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EU finance ministers focus on growth in summit

Breakfast today Visit www.hbmarkets.com
Newsletter Update Friday, 2nd March 2012

 

FTSE-100


Graph - 020312


Source: Bloomberg

FTSE-100 statistics


Yesterday: +1.0%
Latest: 5,931.3
High: 5,936.1
Low: 5,858.9
Top three: Man Group +12.7%Hargreaves Lans. +4.5%ESSAR ENERGY +4.3%
Bottom three: Kazakhmys -4.2%Weir Group -3.6%Polymet -2.2%

Source: Bloomberg

Analysts


Donald Linderyd(t) +44 (0) 207 382 8421(e) donald.linderyd@hbmarkets.com

 

Quick Links:
- Login to your HB Markets Portfolio- Open an Advisory Dealing account- Find out more about Advisory ISAs- More information on CFD trading- Read our latest Company Research
The markets

Market opening:
Markets could open higher building on yesterday’s gains as ECB’s fresh money helps in stabilising investor morale. The FTSE futures were trading 7.5 points higher at 7:00 am.

New York:
Markets closed higher, but were off the day’s high. Stocks traded higher for most part of the day, but the rally was interrupted by rumours about an explosion in a major Saudi oil pipeline. The S&P 500 eventually closed 0.6% higher.

Asia: Sentiment seems to have improved after ECB’s cash injection allayed uncertainty about the Greek debt crisis and positive US jobs data raised hopes of a firming US recovery. The Nikkei closed 0.7% higher, while the Hang Seng was trading up 0.9% at 7:00 am UK time.

Continental Europe: Markets witnessed a sharp rally; the German DAX and the French CAC rose 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively, after positive US weekly jobs data.

UK small caps: The FTSE AIM All-Share index closed 0.3% higher yesterday. To read our latest small cap research, click here.

Today’s
breakfast menu:

- HB Markets on Chemring – Hold; WPP – BUY; Kazakhmys – Hold; Interserve – BUY; Man Group – Hold, and Stagecoach

- UK PMI; UK Nationwide house prices; Eurozone inflation; US ISM manufacturing; Eurozone PMI; Eurozone unemployment and US personal income

Today’s news
EU finance ministers focus on growth in summit
EU finance ministers debated about the right balance between government spending cuts and implementing pro-growth measures in the first summit (after two years) that was not clouded by the debt crisis talks. Greece’s second bailout received a provisional approval. Today, 25 of the 27 EU members would sign the fiscal compact to amend their respective constitutions to implement stricter budgetary norms.

 

Global slowdown risks easing – IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) opined in a report that recent Eurozone policy measures have partially mitigated risks of a sharp global economic slowdown, but warned downside risks persist. Also, the IMF has asked Eurozone policymakers to expand their rescue fund’s capacity by US$500bn.

 

Company news

UK companies reporting today

Mkt. Cap. (£)

Ticker

Sector

Period

Expected
sales (£)

Expected
pre-tax (£)

Bwin Party Digital

1.4bn

BPTY LN

Gambling

FY 2011

671.7m

110.3m

Rentokil Initial

1.4bn

RTO LN

Services

FY 2011

2.5bn

186.2m

BBA Aviation

998.3m

BBA LN

Transport

FY 2011

1.3bn

108.2m

Laird

445.7m

LRD LN

Technology

FY 2011

577.4m

50.0m

IMI

3.1bn

IMI LN

Basic mats

FY 2011

2.1bn

342.5m

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Standard & Poor’s EMS Marketscope, Consensus forecasts

Chemring (CHG LN, 418.6p) – Hold
Chemring released an interim statement for Q1 2012. Revenue was flat y-o-y at £137m, in line with management expectations. Revenue at the countermeasures division and the munitions division grew 17% y-o-y and 56% y-o-y, respectively. The counter-IED (improvised explosive device) and the pyrotechnics businesses however, saw revenue shrink 37% and 16% respectively. The order book stood at £997m, 9% higher than the previous year. Consequently, 72% of the targeted revenue for 2012 has been secured. The company won a two-year €38m contract from the British Army; deliveries for this contract are expected to commence in Q2 2012.

Our view: The company won a €38m contract from the British Army in January and is in the final stages of negotiation for a contract from the US Department of Defense for the maintenance of the 240 Husky Mounted Detection Systems (HMDS) currently in service. The negotiations are expected to conclude in April 2012. In the light of these contract wins, we upgrade the stock to Hold.

WPP (WPP LN, 827.5p) – BUY
WPP reported a 38.3% surge in dividend to 24.6p per share as pre-tax profit rose 18.5% to £1.0bn. The company’s full-year results released yesterday showed revenues increased 8.4% to £10.0m. Revenue grew 5.3% on a like-for-like basis. Underlying operating margin reached 14.2% from 13.2%, touching pre-Lehman highs. The management said that the company outperformed on “virtually whatever measure you care to name”. Growth was particularly strong in Asia and Latin America. Functionally, advertising and marketing services grew the strongest. The company bought about 30 companies in 2011 and has completed 10 deals so far this year. The management remained positive about the outlook for 2012 as growth in Asia, Latin America, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe continues. They hope to benefit from the increased corporate advertising and marketing spends during the UEFA Football Championship, the London Olympics, and the US Presidential election during 2012. They target like-for-like revenue and gross margin growth of about 4% and aim to improve operating margin by 0.5%. However, 2013 could be a difficult year with no major global event scheduled for the year.

Our view: 2012 has major global events lined up, which are expected to boost spending on advertising. The company expects a US$3bn-US$4bn boost from the US presidential election alone. The recent acquisitions should help the company scale up its operations in response to the increased demand for its services during 2012. As the world’s largest advertising and marketing firm, we expect the company to exceed its target and maintain our buy rating.

Kazakhmys (KAZ LN, 1,062p) – Hold
Kazakhmys released a trading update for FY2011 to 31st December 2011 yesterday. The results do not include contribution from its 26% stake in Eurasian Natural Resources. Revenue rose 10.1% to £3.6bn as average realised prices for copper increased 16% y-o-y to US$8,756 per tonne. However, an 18% increase in production costs (mainly labour costs) caused earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to rise a marginal 1.4% to £1.9bn. During the year, copper production declined 2% to 299,000 tonnes due to lower grades of ore. Copper volumes sold declined 7% to 293,000 tonnes. The 2012 production target for copper was set at 300,000 tonnes. The company targets increasing production to 500,000 tonnes within the next five years. The company has bought back US$83m worth shares at an average price of 889p per share and has increased annual dividend to US$0.28 per share.

Our view: As the global economy gradually recovers, copper demand is expected to increase leading to firmer prices for the essential industrial commodity. Also, the company said that the balance of forward contracts signed for anticipated production in 2012, has skewed in favour of China, as compared to a more even split between China and Europe in the previous years. We expect the miner to benefit from tapping into the Chinese market, but maintain our hold rating.

Man Group (EMG LN, 147.5p) – Hold
Man Group released results for the nine months to 31st December 2011 yesterday. Statutory pre-tax profit from continuing operation was US$193m, in-line with management guidance issued in January. Assets under management rose to US$59.5bn at the end of February from US$58.4bn at the end of December. The management noted that net fund outflows had stemmed significantly, particularly in February and expects clients to return as financial markets stabilise. They announced a revision to the company’s dividend policy. Under the new policy, net adjusted management fees per share will be paid out as dividend and the performance fees will be accumulated as capital surplus and either paid out as special dividend or will be used for share buy-backs. Dividend of 7.0p per share was declared for the Q3 2011, taking the nine months dividend to 16.5p share.

Our view: The dividend policy was altered from the ‘progressive’ policy adopted earlier, under which dividend would increase gradually. However, the recent drop in earnings per share could not cover the rise in dividend. The latest policy aims to align the returns to shareholder along the company’s performance. The company’s performance is expected to improve as financial markets stabilise. The management reported that the gap between net inflow and outflows has reduced significantly, however consumer morale remains fragile. Further, the share price has depreciated around 53% over the past twelve months, bringing the current share price closer to fair value, prompting us to upgrade the stock to hold.

Stagecoach (SCG LN, 274.7p)
Stagecoach said yesterday that overall trading conditions remained good, with positive prospects. Like-for-like revenue growth in the forty weeks to 5th February 2012 was 3.0% at the UK bus division, 9.5% at the UK rail division and 8.9% at the Virgin Rail. Revenue at the North American business, including Megabus.com, but excluding disposed Wisconsin school bus business, grew 13.3% on a like-for-like basis in the nine months to 31st January 2012. The management informed that Virgin Rail is bidding for the West Coast Trains franchise
Economic news

Economic releases due today

Region

Release

Indicator

Period

Previous

Expected

UK PMI Construction

Index

February

51.4

51.3

Eurozone PPI

m-o-m %

January

-0.2

0.5

Eurozone PPI

y-o-y %

January

4.3

3.5

Germany Retail Sales

m-o-m %

January

0.1

0.5

Germany Retail Sales

y-o-y %

January

-0.9

0.2

US Total Vehicle Sales

Million

February

14.1

14.0

US Domestic Vehicle Sales

Million

February

11.1

11.0

US ISM New York

Index

February

-

-

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Standard & Poor’s EMS Marketscope, Consensus forecasts

UK PMI
The Markit purchasing managers index (PMI) slipped to 51.2 in February from 52.0 (first reported as 52.1) in January, but remained above 50, which demarcates expansion from contraction. Both new orders and export orders were broadly stagnant from January while cost pressures increased. Employment was the only bright spot in the survey, with most companies reporting an increase in headcount.

Our view: Economists had expected manufacturing activity to stabilise in February. As demand shrinks and cost pressures mount, maintaining a growth in output will prove difficult. Under these circumstances, the increase in employment could also prove to be unsustainable. Nonetheless, manufacturing sector was still expanding and making positive contribution to GDP in February. However, manufacturing forms a small part of the economy, the services PMI due next week, should be a better indicator of whether the economy will grow in Q1 2012 after contracting 0.2% in Q4 2011.

UK Nationwide house prices
Average house prices in the UK rose 0.6% m-o-m and 0.9% y-o-y to £162,712 in February, according to Nationwide. The decline in home price in January was revised to 0.3% m-o-m (0.2% reported previously) while the annual price increase in January was 0.6%.

Our view: Analysts believe that first time buyers scrambling to avail exemption on stamp duty which will expire in March are providing a temporary support to house prices. This may cause house prices to cool over summer. Earlier this week, the Bank of England reported mortgage approvals in January shot up to a two-year high.

Eurozone inflation
Inflation in the Eurozone accelerated to 2.7% in February compared to 2.6% in January, according to the preliminary data released by Eurostat.

Our view: Though the slowdown in activity has cooled inflation from the highs of 3.0% recorded in November 2011, inflation continues to be above European Central Bank (ECB)’s preferred level of below but near 2%. With the world’s conflict with Iran escalating, the rise in oil prices is expected to continue augmenting inflation, thus lowering the chances of an interest rate cut by the ECB in its meeting next week.

US ISM manufacturing
The purchasing managers’ index retreated to 52.4 in February from 54.1 in January, the Institute for Supply Management reported yesterday. This is the first fall in the index after three consecutive months of gains. The new orders sub-index shrank to 54.9 from 57.6 in January, while the sub-index for employment declined to 53.2 in February following a reading of 54.3 the previous month. The gauge of prices paid by manufacturers rose to 61.5 from 55.5 in January.

Our view: The fall in the index was unexpected as the consensus called for a rise to 54.5. Though the index reading showed an expansion in manufacturing activity (i.e., a reading above 50), the slowdown is indicative of the fragility of the US recovery. The decline in the forward-looking new orders index indicates tough times for manufacturing. Yet, the index remaining above 50 for the 31st consecutive month suggests manufacturing expansion in the US is on a firmer footing.

Eurozone PMI
Markit’s Eurozone manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) increased to 49.0 in February from 48.8 in January, in line with the preliminary reading, still indicating contraction. Manufacturing activity in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands expanded, while that in France’s PMI touched 50 (the no change mark). Manufacturing activity in Italy and Spain contracted. The index plunged to a record-low of 37.7 in Greece.
Eurozone unemployment
Unemployment in the Eurozone shot up to 10.7% in January from the upwardly revised 10.6% (10.4% reported previously) in December, Eurostat estimated yesterday. The number of people without a job increased by 185,000 in January from the previous month. The unemployment rate for the wider 27-nation European Union (EU) edged up to 10.1% in January from 10.0% in December.
US personal income
Personal income in the US increased 0.3% m-o-m in January following a rise of 0.5% in December, the US Department of Commerce reported yesterday. Real disposable income decreased 0.1% in January vis-à-vis a 0.3% rise in December. Spending grew 0.2% m-o-m after remaining stagnant in December. As a result, the savings rate edged down to 4.6% in January from 4.7% in the previous month. Personal income and spending were expected to expand 0.4% each as per the consensus estimate.

Next week…

Companies
reporting

Mkt. Cap. (£)

Ticker

Sector

Period

Expected sales (£)

Expected pre-tax (£)

Monday 5th March

Amlin

1.7bn

AML LN

Financial

FY 2011

2.3bn

-144.5m

IAG

3.0bn

IAG LN

Airlines

Trading update

-

-

Glencore

29.6bn

GLEN LN

Mining

FY 2011

112.1bn

2.9bn

Intertek

3.7bn

ITRK LN

Bus. servs.

FY 2011

1.7bn

240.1bn

Petrofac

5.4bn

PFC LN

Oil & gas

FY 2011

3.6bn

419.7m

Ocado

500.1m

OCDO LN

Retail

Trading update

-

-

Tuesday 6th March

Cape

512.2m

CIU LN

Comm. servs.

FY 2011

702.0m

67.0m

Tullett Prebon

697.2m

TLPR LN

Financial

FY 2011

913.8m

133.9m

Michael Page

1.4bn

MPI LN

Emp. servs.

FY 2011

1.0bn

85.9m

Betfair

896.4m

BET LN

Casinos

Trading update

-

-

Ashtead

1.2bn

AHT LN

Busi. servs.

Q3 2012

258.4m

10.5m

Inmarsat

2.1bn

ISAT LN

Comm. servs.

Trading update

-

-

John Wood

4.5bn

WG/ LN

Oil & gas

FY 2011

5.9bn

299.0m

Easyjet

1.9bn

EZJ LN

Airlines

Trading update

-

-

Meggitt

3.0bn

MGGT LN

Aero & def

FY 2011

1.5bn

300.1m

Fresnillo

21.7bn

FRES LN

Mining

FY 2011

1.4bn

953.8m

Wednesday 7th March

Jupiter Fund Management

1.1bn

JUP LN

Financial

FY 2011

249.9m

93.9m

Melrose

1.5bn

MRO LN

Engineering

FY 2011

1.2bn

156.5m

Dignity

453.7bn

DTY LN

Pers. servs.

FY 2011

209.1m

41.0m

RPS

494.2m

RPS LN

Busi. servs.

FY 2011

473.2m

50.4m

Admiral

2.9bn

ADM LN

Financial

FY 2011

366.3m

285.4m

Thursday 8th March

Spirax-Sarco Engineering

1.6bn

SPX LN

Engineering

FY 2011

640.5m

136.4m

Hunting

1.2bn

HTG LN

Oil & gas

FY 2011

587.4m

67.8m

Balfour Beatty

1.9bn

BBY LN

Const. servs.

FY 2011

10.0bn

324.8m

Cobham

2.0bn

COB LN

Aero & def

FY 2011

1.8bn

280.2m

DS Smith

1.6bn

SMDS LN

Packaging & mats.

Trading update

-

-

Schroders

4.2bn

SDR LN

Financial

FY 2011

1.2bn

401.6m

WM Morrison

7.3bn

MRW LN

Retail

FY 2011

17.6bn

924.9m

Aviva

10.7bn

AV/ LN

Insurance

FY 2011

32.8bn

1.9bn

Old Mutual

8.8bn

OML LN

Insurance

FY 2011

4.5bn

1.5bn

Friday 9th March

JD Wetherspoon

528.1bn

JDW LN

Restaurants

H1 2012

568.0m

-

Aggreko

5.9bn

AGK LN

Busi. servs.

FY 2011

1.4bn

322.4m

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Standard & Poor’s EMS Marketscope, Consensus forecasts

 

Economic
releases

Region

Release

Indicator

Period

Previous

Expected

Monday 5th March
UK Lloyds Business Barometer

m-o-m %

February

-11.0

-

UK PMI Services

y-o-y %

February

56.0

54.9

UK Official Reserves (Changes)

US$bn

February

2.5

-

UK Halifax House Price 3Mths/Year

y-o-y %

February

-1.8

-1.6

UK Halifax House Prices SA

m-o-m %

February

0.6

0.3

Eurozone PMI Composite

y-o-y %

February

49.7

49.7

Eurozone PMI Services

y-o-y %

February

49.4

49.4

Eurozone Sentix Investor Confidence

Index

March

-11.1

-6.0

Eurozone Retail Sales

m-o-m %

January

-0.3

-0.10

Eurozone Retail Sales

y-o-y %

January

-1.30

-1.60

Germany PMI Services

y-o-y %

February

52.6

52.6

US ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite

y-o-y %

February

56.8

56.1

US Factory Orders

y-o-y %

January

1.1

-0.9

Tuesday 6th March
UK BRC Sales Like-for-Like

y-o-y %

February

-0.3

-

UK New Car Registrations

y-o-y %

February

0.0

-

Eurozone GDP SA

q-o-q %

Q4 2011

-0.3

-0.3

Eurozone GDP SA

y-o-y %

Q4 2011

0.7

0.7

Eurozone Household Consumption

q-o-q %

Q4 2011

0.2

-

Eurozone Gross Fixed Capital Investment

q-o-q %

Q4 2011

-0.1

-

Eurozone Government Spending

q-o-q %

Q4 2011

-0.1

-

Wednesday 7th March
UK BRC Shop Price Index

y-o-y %

February

1.4

-

Germany Factory Orders NSA

y-o-y %

January

0.0

-1.8

Germany Factory Orders SA

m-o-m %

January

1.7

0.6

Germany Wholesale Price Index

m-o-m %

February

1.2

-

Germany Wholesale Price Index

y-o-y %

February

3.0

-

US MBA Mortgage Applications

w-o-w %

2nd March

-0.3

-

US ADP Employment Change

Thousands

February

170.0

200.0

US Nonfarm Productivity

y-o-y %

Q4 2011

0.7

0.8

US Unit Labour Costs

y-o-y %

Q4 2011

1.2

1.2

Thursday 8th March
UK BOE Asset Purchase Target

£bn

March

325.0

325.0

UK BOE Announces Rates

%

8th March

0.5

0.5

Eurozone ECB Announces Rates

%

8th March

1.0

1.0

Germany Industrial Production SA

m-o-m %

January

-2.9

0.9

Germany Industrial Production NSA WDA

y-o-y %

January

0.9

0.6

US Consumer Credit

US$bn

January

19.3

12.0

US Challenger Job Cuts

y-o-y %

February

38.9

-

US RBC Consumer Outlook

Index

March

45.1

-

US Initial Jobless Claims

-

3rd March

-

-

US Continuing Claims

-

25th Feb

-

-

US Bloomberg Consumer Comfort

-

4th March

-

-

Friday 9th March
UK BoE/GfK Inflation Next 12 Months

%

February

4.1

-

UK Industrial Production

m-o-m %

January

0.5

0.4

UK Industrial Production

y-o-y %

January

-3.3

-3.1

UK Manufacturing Production

m-o-m %

January

1.0

0.3

UK Manufacturing Production

y-o-y %

January

0.8

0.2

UK PPI Input NSA

m-o-m %

February

0.5

0.5

UK PPI Input NSA

y-o-y %

February

7.0

6.0

UK PPI Output NSA

m-o-m %

February

0.5

0.3

UK PPI Output NSA

y-o-y %

February

4.1

3.9

UK PPI Output Core NSA

m-o-m %

February

0.3

0.1

UK PPI Output Core NSA

y-o-y %

February

2.4

2.5

UK NIESR GDP Estimate

%

February

-0.2

-

Germany Consumer Price Index

m-o-m %

February

0.7

0.7

Germany Consumer Price Index

y-o-y %

February

2.3

2.3

Germany CPI – EU Harmonised

m-o-m %

February

0.9

0.9

Germany CPI – EU Harmonised

y-o-y %

February

2.5

2.5

Germany Exports SA

m-o-m %

January

-4.5

1.5

Germany Imports SA

m-o-m %

January

-3.9

1.2

Germany Current Account

€bn

January

19.3

11.8

Germany Labour Costs WDA

y-o-y %

Q4 2011

2.9

-

Germany Labour Costs SA

q-o-q %

Q4 2011

-0.9

-

Germany Trade Balance

€bn

January

12.9

13.0

US Trade Balance

$bn

January

-48.8

-49.0

US Change in Nonfarm Payrolls

Thousands

February

243.0

216.0

US Change in Private Payrolls

Thousands

February

257.0

218.0

US Change in Manufacturing Payrolls

Thousands

February

50.0

22.0

US Unemployment Rate

%

February

8.3

8.3

US Avg. Hourly Earning All Employees

m-o-m %

February

0.2

0.2

US Avg. Hourly Earning All Employees

y-o-y %

February

1.9

2.0

US Avg. Weekly Hours All Employees

Hours

February

34.5

34.5

US Change in Household Employment

Thousands

February

847.0

-

US Underemployment Rate (U6)

%

February

15.1

-

US Wholesale Inventories

%

January

1.0

0.6

Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters, Standard & Poor’s EMS Marketscope, Consensus forecasts

Recommendations
During the three months to end-February 2012, the number of stocks on which HB Markets has published recommendations was 179, and the recommendations were as follows: Buy – 84; Speculative Buy – 4; Hold – 69; Sell – 22.Full definitions of the recommendations used by HB Markets in its publications and their respective meanings can be found on our website here.
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