Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock Your at A-Glance Guide

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Taking Stock Your at A-Glance Guide

Article excerpt

BANKING AND FINANCE

Royal & SunAlliance showed the bears a clean pair of heels yesterday amid hopes that the sale of its US operation may lead to review of the insurer's dividend policy. It could take the form of share buyback.

BUILDING AND PROPERTY

Estate agent Countrywide has agreed a 590p-a-share offer from Apollo Management, but with the shares still above 600p yesterday, a counterbid cannot be ruled out. Talk is that venture capitalist 3i is ready to re-enter the fray.

CONSUMER

Profits from TV retailer Ideal Shopping fell last year after the closure of the Jewellery Vault channel. Charles Stanley rates the shares a hold but warns the slowdown raises doubts about growth from digital subscribers.

ECONOMICS

Strong sales of premium and organic foods helped drive High Street spending last month despite another rise in interest rates, according to the British Retail Consortium. It said sales rose 3.3% in February against a year ago, up from January's 3.1% increase.

ENGINEERING

Aerospace firm Meggitt posted 14% rise in annual profits today and proposed a [pounds sterling]1 billion takeover of K&F Industries of the US. It also unveiled a one-for-two rights issue at 200p. Profits rose to [pounds sterling]133 million on turnover of [pounds sterling]670 million, up 9%.

HEALTH

Swiss drugs giant Novartis today won approval for the first new type of high blood pressure medicine for a decade. Tekturna targets an enzyme called renin which can trigger high blood pressure and has been approved for use in the US.

INDUSTRIALS

Charles Stanley remains a buyer of Chloride after its [pounds sterling]9.4 million acquisition of Masterpower Electronics, a provider of power protection systems for the petrochemicals industry.

The broker expects to upgrade its forecasts later this month.

LEISURE

Citigroup has cut JD Wetherspoon's price target from 787p to 765p. The broker says first-half results from the pubs chain were strong but notes the caution shown for the second half, which is likely to result in slower earnings growth.

It maintains a hold rating. …

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