Who Will Be Top of the Tippers?; Economics Editor Nevill Boyd Maunsell Outlines the Stockbrokers' Choice in the 2002 Birmingham Post Share-Tipping Competition

Article excerpt

Byline: Nevill Boyd Maunsell

Birmingham stockbrokers are a resilient lot. Far from being put off by two years in a row when there were many more losers than winners, they have lined up with undiminished alacrity to take part in the annual share-tipping exercise.

It might be unwise to take some of their suggestions as earnest investment recommendations. The magnum of champagne that we offer to the worthy winner -- along with a dollop of free publicity - is rarely the reward of caution. And if things go awry our brokers have the reassurance that we usually draw a veil of the misfortunes of the less successful contenders.

The thing amounts to a risk-taker' charter, hopefully more entertaining that way.

Everybody starts with their shares at Christmas Eve closing prices, and has to stay with their choice until next Christmas Eve. Those who are taken over are deemed to keep cash proceeds in the bank for the rest of the year and to stay with any shares they receive. The rest of the rules we make up as we go along.

Start then where honour is due with last year's winner, DAVID LOUDON at Morgan Stanley Quilter. After his success with Sema, he is staying with technology for a second year, looking to Logica (625p on Christmas Eve) to secure him a place in our select band of two-time winners. The shares took a knock after a trading statement last month, but David is looking for a recovery this year backed by a strong financial performance.

His colleague at Quilter MIKE BROADHURST picks the business services group Hays (211p) on the strength of a large number of outsourcing contracts it has won.

TIM HORROCKS is among a number of brokers looking for a telecoms recovery in 2002. He takes Colt Telecom (100p) for the purpose, one of last year's most spectacular losers, but now with cash to carry it through to 2003, when it should start to generate cash of its own.

DAVID JUPP prefers Reuters (685p), another heavy faller in 2001, but now David reckons, poised to benefit from a management shake-up, better margins and acquisitions that should improve its competitive position.

GERRY LOUGHREY hopes Amvescap (1000p) will reap rewards from long-term growth in UK savings as well as a recovery in world financial markets.

Next, Fyshe Horton Finney where last year's runner-up ANDREW POWELL takes the 'Tomb Raider' computer games outfit Eidos (163 1 /2p) to carry him into the top spot this time. Half-time results showed narrowing losses despite a drop in sales, the company is making inroads in the Playstation 2 market and a new Tomb Raider is due next October.

PETER HOLLINS, a past winner,tips AIM-listed Torday & Carlisle (22p) as an under-valued engineering investment company to repeat his success.

PETER KNOWLES in FHF's Leeds office, best known in the West Midlands as the scourge of Garton Engineering and champion of preference shareholders everywhere, prefers Yates (152 1 /2p) the pub group that has now dropped 'Wine Lodges' from its name. Another former winner, STUART RAVEN, who collected the magnum last year with Motion Media (44 1 /2p), is staying with it for a third year, confident that 202 could see a breakthrough for the videophone.

NORMAN CLARKE likes Lonmin (995p), the only producer of platinum, palladium and rhodium, the metals used in catalytic converters, with a primary listing in London.

DAVID GILBERT backs Pace Micro Technology (355 1 /2p), 'unfairly penalised by the technology sell-off', he says. It should benefit from a further roll-out of digital TV and growth in the US.

IAN BEALE chooses the airport facilities manager TBI (57p), fora recovery in air travel. JONATHAN BROWN recommends I-Documentsystems (15p), a software company specialising in information management systems, which has produced 'very encouraging' recent results.

CLIVE DUCKITT says he would like a stake in the Conservative Party 'on the basis that shares should be bought when they are completely out of favour and all bad news is discounted in the share price'. …