easyJet: 'Desire for leisure travel continues to be important'

Published 8 days ago

easyJet (EZJ) shares have been under the cosh in recent weeks due to the rum mixture of consumer spending being under pressure and the inevitable Brexit uncertainty. I know the latter is a bit of a 'go to' for many corporate names, but for a company such as easyJet it actually matters if any new impediments occur to travel or restrictions on ownership. The latter has been a real hassle for the company because of a need to show majority control by European Union-centric investors in order to keep maximum corporate flexibility...

Land Securities like a lunatic loves London...

Published 11 days ago

There is much I could write about today including Greggs' (GRG) continued success with vegan sausage rolls (good), Vodafone (VOD) admitting it had to cut the dividend (bad) and yet another property sector shocker, this time from behemoth Land Securities (LAND)…

Step-Carefully-Stephen Helps Another Member of the Royal Family

Published 12 days ago

Hello, Share Smashers. Regret lasts a long time in Shareland and I still kick myself for sitting tight when RSA (RSA) was about to be taken over by Zurich four years ago. I should have sold before the deal (and the share price) crashed to the deck. Never mind, the share price has since been gradually recovering and I am still well into profit on paper...

Drink to Diageo as its Froths Higher into yet Another All-Time Record

Published 15 days ago

Hello, Share Callers. As most shares are falling now on Brexit fears, though I believe them to be groundless it might be the best idea to avoid buying most stocks in the expectation of getting them cheaper a little later on. And yet one company tends to do well when its fellow Footsie members step back...

Now the Big Deal's Off, What Will Happen to Your Sainsbury Shares?

Published 18 days ago

Hello, Share Triers. Sainsbury (SBRY) has been in the news lately. Unfortunately, that news was worthless in the end. The powers-that-be decided that food bills could rise if a merger went ahead with Asda. So all bets are off...

Lok 'n Store – playing property valuation madness and our own over-consumption

Published 26 days ago

Unless you are an accounting geek who gets excited about post-IFRS 16 updates from Tesco (TSCO), there was not much to excite in today's crop of larger cap names...which means my attention was drawn to the interim results from Lok 'n Store (LOK) – the strangely-named, 'fast growing...self-storage company'. The combination of a consumption society (aka having too much stuff) with pressure on the housing stock has led to the growth and growth of this sector...

As Big Insurers Ratchet Up Their Share Price, Direct Line May Succeed More than Most

Published 31 days ago

Direct Line Insurance (DLG) is a rather unusual company. It does not flog its policies on comparison websites. You would think this would reduce the size of premiums. But when I compared the cost of insuring my jalopy, admittedly some months ago, I found I got a few better offers from comparison sites...

The Legal Sharpens its Talons Towards Firms which Don't Meet its Standards

Published 38 days ago

Hello, Share Spookers. My old favourite Legal & General (LGEN) is making the news. It has a policy which could energise the share price. The company is taking action it hopes will curb global warming...

The Steel Comeback Might Turn Shares in this Giant into a Shiny Opportunity

Published 39 days ago

Hello Share Pilers. Do you fancy investing in a steel company? Ok, I sense some resistance here. In recent years the steel industry has suffered. But it’s making a comeback, mainly because many countries, including the USA and Blighty, are committed to building up their roads and other examples of infrastructure...

I still don't understand why GVC's CEO and Chair dumped so many shares...

Published 51 days ago

I wailed and gnashed my teeth over betting behemoth GVC (GVC) a month or so ago after the company's CEO and Chair dumped a bunch of shares just days after an excellent results publication...which they also loved up in print and voice at the time. Throw in the terse regulatory news statement and correctly the stock dumped afterwards and has not yet recovered. Moving aside from the satanic aspects of selling shares at 666p (and the CEO having 666,666 shares left!), today's trading update represents the start of a rebuilding phase for the company with UK market investors...

James Halstead – strange name, decent company

Published 58 days ago

I like a company whose name does not give too much away as it probably means that many investor and analyst types will overlook it. This means that in today's results crop James Halstead (JHD) stands out…

LPA Group – “work load for the second half and the medium term potentially very pleasing”, but…

Published 65 days ago

LED lighting and electro-mechanical systems group LPA (LPA) is a former tip, though one which was sold on the N50 website at 107p last summer as it noted “successive changes in Government procurement policy have impacted domestic supply chains for both new and refurbished trains and there is increased competition in our Asian markets”. The shares would later fall below 100p and closed yesterday at 103.5p before today an “AGM Trading Update”

Wood Group - why I'm chilled out despite today's share price fall

Published 68 days ago

Wood Group (WG.) is having a volatile day and is down over 7% as I write. The share is still however the thick end of ten percent above its low point for the year...which goes to show you the material natural level of fluctuations in the oil services space. Still, with the oil price heading north again year-to-date I would have expected more especially - as I last recounted HERE - Wood Group has plenty of self-help scope resulting from the Amec Foster Wheeler deal of a little over a year ago...

Yes, I Keep Discussing it, but the Legal has Landed Again on the Right Side of Share Progress

Published 86 days ago

Hello Share Masters. Today I return to an old favourite because its value continues to rise in the sea of our biggest companies, which is pretty choppy at the mo. But Legal & General (LGEN) continues to put on weight on an almost daily basis. The share has now put on a fifth of its December value - which is substantial progress for a jumbo stock...

Will The Black Horse Take Me Back into Profit? Still a Long Way to Go but it Just Might

Published 93 days ago

Hello Share Trouncers. Lloyds Bank (LLOY) is doing ok. So maybe I’ll eventually get back some of my heavy loss which harks back to the financial crash of 2008. Sadly, I’ll need a 30% hike in the share price to do that. But it has been known for Footsie giants to double in a year. OK, that’s unlikely with Lloyds, but still it looks on the right track...

Centrica's management are laughing after big regulator price cap fail

Published 111 days ago

I do not remember the various price caps employed by Ted Heath's government in the early 1970s...but the history books tell me all I need to know as to their impact which was a mega policy failure and contributed to the election of a Labour government (of course it also led to the monetarist/free market revolution that ultimately led to the rise of Mrs T). Price caps distort markets and give incorrect incentives, a point made multiple times over the last year by the management of Centrica (CNA), concerning the introduction of energy price caps by Ofgem following agreement by the government...

This Giant Pharma Has A Split in Mind Which Should Be Healthy for Shareholders

Published 118 days ago

Hello Share Trudgers. Though treading in my erudite colleague Chris Bailey’s shoes, I thought it might be useful to have another take on GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) This giant pharma is a big part of my ‘safer’ Footsie portfolio (I put safer in quotes as some of my biggest losses ever have been members of the big 100 club)...

Rotala – 2019 “begun in line” after 2018 “performed well”, remains a buy

Published 120 days ago

Rotala (ROL) has updated including “the group performed well in 2018” and “trading for the current year has begun in line with budget”

Why I Might Sell My Holding in My Favourite Store

Published 132 days ago

Hello, Share Followers. Though I’ve held my Morrison (MRW) shares since Adam took up gardening, I’m not sure I should continue my loyalty. For a long time, the shares have been going nowhere. I was up 10% at one stage, but I’m back in negative territory now. However, I do like the stores more than those of rivals Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsbury (SBRY)...

Still Believe in the Oil & Gas Game? Take a Look at this Big Provider to the Industry

Published 157 days ago

Petrofac (PFC) is a British giant I don't think I’ve touched on before. But maybe now is the time to bring this engineer and constructor which serves the oil and gas world, to your notice. For one thing, it has had new orders worth $5 billion this year. The order pipeline is bulging with $10 billion in total...

Do I need to make an apology to dividend muncher favourite GlaxoSmithKline?

Published 158 days ago

Much has been said or written about GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) during 2018 and my most recent contribution back in July suggested that a divisional split-up was a spoof. Well today's announcement that Glaxo has formed a joint venture vehicle with US pharma behemoth Pfizer for their respective consumer health arms (with ownership split 68%/32% in favour of Glaxo) appears at face value like a step in the right direction for under pressure CEO Emma Walmsley and team…

Seasonal embarrassment from SSE

Published 160 days ago

Just over a week until Christmas and no sign of an imminent end yet to sloppy RNS updates. The headlines are going to be taken by the profit woopsie from ASOS (ASC) after it too agreed with Mike Ashley's November retail omnishambles comments of a few days ago and pulled down its growth and margin hopes. Thematically, it is much more than a survivor due to its online focus but it goes to show that it’s not easy out there. Anyhow, for those of you tempted by Sunday's Next (NXT) related musings, the in-price available has got that bit naturally cuter... However it is Scottish & Southern (SSE) that I wanted to write about…

Flooring Is Boring but this 100-Year-Old Specialist Knows How to Make Profits Zing

Published 160 days ago

Hello Share Munchers. Nobody could accuse me of only featuring glamorous shares. And today’s choice shines in a field which is just about as boring as you can get. James Halstead (JHD) makes industrial floors. But it’s a reliable money-maker and a decent divi-payer. And in these difficult days, one appreciates companies which consistently bring in the sheaves...

Ashtead – good...but I feel I can do better

Published 166 days ago

A year ago I was a little early in saying it was time to sell/take profits in Ashtead (AHT) at the twenty quid level...but I can live with this given the good and nicely profitable bump in the share beforehand. Now the share price is just under the seventeen quid level and this has piqued my interest again because the rental of industrial goods is a growth business and Ashtead has a very decent market position in both the UK and especially the US...

This Famous Brand-Owner May Not Be Spurred by Christmas Spending, but Neither should its Shares Fall in January

Published 167 days ago

Hello, Share Rascals. For a change, let me steer away from my topical suggestions on which shares to buy and sell in the run-up to Christmas. Because there are still big companies which are not really affected by any Yule rush to buy. One of them is Unilever (ULVR).

Greene King May Activate Higher Profits Before Too Long, But It May Be Worth Selling Shares after the Christmas Booze-Up.

Published 174 days ago

Hello, Share Guzzlers. It’s usually encouraging when you find a company with a single digit PE as well as a juicy dividend. And Greene King (GNK) scores on both counts.  The PE ration I have is only about 8 and the dividendyield is a jolly 6.7%. But those happy numbers do not always auger a bouncy near future for the share price.  

Let's Drink to Diageo and the Strong Chance it Will Power up its Share Price in the Run Up to Xmas

Published 180 days ago

Hello Share Scratchers. At this merry time of year, I usually recommend Diageo (DGE) for your share list. The reason is obvious...

Bovis Builds Its Prospects Boosted by a Very Tasty Prospective Dividend

Published 187 days ago

Hello, Share diggers. There are niggles that house builders will be hobbled by Brexit. I can't see it myself. We need housing and homes are still in short supply. The Government has not said it will ease back on its generous incentives for builders when we leave the EU, so if the usual rules of supply and demand apply - and they’re always pretty powerful - then firms which build should, well, build their share prices while unemployment is low and interest rates are still modest...

Who Says Share-Shifting Doesn't Pay, as Dividends by British Companies Hit a Record Third Quarter High

Published 195 days ago

Hello, Share Chuckers. For months I’ve been saying that dividend chasing can be so worthwhile. And now comes the vindication. The year has just finished its third quarter. And it’s revealed that dividends paid in those three months have hit an all-time high by UK registered companies.

Imperial Brands - fade the moral outrage & buy

Published 200 days ago

Time for another write-up on Imperial Brands (IMB)...and no doubt time for a bunch of criticism in the comments about how this is an uninvestable sector. Well I do not smoke, would not want my children to smoke/use tobacco-based products but - in a modern world of information and regulation/taxation - I respect the right of adults to do so and I remain perfectly comfortable in investing in the sector. Otherwise, where do you draw the investing line? Alcohol? Defence? Gambling? Clothing names who directly or indirectly use child labour and lots of water? Energy and mining names due to their use of the world's assets? You get the gist...

BT should think about sacking its CEO more often...

Published 205 days ago

It is amazing what a 2% rise in revenues and some mumbling about a top end of range ebitda performance can do but - as I write - almost perma-dog BT Group (BT.A) shares are up over 6%. I should not be so cynical as I have liked the shares for a while as last expressed at length HERE. Today's update though feels like a corner has been turned. I say this for two reasons...

Not So Sure About this Marketing and Communications Giant as the Times They Are A-Changing

Published 208 days ago

Hello, Share Flashers. One of the biggest business turnarounds in recent years is how advertising is changing. Though many of us are irritated by the seemingly unstoppable surge of adverts on the telly, the truth is that more adverts are being swapped over to big techies, like Google and Facebook. So it’s not entirely surprising that WPP (WPP), the giant marketing, P.R. and advertising agency, has reported lower revenue for the third quarter of 2018.

WPP advertises a shocker! Worst fall since 1999...

Published 212 days ago

A couple of months ago I talked about advertising behemoth WPP (WPP) again noting that "in short, do not be tempted by WPP yet. The 'Sorrell lows' of c. 1100p are one place to have a think about it all but I would wait for the realities of the strategic update first". Too right...after today's update smacked the shares down over 15% at the time of writing - and even earlier today it fell the most on an individual day since 1999. Put that on your advertising billboards!

BP - a buy for income

Published 214 days ago

Shares in BP (BP.) approached 600p as summer dawned and again earlier this month. They’ve been hit in the recent sell-off though, despite - already offering a hefty dividend - the second quarter results having emphasised “momentum and the strength of our financial frame… we are increasing our dividend for the first time in almost four years. This reflects not just our commitment to growing distributions to shareholders but our confidence in the future”

Anglo Asian Mining - a golden buy?

Published 215 days ago

Shares in Anglo Asian Mining (AAZ) had recently risen materially, to approaching 75p. They then though slipped back – but recent news looked to have justified the earlier move and more and with gold now starting to motor thanks to stockmarket and bond market jitters...

The Saga Saga Continues as the Big Insurer Takes Steps to Bump Up Profits

Published 227 days ago

Hello, Share Squeakers. October is a fraught month for me. That’s because I spend too much effort trying to get better insurance deals for my home and car. The trouble is that comparison sites nearly always fail me because my house is rather unusual and sits by the sea. They can’t seem to grasp that because we are on top of a lofty cliff, we can never flood. Any road up, I know from my perambulations around the net that competition among insurers and their brokers is horrendous. And that’s what seems to be troubling Saga (SAGA) just now.

Greggs - it is all about winning 'Best Vegan Sandwich'!

Published 228 days ago

The world has turned upside down. Today's trading update from Greggs (GRG) contains the observation that: 'As testament to the increased breadth of our product range, we were recognised at PETA's 2018 Vegan Food Awards and were awarded the 'Best Vegan Sandwich' for our Mexican Bean Wrap'. I know the steak bake fraternity must be revolving in their early graves but I kind of see this as the high point of the turnaround plan at the core of the Greggs story for the last (just under) six years.

Why Card Factory Doesn't Get My First Class Stamp of Approval

Published 234 days ago

Hello, Share Turners. Though sending cards is a necessary ritual of life, I have my doubts about investing in firms which make or sell them - or do both. Technology and high postal charges are a growing problem. And younger people look more to Facebook and the like to confer their birthday and other greetings.

Saga - cruising to a higher share price?

Published 240 days ago

Since I first talked about the stock, Saga (SAGA) shares have been in a very tight range. I have picked up some decent income (the stock yields just over 7%) but - as I am not yet a fully paid-up member of Dividend Munchers United - that does not overly excite me…

Are BP Shares Worth a Lot More? I'm Not the Only One Who Thinks So

Published 240 days ago

Hello, Share Tasters. It’s rather amazing how people can hold grudges against companies which, somewhere in the mists of time, let them down. And yet we should always be mindful that the story changes all the time. And big losers in the past are often today’s brightest prospects.

Why Hastings is an insurance Company Battling its Way to the Top

Published 254 days ago

Hello, Share Jumpers. Years ago, before useful comparison websites, I used to spend hours getting quotes for my car and house insurance. One outfit that was always among the cheapest was a new firm called Hastings (HSTG). It also seemed to be breaking away from the stuffy appearance of insurance firms in those days.

Dunelm - the frilly curtains bounceback continues

Published 255 days ago

It is not new news that the retail backdrop is challenging but the last time I mentioned homewares and related company Dunelm (DNLM) I confirmed that despite my continued inability to buy anything from one of its emporiums, I was loving the shares up.

This Niche Company Does the Appliance of Science and Could Be Worth a Look

Published 256 days ago

Hello Share Chunkers. Sometimes it pays to look at companies which seem to do what few other outfits provide. In other words, a niche company. There’s a perception that niche firms need to be small. But that’s not so with today’s choice for your further consideration.

Tom's Wrong on House Builders - and Barratt's Latest Star Numbers Should Continue to Shine

Published 257 days ago

Hello, Share Turners. Time was when comedians told jokes about Barratt houses. No longer. There is perky customer satisfaction. And though I have my detractors on this stupendous website, I still think Barratt Developments (BDEV) continues to go places fast. And so I fancy will the share price.

WPP - time to advertise a kitchen-sinking

Published 263 days ago

It is nearly six months since I last mused about the advertising behemoth WPP (WPP) HERE and it has not got any easier, even if its legendary founder Martin Sorrell did the decent thing and exited stage left...eventually. More on the great advertising man in a minute, but we all know that the key with this space (as with most sectors) is to underpromise and overdeliver. That in a nutshell is the challenge for the company's new CEO Mark Read, a company insider tasked with taking over the advertising company that Martin built…

Getting Bigger and Better, this Pensions Giant Promises a Juicy Dividend

Published 267 days ago

Hello, Share Sifters. One of my all-time Footsie favourites, Legal & General (LGEN) is growing even bigger. And so I rather fancy will the share price. Ok, in the first six months of this year, underlying operating profit did not improve by much - 5% to £909 million - but that was partly due to pumping more dosh into digital technology which will serve the company well in the future.

Headlam - quiet day shocker as I talk about a small cap

Published 276 days ago

With a relative dearth of larger cap news out today I turn my attention to Headlam (HEAD), which is apparently 'Europe's largest distributor of floorcoverings, providing the distribution link between suppliers and customers across the UK and Continental Europe'.

Royal Mail gets time to buy?

Published 284 days ago

Who would have thought a stodgy stock like Royal Mail (RMG) would be such a trading counter? Over the last year alone it has moved between a sub four quid share price and pushing 630p a share...and when I look back over the last year it has been one of my top active selection larger cap names. I have not owned the name for a few months now but it has come back on my radar today as its regulator Ofcom has just slapped it with a £50 million fine.

Should my bromance with Randgold Resources continue?

Published 289 days ago

You always have to watch your biases in the world of investment. There are some shares or sectors that for personal, historical or other exogenous/endogenous reasons you just love or hate. Regular readers will know that Randgold Resources (RRS) has been one of my structural favourites for many a long year, with the stock one of my largest (and most successful) holdings during the final part of my institutional fund management career, contributing to outperformance and the like.

Friday I'm in love (with a higher BT Group share price)

Published 302 days ago

It has been a busy, busy week and sad sacks like me are going to be bent over a hot laptop during the weekend catching up with the multitude of earnings numbers published by corporate names around the world this week. Turning to London-based results specifically, some good news within the UK market today for the old stalwart BT Group (BT.A).

Time to take some profits after a chavtastic run in Burberry shares

Published 318 days ago

Back in January, I talked positively about Burberry (BRBY) shares and since then they have pushed up very nicely. Today's stock market is one where you have to be prepared to take a few profits too and that is my call today with the sort-of luxury goods name after reading through its first quarter trading update.

Time to Build Your Share Pile in Bovis? The Happy House-Maker Seems to Be Improving Fast

Published 320 days ago

Hello, Share Finders. Housebuilders attract a few warning signs on this splendid website. But there are still some strong signals to keep buying. The most important, perhaps, is the all-important demand versus supply issue. And though house prices are flat or falling, depending where you live, the shortage of affordable homes gets no better.

Greene King - come on Ing-ger-land!

Published 332 days ago

The numbers from Greene King (GNK) today are pint glass half empty or half full as per your inclination. The good news is that the attractive 5%+ dividend yield is held and covered by cashflow generation. Additionally those wonderful attributes for a pub group - sunny weather and a World Cup - have helped out. As the company notes itself: 'positive momentum has continued into the new financial year, aided by good weather and popular sporting events'.

Ashtead Has Tooled Up Big Money for Many of Us, But Can it Continue?

Published 335 days ago

Hello Share Smashers. If I haven't covered Ashtead (AHT) for some time, it's because I sold the shares. And yet I wished I'd waited a bit longer.

Saga Battles On, but I Worry about Possibly Fading Loyalty and Stiff Competition

Published 338 days ago

You know the old updating of Shakespeare's seven ages of man speech. Well, the modern version is just four ages - lager, aga, Saga and ga-ga. Saga (SAGA) being a company which provides services for the getting-on-in-years tribe. This tribe is more numerous than it used to be - and becoming even more plentiful.

Dixons Carphone & Saga - double buy update

Published 339 days ago

You could have made a bit of money off my January reiteration that Dixons Carphone (DC.) was too cheap. The shares have pulled back from a slightly frothy 240p and are now trading just below the 200p level which is really building into a big resistance/support level. Today's numbers complicate matters a little more, with a second attempt by the new CEO to ensure he is starting the job at a suitably depressed profits outlook level by pulling down hopes for the next twelve months to just £300 million pre-tax profit versus not far shy of £400 million in the year just completed and over £500 million for the year before that.

Norcros – full-year results emphasise “excellent progress”, still a buy

Published 341 days ago

Bathroom and kitchen products company Norcros (NXR) has announced results for its year ended 31st March 2018, emphasising “excellent progress towards our strategic objectives” and that “the board remains confident that the group should continue to make further progress for the year ending 31 March 2019”

Battered BT Still Rings Up Big Yield as the Share Price Slowly Recovers

Published 355 days ago

Hello, Share Pingers. One of my most interesting shares at the moment is BT Group (BT.A). Like my learned colleague Nigel Somerville, I am stuck with a lot of its shares - which have done badly of late. The double whammy for me though is that they are now less than 210p, a few years ago I was gloating over a price of 500p. Which was nearly my original stake. And now I am out of profit.

Tate and smile!

Published 366 days ago

First a quick shout out to subscriber SoupChicken for their gracious comments on Tate & Lyle (TATE) earlier in the comment section of another story. Latest numbers from the sugars and ingredients company crystalised(!) many of the hopes I put out in my February update, which you can read HERE. As I noted back then '...for punters the 550s is one level to write down' and boy did that work from the sentiment lows in late March with the shares now breaking 650p. So that's great...but what now I hear you ask?

Animal Instinct Tells Me this Big Player in a Growing Market May Soon Make Tracks

Published 367 days ago

Hello, Share Scramblers. It seems to me that more people are adopting cats and dogs. There’s also more interest in more exotic pets. At my vet this week, I spotted a hen and something in a sinister box which the owner seemed afraid of. People are also taking more care of their pets, as many become a substitute for offspring who’ve fled the nest.

TClarke – AGM update, how’s the speculative buy faring?

Published 372 days ago

I previously wrote on building services company TClarke (CTO) in January last year with the shares at just over 70p – concluding the value and income on offer might see the brave consider a speculative buy. The shares are currently approaching 4% higher today, at 84p, on the back of an AGM update..

Nightingales Keep Singing in Berkeley Shares

Published 377 days ago

Hello, Share Smashers. With the price of homes retreating, you might be tempted to stay away from house builders. But one company I think might continue to do well is Berkeley Group (BKG). I’ve covered this sprightly builder a few times over the last year or so and the trend has always been up. Other builders have struggled, but not this one.

A Lacklustre Trading Statment, but RSA Still Shows Signs of Royal Share success

Published 380 days ago

Hello Share Crimpers. My favourite insurance giant is Legal and General (LGEN). But the old Royal Insurance, now called RSA (RSA) is still in my bag. And it’s doing rather nicely, if not brilliantly. In share price terms, at least.

4imprint – trading “above the board's expectations”… but does that mean value?

Published 383 days ago

Previously writing on promotional products direct marketing group 4imprint (FOUR), I concluded in November with the shares at 1900p that the potential reward compared to the risks suggested it sensible to be bearish. The shares slid below 1570p last month, but are currently back above 1800p following an AGM Statement

Safestyle UK – 2017 results, mighty dividend yield an attraction - or a warning?

Published 429 days ago

Its shares having fallen from more than 300p less than 9 months ago to 90p, Safestyle UK (SFE), “the leading UK-focused retailer and manufacturer of PVCu replacement windows and doors for the homeowner market”, has announced 2017 calendar year results…

Stale sandwiches at Greencore?

Published 439 days ago

Hands up, judging by the share price reaction in Greencore (GNC) shares today after its trading update my optimism (last discussed here) about the prospects for the UK's leading sandwich provider and particularly its US-led expansion was overdone. But as one of my early career investment mentors once noted 'what happens, happens. What matters is how you react'. So what to think about today's newly 'improved' share price?

As US Stocks Rally, There's Possibly Still Time to Buy British Shares on the Cheap

Published 463 days ago

Hello, Share Piggies. So I was correct, for a change. The big one-day 1100 point drop in the Dow has almost been mopped up by steadily improving US share prices. It’s nearly always the same down-and-up pattern. Unless we get a real share crash, which this wasn’t.

Viva Aviva, as It's Always Nice to Have a £3 billion Cash Surplus to Fall Back on

Published 464 days ago

Hello Share Swirlers. You may already know that I’m a supporter of big insurance groups. My Legal & General (LGEN) investment has risen by 210%, though it's taken five years or so to achieve it. My RSA investment has not been so successful, but it’s still a better performer than most in my bag.

Tate and smile?

Published 471 days ago

A Thursday in the middle of both a general corporate earnings disclosure frenzy and a market rout always throws up a few questionable share price reactions. I am wondering if one of these was the reaction by Tate & Lyle (TATE) shares which have fallen from 650p to around 600p at the time of writing.

More Reasons to Avoid Morrisons and other British Supermarkets

Published 501 days ago

Hello, Share Stackers. Of the four big British supermarkets, I have the most hope for my holding in Morrison (MRW). This is not saying much, as I think they all suffer in comparison to the cheaper prices offered by the Germans. Aldi and Lidl still attract my custom more than Tesco (TSCO) and Sainsbury (SBRY). And I know I’m not the only one. But Morrison reports a bouncy Christmas.

Consider Giving Galliford a Try, as it Seems Unfairly Unloved and Good Value

Published 514 days ago

Hello, Share Swingers. It’s been a while since I’ve commended the unusually-named housebuilder Galliford Try. (GFRD) And since then, the share has not performed as well as most of the rest of my stable.

Is it all Behind the Four Big British Banks - and which Is the Best One to Back?

Published 541 days ago

Hello, Share Miners. The four big British banks are still avoided like rattlesnakes by many share shifters. But there will come a time when everybody finally forgets what happened in 2008 - and most of the other banking shocks, since.


Start your Santa Rally Attack with Festive Favourite Diageo

Published 557 days ago

Hello, Share Pagers. The Santa Rally is often slow to gather pace. And so there’s still chance to take an early advantage. One of the most favoured shares at Yuletide is Diageo (DGE). There’s a surprise!

Prime People – half-year results, expects some second half improvements BUT…

Published 562 days ago

I updated cautiously on Prime People (PRP) last month HERE and the specialist recruitment group has today announced results for its half year ended 30th September 2017…

Imperial Brands - I don't use the products but hello cash machine

Published 564 days ago

The last time I wrote about Imperial Brands (IMB) HERE, there were a few overly excitable comments made. As noted last time, I have never smoked but have no moral hang-up to investing in the sector. If you do...then I guess you have stopped reading or I look forward to your comments. Anyhow, since my original piece the stock is slightly down but only by a percent or two and full year preliminary numbers highlight an improving second half of the year showing a touch of revenue and EPS growth.

Hammerson's Share Price Could Benefit as We Still Shop Till We Drop

Published 564 days ago

Hello, Share Throwers. They tell me that shopping centres are not in favour as much as they used to be. Perhaps it’s because we’re beginning to adopt the irritating American habit of calling them malls. But it’s more likely to be the advance of internet selling. However, the public will never abandon the strong British pastime of real shopping. And so I believe the present level of popularity will hold fast and may even improve. And it will if we ever, as a society, find ourselves with more leisure time. Technology hasn’t done the trick so far, but it might do.

Polly Put the KETL on as Strix steams into the Tea and Coffee World

Published 569 days ago

Hello Share Plungers. Why not make yourself a cuppa as we take a gander at Strix Group (KETL)? The clue is in the epic code. The firm may well have a link with the kettle you’ll use for your brew. When your kettle switches off as it reaches the right temperature, you may want to thank Strix.

This Footsie Giant May Be Too Big for a Takeover, but the Mounting Share Price and Big Divi are Well Worth a Look

Published 599 days ago

Hello Share Eaters. As I write, the share I recommend you look at today is nudging towards its all-time high price. Will it now run out of steam? Not if most of the signs are anything to go by. And meanwhile, there is a vast divi, paid four times a year.

Here's One of the Best Footsie Giants to Invest In, in my Humble View

Published 600 days ago

Hello Share Scribblers. You don’t need me to tell you that the world is becoming a more volatile place - including geopolitics, but also in the likes of weather and fire hazards, as in the case of Grenfell Tower.

It's Steady as She Goes for United Utilities, Probably as Reliable a Share as You Get in Crazyland

Published 606 days ago

Hello, Share Poolers. We all have shares which are so steady, but lacking in big leaps forward, that we tend to leave them to it. We rarely bother to check on progress, because we know we won’t get a cheap thrill. Such a company in my bag is United Utilities (UU.). The name has become a bit out of date because where it once combined water with electricity services and telecommunications, it now concentrates on the water.

Persevere with Persimmon, People and You may Perceive your Share Price Build

Published 629 days ago

Hello, Share Twisters. Two months ago I commended the big builder Persimmon (PSN) to your attention. The share price then was about 2220p. As I write, it’s 2636p. But there is further to rise, I fancy.

Does WPP stand for 'What Profit Progression'?

Published 641 days ago

Too many years ago to remember as a fledgling analyst and junior portfolio manager, I was told by an old hand that 'WPP is the company with the greatest correlation to the FTSE-100'. I have no idea - nor the boring Excel skills - to say whether this is true but the notion that the world's largest advertising company should broadly share the same ups and downs as the very international main UK market index makes quite a bit of sense.

Gattaca – argues “broadly in-line” – though forecasts were cut as recently as April…

Published 660 days ago

Having previously written on engineering and technology recruitment company Gattaca (GATC) in April - half-year results, General Election the next ‘uncertainty’?, the company has now updated on trading for its year ended 31st July 2017…

Walker Greenbank – “pleased to announce” half-year trading update, are the shares a buy?

Published 661 days ago

Luxury interior furnishings company Walker Greenbank (WGB) “is pleased to announce its pre-close trading update for the six months ended 31 July 2017” - with this commencing with that brand sales “were up 35.6% in reportable currency compared with the same period last year”. Sounds good, so why are the shares currently sliding back slightly?...

Energy Caps Will Only Make Things Worse for Centrica

Published 744 days ago

Hello Share Squishers. It seems fairly obvious that gas and electricity supply companies may well see slimmer share prices after all this general election talk about capping energy bills. But so far, the market has not cropped shares by very much.

Next - profit warning ahoy #2

Published 752 days ago

The seasons may have evolved a little but the message from FTSE-100 clothing behemoth Next (NXT) is basically unchanged. Life is still tough in a market where, in its words, ‘the UK consumer environment remains challenging’...

Want an Easy Way to Invest in Emerging Markets? Take a Look at CLIG

Published 783 days ago

Hello Share Swiggers. As I write this, the share I love is once again putting on more value. However, City of London Investment Group (CLIG) can sometimes be in the opposite camp.

Card Factory – “as convinced as ever of the strong growth prospects”, but recent performance “lower than our normal levels”. Hmmm…

Published 1017 days ago

A trading update for the six months ended 31st July 2016 from Card Factory (CARD) notes “we remain as convinced as ever of the strong growth prospects for the business”, though describes a trading performance “lower than our normal levels”. Hmmm...

Sky Shares Head Skywards Again As the Telly Army Shows No Sign of Doing Something Else.

Published 1178 days ago

Hello Share Polishers. Despite the fact that we should have all got fed up with it over the last 60 years, the time we waste watching the one-eyed monster in the corner ( a staggering 4 hours daily in the UK)  is a sad indictment on the human race. It saves doing any work you see. You don’t even have to read anything.

Negative reaction to GKN results is a good buying opportunity!

Published 1186 days ago

GKN PLC (GKN) took a hit this week when its final results didn’t quite meet market expectations and sparked a sell-off.

That Sassy Selfie Set-Up Still Presents a Perky Picture.

Published 1396 days ago

Hello Share  Swappers. There is a stagnant feel to the markets this happy July. Nothing seems to be moving very much, held back by the traders' summer hols, China and, to a lessening extent, Greece. But there are always some bunnies which are still running north. And if a share is sailing ahead, even in these stormy days, then it must have a lot going for it. One such perky stock is Photome (PHTM) the company which runs those little boxes that take selfies in railway and bus stations etc.

Is Centrica the new Tesco’s?

Published 1556 days ago

It is always worth taking a look when there is a big fall in a well-owned FTSE-100 stock.  Today’s performance dog is Centrica (CNA) which probably supplies many of you via its British Gas brand with gas and electricity and which has blamed a combination of energy price moves, the weather and utility market competition for a 30% fall in earnings per share in 2014…and most strikingly a 30% fall in the dividend it is going to pay. 

Centrica at 269p – sell

Published 1585 days ago

The recent downtrend in Centrica (CNA) shares (269p last seen) has found some resistance. They have bounced off a low 258p level where they were, on last year's dividend payout of 17p, on an historic dividend yield of 6.5%. Was the market assuming that a dividend cut was discounted or that the share was horribly oversold because there might be no dividend cut? 

Marks & Spencer– after the Christmas period, where now?

Published 1599 days ago

When I had a look at the prospects for Marks & Spencer (MKS) last July - when the shares were trading at around 423p - I came to the conclusion that its shares could move well ahead, citing my subjective estimate of a possible potential extra one pound a share.

Standard Chartered Bank at 963p: awaiting recovery with an appreciating dollar.

Published 1604 days ago

2014 was a disappointing year for Standard and Chartered (STAN) the long established, deep rooted South East Asian and African banking group. The conditions for commercial and profitable recovery did not materialize in the first half to 30 June 2014 and there were several episodes of downgrading of expectations by the management which had self-evidently not been reflected in previous market consensus profit estimates. 

Robert Sutherland Smith’s share tips of the year 2015 No 2 – Buy Rolls Royce

Published 1607 days ago

My second choice for the traditional Christmas share consideration and selection game has the following merits. It is a share that has performed well over the long term but having underperformed the market this year. It looks attractive on a technical interpretation of the share price chart and is well supported by fundamentals on low estimated measures of value. It is of course, Rolls Royce (RR.) which I last visited in October when the shares were 800p and looking, I thought, particularly bombed out. 

Cash in on a Company which Brings Power to the People.

Published 1608 days ago

Hello Share Twiddlers. When I first bought into United Utilities (UU.) energy and water prices were uncontrolled and rising. Therefore, this electricity and water supplier for the North West of England seemed to be a double golden egg – it was making a profits and, being an arch-defensive share, seemed fairly safe.

Greggs plc – trading performance “materially ahead”, but already in the share price?

Published 1692 days ago

Shares in Greggs plc (GRG) are currently approaching 600p on the back of an update that operational improvement initiatives, lower costs and more favourable trading conditions than were expected mean “we now anticipate full year profits to be materially ahead of our previous expectation”. Is this already reflected in the share price or not?

BP 457p; the law's delay - to say nothing of the insolence of office.

Published 1723 days ago

The more than 5% drop in the share price yesterday of BP (BP) was clear proof that the market was not expecting a US district judge to come to the conclusion that the company had been “grossly negligent” in the Gulf of Mexico. Falling into the hands of the US judicial system, so far as BP is concerned at any rate, has the fantastic aspect that Lewis Carroll brought to Alice in the court of the Red Queen. Can it be real!

Dillistone Group – shares rise on new product announcement, a buy?

Published 1727 days ago

Having noted in its results earlier this year that “our development team has continued to develop the FileFinder product, and has delivered performance and functionality improvements since launch. The division expects to make an important product related announcement later this year”, shares in recruitment software group Dillistone (DSG) are currently approaching 3% higher, at 105.5p. This is on the back of the new product announcement. I provide an update in the following.

Hydrogen Group – seemingly good value, but is it actually?

Published 1732 days ago

I previously wrote on specialist recruiter Hydrogen Group (HYDG) in January – concluding that, with the shares at 108p, the prospective rating looked reasonable but that the cautious would await further clarity (see HERE). The shares remained above 100p until a May AGM update which included that “in some areas we have observed a delay in conversion to completed placements and we are yet to see an across-the-board uplift in Net Fee Income. It is therefore still too early to say with certainty when the different practices and regions will see sustained acceleration”. Ahead of the 16th September-scheduled interim results, I take another look at this stock following a further update on trading last month and with the shares currently at 80.5p.

WPP at 1245p; an excellent play on Sterling weakness

Published 1733 days ago

WPP interim results are a classic example of what the strong pound has been doing to British overseas earners. Thank God the minority of two on the Bank of England rate setting Monetary Committee did not persuade the rest to raise interest rates when the Committee met recently. Life is tough enough for companies such as WPP (WPP); most of its top line revenue comes from overseas. In the six months to June 30 this was reported up 2.7%. However, if it were not for the painfully strong Sterling exchange rate, revenue, we are told would, have risen a staggering 11.3%.

Try Impellam 1-2-3. The Jobs Train Is On the Move Again.

Published 1737 days ago

Hello Share Shunters: Let me see if I can interest you in a firm called Impellam Group (IPEL). They are in the job recruitment game. This was not a booming business in the long, dark period after the Credit Crunch. With no jobs going how could you make a crust when nobody was taking on anybody? But things are better now, with many more spare jobs, even if many of them are not paying quite as well as they used to.

Inmarsat Is No Waste of Space.

Published 1765 days ago

Hello Share Mashers: Inmarsat (ISAT) is a great British space-age techno company – but not as we know it, Jim. You may recall lots in the news about Inmarsat earlier this year. They were the ones who were looking for bits of wrecked plane in that big missing aircraft tragedy.

RTZ; still good value at 3,336p

Published 1767 days ago

As a generalist watcher of shares and their performance, I am often intimidated by the intimate and esoteric knowledge of experts; particularly in the mining sector. They seem to understand, or at least explain, every nook cranny of company performance in exquisite technology speak. However, as always in life, particularly in share spotting - that very unpredictable business - there are alternatives. My own approach as a generalist contrarian, with an eye on the fundamentals, as well as the technical analysis, is the combination of pedestrian observation and hopefully common sense evaluation; that has certainly been a helpful approach in the case of RTZ (RI0).

British American Tobacco at 3500p: clock the dividend yield but check the balance sheet.

Published 1768 days ago

It was culling through the morning paper, with a fortifying cup of strong coffee in hand, when I came across a report that R.J.Reynolds the US tobacco company was being sued for $23.6 billion - or £13.8 billion in the real currency of George Osborne’s Britannia. I took a slow long sip of the coffee and read on. It told me little definitive but did reveal yet again the extraordinary freewheeling of the US justice system in which is hard to relate to the way things are done in here. If this sum related to British American Tobacco (BATS) in the UK and not to R.J.Reynolds, the shares at today’s price would be selling on a multiple of 4.7 times that claim. Or to put it another way – a way that tells you something useful - the claim represents at today’s British American share price of 3500p, one fifth of British American’s current market equity capitalization.; or looking at it from another perspective, half the Group’s total assets.

Aviva at 490p: Not cutting cost enough and not yielding enough, further downside likely

Published 1776 days ago

Aviva (AV.) is 8.6% or so down from its high point of 536p last May. Some in the market have been slightly underwhelmed by the recovery plan thinking that more cost cutting needs to be done; that is to say, doing the right things but not to a great enough extent.

Marks and Spencer at 420p: looking at the first quarter’s results.

Published 1780 days ago

In the last year to 29 March 2014 we were told that the first fruits of restructuring and reforming Marks and Spencer (MKS) were starting to appear. The company had just started up its own new digital buying web site rather than relying on sales through Amazon and the important women’s’ ware had been revamped by someone with the credentials to do a good job. The first quarter’s results were thus looked forward to with the anticipation that horticulturalists have each spring. Were the green shoots appearing?

IMI: expect more downside, before considering buying

Published 1787 days ago

IMI (IMI) is that rare and wonderful thing a British Engineering company. In modern parlance it provides “solution” for control of fluids. The country used to have hundreds of such companies. I note that its down 7% ; not a lot but enough to be of interest; particularly since it appears to have bounced of what looks like an upward sloping trend support line.

You’ve Let Me Down Too Often, BG.

Published 1788 days ago

Hello Share Shakers: My biggest holding by far is BG (BG.) It is counted as an oiler, but its biggest seller is natural gas. I hold far too many of these blighters for comfort. They are risky.

Vodafone at 194p: a very unpopular share. Excellent!

Published 1797 days ago

The Vodafone (VOD) share price has been heading south in recent times; like a lemming heading for a cliff edge. Looking at the chart there seems little to stop it plunging further. Is it telling us something above and beyond what the market seems to expect? Probably not! The Markit short selling market activity coverage has it on a “low” rating. But it is a veritable “falling knife” that investors - according to timeless market tradition - should never grasp. To quote the great Horace Rumpole, Heaven forefend that one should disobey that timeless rule! But nevertheless, there are good rational reasons saying that one should. 

Sainsbury at 337p; still good value in a sea of competition

Published 1808 days ago

Last month, I gave my reasons why I thought Sainsbury’s equity was attractive at the then share price of 340p. I described the company as “impressive fundamental value in a sea of intense competition”. In essence, that was based on an estimated prospective dividend yield of 4.8%, backed by a strong balance sheet net asset value of an estimated 317p a share. The share price continued a slide down to about 326p before bouncing; last seen, Sainsbury shares were back up to 337p almost back to where we came in about a month ago. 

Drax shares have just bounced off a trend support line and look attractive at 632p.

Published 1810 days ago

It looks as if the share price of Drax (DRX) - one of our big electrical energy power suppliers - has reached its three year trend support line. Indeed bounced off it just above 600p.  The share price, having had its little bounce, is now 632p last seen. What fundamental grounds exist to support belief in that technical position?

Royal Mail at 526p: money in the post.

Published 1827 days ago

I didn’t comment on Royal Mail (RMG) on flotation because there was plenty of coverage. Now we have had a moment’s hesitation after the first annual results, I have had a look.The shares are not attractive on the basis of the valuation of these first annual results; with a PER of 21.4 and an annual dividend yield of 2.4%. 

Tesco: "Don't panic Captain Mainwaring!!"

Published 2228 days ago

Stock markets are bewildering places. The day after Tesco (TSCO) posted appalling results for the year to 23 February 2013, its share price goes up?


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