HOME RETAIL GROUP
Nomura rates the owner of Argos and Homebase as “reduce” with a target price of 130p, and reduces its full-year forecatss for the group by around 16 per cent. The broker sees profits of £137.4m for February 2012, with like-for-like first half sales at Argos down nine per cent, given tough World Cup comparisons. The Argos model has multi-channel advantage over pure-play retailers, but more agressive cost and offer restructuring may be required.
Morgan Stanley rates the business and technology service company as “overweight” with a target price of 130p, despite 10-13 per cent lower earnings-per-share forecasts and investor concern around margins. The broker now sees only a 13 per cent downside to a 2008-crisis bear scenario, and leaves topline forecasts broadly unchanged, but lowers margin forecasts, with 2011 earnings before tax revised down by 10 per cent to £264m.
LEGAL & GENERAL
Citigroup rates the investment and insurance group as “hold/high risk” and reduces its target price to 100p from 109p, reflecting the higher costs of capital. The broker says L&G’s first half results have revived concerns that near-term cash is coming at the expense of growth, and marginally lowers its earning per share estimates for full-year 2012 and 2013. As cash flow concerns are offset by a strong capital position, Citi maintains its hold rating.