products which can be built in South-East Asia. Hence, its valuation of 16 times´ this year´s earnings, which may seem rich for an engineer. Add in a world-class Chief Executive in Martin Lamb and you have a stock in which investors should happily continue to accumulate says The Times´s Tempus.
Thu, 22 Aug, 2013
The future for outsourcing outfit Serco is now uncertain as the Government calls for a detailed review of all contracts and profit margins are expected to slide. However, its update on trading in the second quarter was good. With long-term government contracts comes steady cash flow, and Serco has built a strong balance sheet over the years. What's more, brokers forecast indebtedness to fall by a fifth over the next two years.
Wed, 21 Aug, 2013
Given the tidal wave of speculative money being pulled out of India and other emerging markets, the wonder, if anything, is that the Mumbai market has not fallen further, writes The Times´s Tempus. However, in the short-term Indian shares look deeply vulnerable and vehicles which invest in the sub-continent have been taking a thrashing. Longer-term, nevertheless, prospects remain bright, with strong, well-managed companies, a burgeoning middle class of consumers and workers and myriad under-penetrated markets, from shampoo to cement. "Nimble investors should be ready to buy the moment that the dust appears to be settling. That isn't yet, however," Tempus adds.
Tue, 20 Aug, 2013
The Daily Telegraph´s Questor team believes that shares of Bovis Homes are now a hold following their recent strong run and despite worries that the first increase in interest rates might come sooner than expected. All of the house builders are currently enjoying operational success and Bovis is no exception, the newspaper writes. Particularly worth noting is the group´s strengthened guidance for its return on capital, which is now expected to be at least 10 per cent for the full year, versus "approaching" 10 per cent beforehand. Furthermore, while now trading on a 2013 price earnings multiple of 18.5, this is expected to fall to 13.6 next year.
Sun, 18 Aug, 2013
The displacement of WPP as the world's biggest advertising agency by the merger of Omnicom and Publicis could be good news for WPP, Simon Duke wrote in the Sunday Times' Inside the City column. WPP, led by Martin Sorrell, earns more from from fast-growing emerging economies and digital ads than its rivals, powering a trebling in value for its shares since 2008. Interim profits are set to rise 14% to £648m and the dividend could jump 25% to 11p, according to stockbroker Liberum. WPP could pick off big clients from its merged rival. General Electric has moved most of its work to WPP expect are likely to follow.
Fri, 16 Aug, 2013
UK cinema chain Cineworld on Thursday posted an impressive set of first half results driven by a raft of 3D films including the musical Les Miserables, The Telegraph's Questor column said. With a strong film schedule in the second half of the year including the latest Hobbit film and Despicable Me 2, the group is confident it will meet full-year expectations. The increase is down to a number of factors including a higher proportion of ticket sales due to 3D films and the acquisition of independent art house group Picturehouse which achieved steady growth. The Competition Commission continues to investigate the acquisition due to concerns that it may reduce local competition in certain areas. A decision on this by the regulator is "imminent" but it is not really a major concern for Questor which rates the stock a 'hold'. Even though the shares have soared by more than 50 per cent this year, they are still yielding 3.2 per cent rising to 3.4 per cent.
Thu, 15 Aug, 2013
Car dealership Lookers reported impressive interim results on Wednesday as the UK car market improves, The Telegraph's Questor column pointed out. While it operates 126 dealerships, selling new and used cars, it is the sales of spare parts that generate 60 per cent of profit. Lookers' vehicle sales unit produced a record result at the interim stage which looks set to continue after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders raised its forecast for 2013 new car registrations last week. Profitability at its independent parts division, however, has been hit by the slowdown in vehicle sales over the past few years. Yet the company said there was "progress" on this front, too. The shares are trading on a 2013 earnings multiple of 16.1, falling to 15.1 next year, and this looks about right for now. After recent gains, the rating is hold.
Wed, 14 Aug, 2013
EnQuest was due to restart production of the Alma/Galia field in the North Sea this year but the company on Tuesday admitted that it needs to modify the floating production vessel which pushes the project to the start of 2014, The Times' Tempus column said. So total production from the company, estimated in March at between 22,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day and 27,000 bpd, would come in at the lower end of this range. Balancing this was some good news from its Kraken field, where production should start in 2016. EnQuest's production came in almost 6.0 per cent higher in the first half, at 21,455 bpd, but the lower price it got for the oil meant that gross profits came in 14 per cent lower at 175m dollars. Its strategy is relatively low risk for the sector, which makes it among the more attractive for retail investors who want exposure there.
Tue, 13 Aug, 2013
Sirius Minerals' refinancing should allow the company to begin on its potash mine under the North York Moors National Park. However uncertainties remain including planning permission and pricing pressures, The Times' Tempus column noted. The shares have halved since last month over such concerns. Prices remain stable but if they fall they could affect the profit and other large potash mines being built. Yet the miner insists its own pricing model is sturdy as it can produce at only 37 dollars a tonne. The financing will raise 25m pounds through the issue of securities to a New York institutional investor. Sirius has pre-sold a fifth of future production from the project to the Chinese and another fifth is the subject of various forward sales agreements. Sirius remains an exciting prospect and, with the shares at their low level, this could be seen as a buying opportunity but they remain highly speculative so only invest money you can afford to lose.
Sun, 11 Aug, 2013
Stick with Legal & General shares, the Sunday Telegraph's Questor column said. The insurer's shares hit a 14-year high after it increased its first-half dividend by more than a fifth on August 6th. Pre-tax profits for the first half rose 3% to £592m as sales broke through analysts' forecasts with a 22% increase. Based on current forecasts, the dividend yield for this year is 4.55%, rising to 4.8%, but that could prove conservative. But with the shares up 51% this year the rating stays at hold.
Fri, 09 Aug, 2013
Aviva's strategy under new Chief Executive Mark Wilson looks like it's working, according to The Telegraph's Questor column. The insurer's cashflows are improving, new business is increasing and operating expenses are being reduced. The company's interim results on Thursday revealed progress which pushed the shares higher. Wilson's strategy included a focus on boosting group cashflow and profits, reducing expenses, and improving the group's combined operating ratio (COR). Management insists there is still much to do, including boosting its businesses in Italy, Spain and Ireland and turning around Aviva Investors, its investment management operation. The shares are trading on a 2013 earnings multiple of 10, falling to 2.7 next year, and yielding a prospective 3.7%, rising to 3.9%. Questor recommended a hold for the shares.
Thu, 08 Aug, 2013
Randgold Resources saw its profits fall as the company adjusted to a drop in gold prices, The Telegraph's Questor column mused. However, Chief Executive, Mark Bristow, said the group will remain profitable despite the fall in price of the precious metal. Production was little changed compared with the first quarter, at 196,000 ounces, but cash costs were cut by 5.0 per cent to 795 dollars an ounce. Costs were, however, ahead of the equivalent quarter of last year. Some analysts were disappointed with the flat production, as they had expected an improvement. Yet Randgold has one of the strongest balance sheets in the gold sector, with no debt, 200m dollars of banking facilities in place and 45m dollars of cash in the bank. Operationally, Randgold continues to progress well, but the gold price is likely to remain volatile. Shares have almost been tracking the gold price so Questor recommends a 'hold' rating.
Wed, 07 Aug, 2013
InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) future looks bright as the global population is rising significantly, which means more people are travelling and booking accommodation, The Telegraph's Questor said. The world's largest hotel company by number of rooms, which owns nine brands including the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains, announced a special dividend of 350m dollars on Tuesday, on top of the 500m dollar share buy-back already announced at the interim stage last year. IHG's strategy to focus on the "most attractive markets" will help it grow in future. In China, a key growing market, the firm currently has 659,000 branded hotel rooms. International travellers are important, but expansion is geared to China's domestic travellers who tend to favour branded hotels. IHG shares are trading on a 2013 earning multiple of 19.7, falling to 18.2. While it is not cheap, Questor believes it is justified by earnings prospects and recommended a 'buy' rating.
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