London Evening Standard, market report column
Feb 04, 2013 (London Evening Standard - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Punters today decided a note from analysts at Citi was the signal to ring up a quick profit from Vodafone shares.
Vodafone has been on the Buy list recently after a series of upgrades from analysts accompanied M&A rumours. The chat around Vodafone focused on the possibility it might sell its stake in its US joint venture or that partner Verizon could even make an outright bid for Vodafone to gain full ownership of the Verizon Wireless partnership. Shares rose more than 10 percent in January.
But today it was off 3.3p to 170p as Citi's Simon Weeden reckoned it is no longer a stock to splash out on. He downgraded Vodafone to neutral _ or a Hold _ "post rally" and gave it a 180p price target. Weeden and his team think in the short term, sales pressure in Europe is an obstacle. He also reckons that although Vodafone needs to start buying up companies to bolster its cable business, this could actually prove difficult because the "targets are limited".
Punters keen on mobile phones might want to get in touch with Everything Everywhere. The UK's biggest mobile phone group _ the outcome of a merger in 2010 between Orange and T-Mobile _ could be lining up a pounds sterling 10 billion stock market flotation. Owners France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are reported to be close to appointing advisers to sell 25 percent of the company in London later this year.
Gold miner Randgold Resources glittered at the top of the benchmark after revealing a full-year profit jump of 16 percent and its shares soared 240p to 6317.5p.
Broadcaster ITV, up 2.1p to 119.5p, was boosted by a note from analysts at Citi who raised their target price for the shares to 125p.
The sentiment that pushed up the blue-chip index to near a five-year high on Friday fell away today as some took profits. Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at stockbroker Interactive Investor said: "Stocks may well now be ready to pause for breath." The FTSE 100 index dropped 26.54 points to 6320.7.
On the mid-tier index, shares in Salamander Energy jetted up 27.3p to 212.7p when it announced an oil and gas find in Indonesia. It has found signs of 6000 barrels of light oil per day, as well as eight million cubic feet of gas a day at the well in the North Kutei Basin.
The chief executive of pharmacy software supplier EMIS has retired after the group unveiled a profit warning last month. Sean Riddell will leave his role to "spend more time with his family" and shares were off 50p at 700p.
Lonrho, the African industrial and agriculture group, issued a profit warning and said it would post a net operating loss for last year because of contract delays and project issues. Shares dipped 2p to 6.88p.
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