Vodafone's shares ring up losses after City thumbs-down [London Evening Standard]
(Evening Standard (London, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Nov. 28--Mobile phone giant Vodafone is supposed to be as safe as houses, a dividend-rich haven from choppy stock markets. However, Berenberg Bank's analysts thinks it is time to worry.
Paul Marsch has downgraded the telecoms giant to "hold" and slashed his share price target to 185p as he thinks its service sales will continue to fall. A move toward deals on broadband and mobile packages are the "new competitive fear, raising the question of Vodafone's ability to respond", he frets.
The company's shares dialled up a 0.85p loss to 156p.
Retailer Marks & Spencer soared to the top of the benchmark index, up 12.9p to 391.6p, as it agreed a 10-year funding plan with its pension scheme trustees which will cost it pounds sterling 60 million a year less than before.
Microchip maker ARM Holdings got an upgrade from analysts at Barclays who gave it a share price target of 820p, rating it overweight, and its shares ticked up 18p to 776p.
Water and sewage services group United Utilities shares trickled up 13p to 681.5p after it said higher prices helped it report sales of pounds sterling 823 million in the first half.
Analysts at Citigroup cut their share price target for packaging and distribution group Bunzl to 1190p and it fell to the bottom of the blue-chip index, down 39p to 1035p.
Fears of the looming US fiscal cliff sent the FTSE 100 index down by 14.36 points to 5785.35.
Over on the mid-cap index, distribution firm John Menzies agreed a deal to buy logistics and marketing business Orbital Marketing Services Group for pounds sterling 13.6 million and its shares packed in a 16.5p increase to 587.75p.
Insurer Lancashire Holdings went ex-dividend today and was slapped with a downgrade from analysts at JP Morgan. They rate it overweight and gave it a share price target of 860p. Its shares declined 57.5p to 795.75p.
Fellow faller on the mid-cap index, miner Kenmare Resources, got the wooden spoon and lost 2.36p to 31.12p after it warned production issues meant its full-year output will be up to 10 percent lower than forecast.
AIM-listed MDM Engineering Group, which provides engineering services to the mining industry, has been snapped up by Australia's Sedgman in a A$110 million (pounds sterling 71.8 million) and its shares jumped 13.5p to 180p.
Oil explorer Leyshon Resources last week saw its shares suspended on AIM a day after they had already been suspended on the Australian index. At the time, the shares jumped 60 percent. Today trading was restored and they slumped 16 percent -- down 4.12p to 21.38p.
The writer owns a small number of shares in Marks & Spencer.
(c)2012 London Evening Standard
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