Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Profit-Takers Seizing Their Chance after Petrofac Surge; MARKET ROUND-UP

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Profit-Takers Seizing Their Chance after Petrofac Surge; MARKET ROUND-UP

Article excerpt

Byline: Mickey Clark

PETROFAC shareholders can reflect on this week with a certain amount of satisfaction and look to the future with pound signs registering in their eyes. The shares have traded at record highs this week and with that in mind it was time for them to take some profits today.

The shares retreated 34p in a thin market to 8771/2p, giving institutional investors and tracker funds the opportunity to top up their holdings.

Only yesterday it was announced that the oil industry services group was to be included in the influential MSCI Global Growth Index. That forced the trackers to rush and top up their weightings.

Now two brokers have joined Petrofac's fan club. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hiked its target price for the shares from 770p to 885p, while rival RBS has repeated its buy rating and jacked up its target by 200p to 930p.

Last week, UBS raised its rating from neutral to buy and target from 610p to 1000p. It also began upping its earnings forecasts from next year onwards on the back of new contract bids.

RBS has also raised the target for John Wood Group, one of Petrofac's biggest rivals, from 200p to 280p and repeated its hold rating. The shares responded with a rise of 3.8p to 292.1p. Merrill Lynch has raised its sights on Wood Group from 295p to 320p.

The rest of the market looked set to round off the week on a firm note with share prices hitting a 10-month high as investors continued to be buoyed by the first tentative signs that the global recession is coming to an end.

Brokers like Paul Kavanagh, a partner at Killik, said: "Disappointing figures will continue to be brushed aside and we could certainly be looking towards the 5000 level."

But investors were not cheering on Wall Street this afternoon, where share prices were in retreat following the latest consumer confidence data, showing another fall at the start of this month as consumers worried about their finances.

The Dow Jones fell 135.5 to 9262.6. The FTSE 100 index responded by slamming into reverse and was left nursing a loss of 55.9 at 4699.5, having briefly touched an intraday high of 4790. Miners were first out of the traps in London, supported by another strong rise in the price of commodities such as copper overnight. Goldman Sachs has raised its rating on the sector from neutral to attractive. …

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