Broker Spotlight brings some of the more intriguing and topical analyst coverage to centre-stage. The daily column aims to illuminate thoughts and opinions behind the big stories. London is one of the financial capitals of world. The influential and closely followed views of its analysts regularly move markets and split opinion. The Broker Spotlight column arms Proactive readers with the added insight from the often colourful thoughts and headline-grabbing valuations from the City’s analyst community.
Broker Round-up Part 2: Ferrexpo, Regal Petroleum, Providence Resources, Urals Energy, Beowulf Mining, Hambledon Mining
Today is the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster at the Macondo prospect in the Gulf of Mexico.
US broker JP Morgan, which released a note on the company this morning, estimates that the total cost of the Deepwater Horizon blowout could add up to US$34.3 billion, after it agreed to pay out $8 billion yesterday for beach pollution.
Reports this week also claimed that the environmental effects of the disaster are still being felt as scientists suspect fish in the Gulf of Mexico are suffering from the petroleum spill.
The US banking firm estimates $91 billion of shareholder value has been lost since the spill.
Even so, the broker retains an ‘overweight’ stance on BP shares with a target price of 440 pence.
In other oil news, banking heavyweight Morgan Stanley downgraded global oil and gas explorer Tullow Oil’s (LON:TLW) target price to 1,890 pence from 1,920 pence following disappointing news about two West African offshore wells yesterday.
Tullow, which has interests in 23 countries worldwide, revealed water-bearing reservoirs yesterday on its Mercury-2 exploratory appraisal well in Sierra Leone and the Kosrou-1 exploration well in Côte d’Ivoire, prompting a drop in the share price.
However, Morgan Stanley remains upbeat on the company’s prospects as the areas are “highly prospective” and maintains Tullow’s African assets are “undervalued” given their strategic importance.
Elsewhere, JP Morgan has also upgraded its rating on Cable and Wireless Communications (LON:CWC) to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ on a valuation basis.
The telephone company to the Caribbean and Commonwealth outposts recently issued a poorly received third quarter Interim Management Statement (IMS).
After seeing its position in Jamaica eroded by rivals, concern is mounting over its position in the mobile phone market in Panama, its largest single geographic exposure.
Increased competition meant that the London-headquartered company missed forecasts in February, but the US broker insists that Panama is not “the next Jamaica” amidst fears of near-term capitulation.
It also believes there is much to be positive about and specifically mobile data growth overall, its market leadership in smaller countries, the scope for macro-recovery in the Caribbean and Jamaican regulatory reform.
The broker also ranks water company Pennon (LON:PNN) as the top utilities takeover target in an exercise ranking the remaining seven UK-listed utilities, while it downgraded electricity generator International Power (LON:IPR) to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’ despite the pending GDF Suez takeover bid.
Broker Investec is more optimistic about banking group Lloyds (LON:LLOY) but remains cautious even though “the worst looks to be behind us now”. The broker, which retains its ‘buy’ stance on the stock, expects Lloyds to post positive pre-tax profits this year.
“We now see a much more limited downside risk from further consensus downgrades,” Investec concluded.
“Our relative cautious stance on FXPO is driven by our negative outlook on costs in the region and this has been confirmed today,” said the banking firm.
Ferrexpo maintains it is on track to meet targets and insists it will produce one million tonnes of pellets per month from 2014.
Elsewhere, another Ukraine-oriented company Regal Petroleum's (LON:RPT) annual results were encouraging according to broker Fox Davies. It believes the outlook remains “buoyant” for the company following the regulatory resolution, the appointment of a local partner, the resumption of production, and a US$6.4 million profit in 2011.
Holders of the bonds have until May 2 to accept the offer. The offer is being funded from the recent share placing, which raised €76 million (US$100 million). Fox Davies called the news “positive”.
The broker also said momentum was building for Russian oil company Urals Energy (LON:UEN). It believes significant strides have been made in drawing the line under the legacy issues and says the company “should gain traction” given the proposed drilling programme on Arcticneft and more drilling on Petrosakh to come.
Today the share price rose to 7.28 pence.
Shore Capital analyst Yuen Low said that Beowulf Mining (LON:BEM) has received “relatively good news” after it announced it will not be prosecuted regarding drilling activity in Sweden.
It was under investigation for an alleged technical infringement of the Swedish Minerals Act relating to historic drilling on its Kallak project areas without valid work plans being in place.
Drilling remains suspended at the project and it is still awaiting a separate decision on this matter from the mining inspector at Bergsstaten.
Analyst Low said: “We perceive investing in Beowulf at the current time as being premature and would advocate selling into any strength that may materialise.”
In the quarterly report, the company said it was on course to meet its annual target of 26,000 ounces of gold and should it meet this mark, “there is value in the shares”, said Meyer.
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