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Today’s market overview

Equities enjoyed a strong day yesterday but The Trader Dominic Picarda still thinks we are in a downtrend for now.


Vodafone (VOD) confirmed after the markets closed last night that it expects to receive a total of $130bn in cash and shares from Verizon for its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless. It will hand on all of the £38.9m worth of shares to UK investors plus $23.9bn in cash, equating to 112p a share or 71 per cent of the proceeds. We maintain our buy recommendation.

Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) confirms the appointment of a number of new non-executives including former director Jeremy Asher, whose proposal by shareholder M&G Recovery fund was initially rejected by the Gulf Keystone board. Buy.

Sell recommendation McBride (MCB) continues to suffer in tough markets for its private label household products with annual revenues for the year to June down by 5 per cent at constant currency and adjusted operating profit falling by 19 per cent to £24m. On a brighter note, private label posted sales growth of 2 per cent in the second half after shrinking by the same amount in the first half.

Packaging specialist DS Smith (SMDS) says its current year has begun well with the SCA Packaging acquisition continuing to integrate well. There may be a short term margin hit as input costs have risen but this will be smoothed as they are passed through the supply chain to customers. We keep our buy rating.


Punch Taverns (PUB) is gradually making progress on its stabilisation. The fourth quarter to 17 August saw like for like net income in the core estate rise by 0.4 per cent, marking the third consecutive quarter of improving like for like trading.

Fellow pubs group Greene King (GNK) is in a considerably more healthy state, having benefited from the summer weather in the past quarter when retail sales rose by 4.6 per cent, food by 5.7 per cent and accommodation by 6 per cent even against tough comparatives from last year when the Jubilee and European football championships boosted business.

Spirent (SPT) has announced the abrupt departure of its chief executive Bill Burns, who is stepping down with immediate effect to be replaced by chief financial officer Eric Hutchinson.

Animal genetics specialist Genus (GNS) posted marginal revenue growth of 1 per cent for the year to June with pre-tax profit up by 2 per cent to £47.2m.


Goals Soccer Centres (GOAL) grew total sales by 2 per cent and like for like sales by 1 per cent in the six months to June but profits dipped by 7 per cent to £4.1m.

Investment company Shellproof (SHLP), formed by former Conservative party chairman Michael Ashcroft, has agreed to acquire Kent vineyard Gusbourne Estate for £7m and will change its name to Gusbourne.