January 5, 2009 / 12:12 PM / 11 years ago

STOCKS NEWS EUROPE-Innovation down after chairman quits

STOCKS NEWS Reuters Results diary

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12:08GMT 05Jan2009-Innovation down after chairman quits

———————————————————————————- Shares in Innovation Group TIG.L fall almost 4 percent following the resignation of its chairman Geoff Squire, which Altium analyst Jonathan Imlah says comes as no surprise, but adds he doubts Squire’s departure will bring the company any closer to resolving its future.

In December, the company rejected several offer approaches saying that they were not at a level acceptable to the majority of the company’s shareholders.

However, Imlah says: “The prospect of an unknown quantity coming in to replace him, throws another variable into the equation and probably does little to bring a bid back to the table any time soon.”

For more double click on [ID:nBNG380644]

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11:59GMT 05Jan2009-Praktiker falls; Deutsche Bank cuts to “hold”


Shares in German home improvement retailer Praktiker PRAG.DE drops 6.1 percent in Frankfurt’s midcap index .MDAXI, after Deutsche Bank cuts its rating in the stock to “hold” from “buy”, with a target price of 8 euros.

“In Germany, Praktiker is finding it hard to reduce the number of promotional days in a tough market, which means 2009 is unlikely to be protected by higher gross margins,” Deutsche Bank analysts say in a note.

“The shares are close to our price target, so we downgrade to hold.”

The company is scheduled to release full-year figures on Thursday.

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11:55GMT 05Jan2009-Aberdeen Asset up; RBS repeats “buy”


Shares in Aberdeen Asset Management ADN.L, London’s largest listed fund manager, rise 7 percent, extending recent gains, as RBS repeats its “buy” recommendation following the company’s purchase of Credit Suisse’s fund management arm.

RBS analyst Stuart Duncan, in a note, says: “Aberdeen looks to have completed another significant deal which should deliver enhanced earnings for the group... the real benefit to Aberdeen will be the realisation of significant cost savings.”

Aberdeen’s shares received a further boost after the Sunday Times highlighted their recent performance in its sharewatch column describing the impact of the deal as “a shot in the arm”.

Reuters Messaging rm://david.brett.com@reuters.net

11:56GMT 05Jan2009-Carrefour dips after Goldman downgrade


Shares in France’s Carrefour (CARR.PA) drop 1.3 percent in a rising market after Goldman Sachs cuts its rating to “neutral” from “buy” on the world’s second biggest retailer in the wake of the company’s profit warning in mid-December.

“We continue to expect the consumer environment to be challenging into 2009 and given the lack of near-term visibility and the significant deterioration that Carrefour experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008, we cut our estimates further,” Goldman Sachs analysts write in a note.

“Carrefour’s focus on maintaining its price competitive position and market share, while credible, may prove to be challenging in the current environment and if achieved is likely to be at the expense of margins.”

Carrefour lost 48 percent in 2008, while France's blue chip index CAC 40 .FCHI dropped 43 percent and the DJ Stoxx retail index .SXRP shed 44 percent.

Reuters Messaging rm://blaise.robinson.reuters.com@reuters.net

11:50GMT 05Jan2009-Ashtead up; Singer says company well positioned


Shares in equipment hire firm Ashtead (AHT.L) add 4.4 percent, with Singer Capital saying it believes the company remains well-positioned to benefit from any early shoots of recovery in the construction market.

“Ashtead’s cost-cutting plan is the right response to weather [the] storm, in our view,” says Singer in a note.

“Ultimately we believe that the winners, as in previous cycles, will be the larger, financially secure players. Ashtead fits this bill,” says the broker, adding that a focus on cash generation should also comfort investors.

However, following a downgrade to its construction outlook from its construction analyst, and the announcement of the company’s second-quarter 2009 results early December, the broker lowers its adjusted pretax profit estimate for the full year ending April 2010 by 32 percent, and for the full year ending April 2011, by 27 percent.

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11:41GMT 05Jan2008-CFE rallies following earlier losses


Shares in Belgian building company CFE (CFEB.BR) surge as much as 9.2 percent, extending their winning streak to the sixth session and rebounding after losing nearly 60 percent in the past four months due to jitters about the global dredging market.

“It might be that the company has been hammereed in the last months, and is recouping part of those losses,” says KBC Securities analyst Tom Simonts, adding that investor uncertainty about the 2009 dredging market persists and there is no firm evidence that dredging margins will be less weak than previously feared.

CFE shares are up 3.4 percent, outpreforming the Belgian blue chip index .BFX, which is up 0.8 percent.

CFE holds a 50 percent stake in Antwerp-based dredging company DEME. Belgian holding company Ackermans & Van Haaren (ACKB.BR) controls the other half. Ackermans & Van Haaren trades up roughly 2.2 percent.

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11:12GMT 05Jan2009-Renault hit by Citi downgrade, Japan data


Shares in French car maker Renault (RENA.PA) fall nearly 5 percent, the biggest loser on the CAC 40 index .FCHI, after dismal Japanese monthly car sales and as Citigroup downgrades its rating on the stock to "sell" from "hold".

Renault has a significant stake in Japan’s Nissan (7201.T).

“No earnings/no dividend is likely to be a common autos tune in 09E. We bring core Renault numbers into line with a new base of EU car sales falling a further 15 percent in 09E, severely hurting earnings performance,” Citi analysts write in a note.

Adding to the gloom, data show on Monday French new car registration for December falling 15.8 percent year on year.

Renault stock plummeted 81 percent in 2008, the CAC 40’s second worst stock performance on the year.

Reuters Messaging rm://blaise.robinson.reuters.com@reuters.net

11:00GMT 05Jan2009-CRH up; Davy bullish on fundamentals


Shares in CRH (CRH.L), the Irish building group, climb 2 percent ahead of its trading update on Tuesday, after Davy says the company’s fundamentals will support the share price through worsening conditions for the construction sector in 2009.

Davy says CRH’s new management team with its proven track record will continue to generate superior performance and returns, while its strong balance sheet and attractive valuation will underpin the share price.

However, the broker says it expects full-year 2008 pretax profit to be 15 percent below 2007 out-turn.

Reuters Messaging rm://david.brett.reuters.com@reuters.net

11:00GMT 05Jan2009-SG recommends investors to gradually take on more risk


Societe Generale recommends investors to gradually take on more risk by raising the weight of bonds, mainly corporate debt, with a cut in cash.

“With a one-year outlook, we will use the extreme pessimism probably reached in Q4 2008 and Q1 2009 to increase the weight of risky and currently very cheap assets,” the broker says in a note.

SocGen says that within its cash position, it focuses on the dollar and the euro holdings. However, in terms of currency, it reduced its “overexposure” to the greenback as well cutting its exposure to the yen after its strong performance in 2008.

“Equities should remain somewhat volatile in 2009, a consequence of the extreme scenarios currently managed by market players. Improved economic conditions, cheap valuations, and an active reflation process are finally having an impact on credit and this lends weight to our current neutral position on this asset class,” SocGen says.

“if equities continue to feel heavy pressure due to outflows, then we’ll use the next quarters to raise our weighting.”

Within equities, it stays “overweight” in Japan, while it is “underweight” on commodities.

“Among risky assets like credit and equities, commodities are the only asset class not yet trading at a significant discount to fair value,” it adds.

Reuters Messaging rm://dominic.lau.reuters.com@reuters.net

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