Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Computacenter's Distress Signal Picked Up by Morse; MARKET REPORT

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Computacenter's Distress Signal Picked Up by Morse; MARKET REPORT

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM NICHOLLS

IT services firm Computacenter shed 131/4p to 2413/4p as news that management buyout talks have fallen through overshadowed an upbeat trading statement.

Noting improved trading conditions in the UK, France and Germany, the firm said pre-tax profit for 2005 will be "materially ahead of market expectations", helped by a surge in end-of-year demand.

However, broker Investec Securities said: "At current share price levels, we believe the bid termination outweighs the positive trading and would advocate a switch into Morse on the back of upbeat trading news in the non-PC UK enterprise market." Morse rose 41/4p to 1153/4p.

Anglo-French retailer Kesa Electricals, which runs the Comet chain, was off 101/2p at 253p after saying full-year results would be at the lower end of market expectations. Although new technologies such as flat-screen televisions sold well over Christmas, sales of traditional white goods "continued to be weak".

Numis Securities advised investors to reduce holdings, setting a target of 230p, while Citigroup reiterated its sell recommendation.

In contrast, High Street rival DSG International, which owns Dixons, rose 7p to 1771/2p and was the best performer in the FTSE 100, which advanced 24.3 points to 5688.0, buoyed by a bounce in Asian stocks.

Elsewhere in the top flight, Scottish Power dipped 3p to 5671/2p amid reports that Gazprom is not in talks to buy the UK electricity firm. However, the Russian gas giant, known to want to build a position here, did not rule out taking a stake in the firm at some point.

GW Pharmaceutical dipped 5p to 142p after today's annual results. Its cannabis-based mouth spray to alleviate the suffering of multiple sclerosis and cancer patients could be licensed in the UK within two years and on sale in the US by the end of the decade despite a year of setbacks, said chief executive Geoffrey Guy, reporting reduced losses of [pounds sterling]7.5 million for 2005.

Fashion label Ted Baker added 71/2p to 520p after saying sales from its shops had jumped 10.7% over the Christmas period despite a tough retail environment. …

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