News Column

Share watch

July 27, 2014

Perry Gourley

SHARES in plant hire firm VP GROUP have risen by more than 50 per cent over the past year as it has continued to see the benefits of economic growth feed through across its business.At last week's AGM chairman Jeremy Pilkington delivered more good news for shareholders when he reported that the "excellent business momentum" on which the company ended the previous financial year has carried forward into this year.Analysts at Equity Development raised their forecast for full-year profits by 6.2 per cent to GBP22.5 million, and said they were hopeful of upgrading further.Equity Development pointed to strong figures being reported in the latest Markit/CIPS construction report."Longer term we believe there is also substantial upside from both the group's oil/gas services division and future large-scale infrastructure projects," it said.The company believes the current share price of around 665p, is too cheap and has lifted its own target price from 676p to 725p.Analysts at WH Ireland have raised their price target on VP shares to 775p.Budget airline EASYJET last week saw its shares dip as it forecast annual profit growth of 14 to 19 per cent, less than some analysts had pencilled in. "We think that this outlook statement adds to investor unease that consensus forecasts have generally run ahead," said Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Robin Byde, who rates easyJet a "hold".But the trading update from the airline prompted Panmure Gordon to up its rating on the stock from "hold" to "buy".Analysts said although they were likely to trim their earnings forecasts to reflect the more challenging revenue environment, "we remain hugely optimistic about the long-term prospects of this business and the shares look attractively valued".MarketWatchMonday: Reckitt Benckiser Group (I)Tuesday: BP (I)Wednesday: Greggs (I)Thursday: Diageo (F)Friday: Direct Line (I)

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Source: Scotland on Sunday

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