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 including Ascot Mining, Bullabulling Gold, Arian Silver, Bellzone Mining and Aminex
The company saw its shares plummet yesterday after it warned investors that losses would be greater than it had initially thought and said for the first time that it would make a full-year loss.
But broker Liberum Capital isn’t down on the stock, insisting the shares still offer good value.
It retains a ‘buy’ recommendation but admits management will have to re-build confidence if the shares are to rebound.
JP Morgan Cazenove was far less optimistic.
It downgraded the oil and gas engineer to ‘underweight’ from ‘neutral’ and slashed its target price in half to 76 pence, lower than the current price of 81 pence, down a further 5 per cent today.
Troubled home support services company HomeServe (LON:HSV) saw its shares vault following rumours it could be bought out.
The firm denied reports of a £1 bln takeover by private equity buyers but this didn’t stop Morgan Stanley speculating about the potential of a deal.
If it does materialise, the broker, which remains ‘equal-weight’ on the stock, sees 80 per cent upside to the share price and it shoves up its target price by 30 pence to 215 pence accordingly.
The company is currently at the centre of an FSA investigation into claims it mis-sold its policies.
“Today’s interim management statement reinforces our opinion that United Utilities is in good shape, and it underpins the recent strong share price performance,” said the broker, which is a ‘buyer’.
With a ‘buy’ tag and 3,500 pence target, the broker says that the drug maker’s sales will pick up in the second half as manufacturing issues are resolved.
It adds that investors can take comfort in the fact there is now “reasonable visibility” on US Seroquel margins, an issue which UBS says has dogged the stock in recent years.
The investment bank’s 235 pence target price is slightly below the current market price of 239 pence, which has fallen 3 per cent.
Broker Daniel Stewart thinks gold is still number one despite the recent weakness in the price.
With this in mind, analyst Austin McKelvie says Costa Rica-based Ascot Mining (PLUS:ASMP) is undervalued and sees 226 per cent upside to the current market price of 6.5 pence with a target price of 21 pence.
“With production ramping up at the Chassoul Gold Mine, an operating CIL plant and a 15 year mine life, Ascot Mining offers investors superlative relative value to a peer group of Central American gold exploration companies,” said McKelvie.
The analyst is a ‘buyer’ of the company that owns 100 per cent of three full permitted gold mining concessions.
Australian gold company Bullabulling (LON:BGL) is another which is leading the field according to Westhouse Securities.
The broker reckons the quarterly report is a sign of the Perth-based company’s “rapid transformation” towards becoming a producer since the merger of Auzex and GGG.
It says that only half the known strike length has been drill tested and the San Jose vein could potentially reach 14 km in length.
“Assay results from surface drill holes (both infill and step-out drilling) and underground workings reveal a remarkable continuity in the extent, thickness and grade of mineralisation within the San Jose vein,” said analyst Charles Gibson.
Given the suspension of toll milling operations – discussions are underway to resolve a dispute with the mill owner – the broker is waiting to revise its valuation for the company.
Goldman Sachs thinks the iron ore price has sunk as far as it can go and suggests investors take another look at West African iron ore producers.
Panmure Gordon agrees, calling it a “high-risk high-return option on iron ore” – the risks being the ramp-up at Forecariah and Kalia.
“We believe that following a steep fall in the share price the upside sufficiently compensates for these risks,” analyst Alison Turner insisted.
“We think that the temporary delay of the disposal process makes a great deal of sense, given the positive impact that this is likely to have on the price ultimately achieved,” said the broker, which added that a sale is likely to be in the fourth quarter of this year.
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