News Column

UK MORNING BRIEFING: Weir Group Leads Firm London Market On Upgrade

September 2, 2014

Tom Waite



LONDON (Alliance News) - UK shares have opened higher Tuesday, as the market looks forward to further economic stimulus for the eurozone from the European Central Bank and shrugs off for now rising tension in Ukraine.



Engineering firm Weir Group leads the FTSE 100 gainers, up 3.6%, after being upgraded by Credit Suisse to Outperform from Neutral, with a big increase in price target to 3,060 pence from 2,540p. The stock is currently quoted at 2,734.00p.



Here is what you need to know at the UK market open:

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MARKETS

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FTSE 100: up 0.3% at 6,848.58

FTSE 250: up 0.2% at 15,987.60

AIM ALL-SHARE: up 0.1% at 779.57

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Hang Seng: marginally up at 24,758.86

Nikkei 225: closed up 1.2% at 15,668.60

DJIA: closed Monday

S&P 500: closed Monday

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GBP-USD: down at USD1.6558

EUR-USD: up at USD1.3136



GOLD: down at USD1,275.62 per ounce

OIL (Brent): down at USD102.52 a barrel



(changes since end of previous GMT day)

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ECONOMICS AND GENERAL

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Tuesday's Key Economic Events still to come

(all times British Summer Time)



09:30 UK PMI Construction

10:00 EU Producer Price Index

10:00 EU Producer Price Index

14:30 Canada RBC Manufacturing PMI

14:45 US Markit Manufacturing PMI

15:00 US Construction Spending

15:00 US IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism (MoM)

15:00 US ISM Manufacturing PMI and ISM Prices Paid

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Boris Johnson's plan for a major new British airport in the Thames estuary to replace Heathrow is set to be quashed on Tuesday by the government's independent aviation commission, the Financial Times reports. Mayor of London Johnson has been battling for months to keep the airport among the ideas being considered by the commission, being led by Sir Howard Davies. But critics of the plan, dubbed 'Boris Island' and which would be located on the Isle of Grain to the east of London, have described it as a "quixotic vanity project", the FT said. The announcement due today, confirmed to the FT by two Whitehall officials, will put the spotlight back on the expansion of Heathrow, one of two remaining options before the commission.

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The US military conducted an operation against Islamist al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, the Pentagon announced Monday, without providing further details. The announcement came nearly a week after the Somali government said it would launch a new offensive against the al-Qaeda-linked group, and days after an al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu left 15 people dead over the weekend.

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said political dialogue was necessary to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, Radio New Zealand reported. He expressed disappointment that talks between Russia and Ukraine had lasted only two days. Talks between Russia, Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists are to resume Friday in Minsk, the capital of Belarus.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is "quite optimistic" a deal can be struck with the West on his country's nuclear programme, despite a new round of sanctions imposed by the US, he said Monday. The US announced a series of measures Friday targeting entities and individuals who Washington alleges are helping Iran circumvent international sanctions and expand the country's arms proliferation programme.

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The monetary base in Japan increased at a slower rate in August, data from the Bank of Japan showed. The monetary base grew 40.5% year-over-year in August following the 42.7% rise in July. Bank notes in circulation rose 3.5%, which is faster than the 3.4% increase in July. Coins in circulation climbed 0.9% following the 1% rise in the previous month.

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Total labor cash earnings in Japan grew at a faster rate in July, defying expectations of a slow down, a report from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare showed. Total earnings increased 2.6% year-over-year in July following the revised 1% rise in June. Economists had expected earnings to grow 0.9%.

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BROKER RATING CHANGES

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CREDIT SUISSE CUTS IMI TO 'NEUTRAL' ('OUTPERFORM') - TARGET 1500 (1640) PENCE

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CREDIT SUISSE RAISES WEIR TO 'OUTPERFORM' ('NEUTRAL') - TARGET 3060 (2540) PENCE

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LIBERUM CUTS MICHAEL PAGE TO 'HOLD' ('BUY') - TARGET 500 PENCE

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LIBERUM CUTS AFREN TO 'HOLD' ('BUY') - TARGET 121 (162) PENCE

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JPMORGAN CUTS AFREN PRICE TARGET TO 137 (188) PENCE - 'OVERWEIGHT'

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LIBERUM INITIATES LAVENDON GROUP WITH 'HOLD' - TARGET 225 PENCE

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LIBERUM RAISES SPEEDY HIRE TO 'BUY' ('HOLD') - TARGET 790 PENCE

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COMPANIES - FTSE 100

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Tesco's new Chief Executive Dave Lewis thinks he will bring a fresh non-retailing perspective to the UK's biggest grocer, admitting in an interview with the Evening Standard late Monday that he is "wonderfully naive" about some of the challenges that face him. Lewis, who has been brought in from consumer goods giant Unilver PLC, paid tribute to former CEO Philip Clarke, calling him a great retailer. But he added that great retailing hasn't worked in the CEO job recently so a fresh perspective is what is required at Tesco.

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British Land andDevelopment Securities said they have signed leases at their respective sites in Orpington and Hammersmith, London. FTSE 100-listed British Land said Metro Bank has signed for a 5,300 square foot unit on a 25-year lease at its Nugent Shopping Park in Orpington. Meanwhile, Development Securities in a joint statement with co-investor SWIP Property Trust said they have completed the final two lettings at 10 Hammersmith Grove to media company Fox International Channels Ltd and to tobacco firm Philip Morris International.

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COMPANIES - FTSE 250

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HousebuilderRedrow became the latest housebuilder to say the UK housing market is reverting to more normal levels, as it reported an increase in profit and revenue for its recent full year. The company, which said pretax profit almost doubled in the full-year, said market conditions have returned to a more seasonal pattern of activity, meaning fewer people buying in the summer, with more in the spring and autumn. This comes after Berkeley Group Holdings on Monday said the UK housing market has reverted to normal transaction levels from the high point witnessed in 2013.

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Polymetal International outlined its plans for a slew of its gold projects, confirming plans to proceed with the construction and development of the Svetloye gold project and terminating or slowing development at three other sites ahead of the acquisition of the Kyzyl project. The Russia and Kazakstan-focused precious metals producer said the forthcoming acquisition of the Kyzyl gold project in Kazakhstan has resulted in it having to re-prioritise its project pipeline in order to focus capital and management resources on key sites and maintain a robust leverage level.

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Tullett Prebon's new chief executive has indicated he will target a further push into electronic trading, according to a Financial Times report online on Monday. According to the report, John Phizackerley told staff the UK was "in a great position to be one of the winners" of the market.

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Jupiter Fund Management said it has appointed Senior Independent Non-Executive Director Liz Airey as its new chairman due Jamie Dundas' deciding to step down due to ill health. In a statement, the FTSE 250 fund manager said Airey began as chairman from Monday. Airey will also chair the company's nomination committee.

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COMPANIES - LONDON MAIN MARKET AND AIM

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Datatec said its IT integration unit Logicalis Group has bought a 51% stake in specialty software developer ituma GmbH, giving it exclusive rights to the German company's proprietary software based Wi-Fi platform.

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Quindell said it is acquiring the RAC's stake in the two companies' telematics joint venture, Connected Car Solutions (CCS), just months after they inked the deal to distribute combined connected car products. In a statement, Quindell said its net cost of the restructuring is GBP3.5 million, which it will pay in cash over 18 months. However, Quindell said that the restructuring will have no negative effect on its profit expectations, which it said will now be delivered on lower turnover with an improved cash profile, as it will receive all of the profits from CCS.

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Corac Group said its subsidiary Hunt Thermal Technologies Ltd has received an order worth approximately GBP0.9 million for six high-integrity heat exchanger units. The group of gas, air and energy technologies businesses said HTT has received the order from an unnamed international engineering, procurement and construction company. The contract will provide replacement exchangers to a UK downstream facility in early 2015 as part of a five-year improvement programme on the site in preparation for increased oil production from the West of Shetland area.

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4d Pharma said two of its products are set to enter clinical studies in the second quarter of 2015, following on from its Rosburix drug winning an orphan designation from the US drug watchdog. The pharmaceutical firm said its Blautix treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its Thetanix drug for paediatric Crohn's disease (PCD) are set to enter clinical studies in the second quarter of 2015. The studies would focus on evaluating the safety and tolerability of the products.

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DCD Media said it has agreed terms to sell its Glasgow-based television production business Matchlight to the unit's management, although the completion of the deal is still subject to a number of conditions it didn't set out.

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Bezant Resources said it has appointed Edward Nealon as non-executive chairman with immediate effect. The AIM-listed copper-gold exploration and development company, which operates in the Philippines and Argentina, said that Nealon succeeds Evan Kirby who will assume his former role of non-executive director, also with immediate effect.

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Johnson Service Group said revenue and pretax profit rose in its first-half, leading the company to up its interim dividend as its textile rental division performed ahead of management expectations. In its half-year results for the six months to June 30, the textile services group said pretax profit was up 46% to GBP6.5 million from GBP4.4 million the previous year while revenue was up 5.7% to GBP101.6 million from GBP96.1 million in the comparative half in 2013. The company upped its interim dividend by 25% to 0.5 pence per share from the 0.4 pence per share paid last year as part of its progressive dividend policy.

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Life sciences companyValiRx said its ValiSeek Ltd joint venture with Tangent Reprofiling Ltd has received positive results from an efficacy study into novel cancer drug VAL401 as a treatment for lung cancer, and it plans to undertake further efficacy tests for its use against other cancers. In a statement, ValiRx, which focuses on cancer treatments and personalised medicine, said pre-clinical trial studies into the efficacy of VAL401 in non-small cell lung cancer showed a mean response with at least a 50% reduction in the rate of tumour growth in an accepted standard cancer model.

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McKay Securities said it has bought the freehold of Station Plaza, Theale from M&G Real Estate for GBP8.46 million, representing an initial yield of 10.1%, and expects to be able to increase the rents on the properties in coming years.

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COMPANIES - INTERNATIONAL

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Spanish telecom operator Telefonica SA revealed Monday that it plans to exit its 14.8% stake in Italian phone carrier Telecom Italia SpA after it strikes the deal to acquire the Paris-based Vivendi SA's Brazilian broadband unit Global Village Telecom, S.A.Telefonica owns the stake in Telecom Italia through holding company Telco. The move to exit stake in Telecom Italia could also be a way of appeasing Brazilian regulatory authorities. The Brazilian antitrust agency, CADE had told Telefonica earlier that it has a year and half to divest its interest in Telecom Italia or look for a new partner for Telefonica's commercial brand in Brazil, Vivo.

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Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel NV's Chief Executive Officer Ton Buechner has been solicited for a potential USD7 billion acquisition of car-coatings company Axalta Coating Systems, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. Axalta Coating, a former unit of Chemicals giant EI DuPont de Nemours & Co., commonly called DuPont, was acquired by private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for USD4.9 billion in February 2013. According to the Bloomberg report, Carlyle Group is exploring a sale of the company alongside a planned initial public offering that could raise an initial USD1 billion.

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Apple was reviewing the security of its iCloud data storage services after the illicit internet release of nude photos and videos from dozens of celebrities including actress Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton. "We take user privacy very seriously and are actively investigating this report," Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris told technology blog Recode.net on Monday, in response to reports that the photos were taken from the company's iCloud service.

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Tuesday's Scheduled AGMs/EGMs



Reneuron

Lindsell Train Investment Trust

Aberdeen New Dawn Investment Trust

Energy Assets Group

Severfield

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Source: Alliance News


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