Oil services outfit Wood Group's latest full year results were largely in-line, although revenues were about one per cent softer than consensus expectations.
At unchanged guidance for modest growth in earnings per share next year might not seem much to write home about. Yet coming as it did on the heels of two profit warnings that was "important", broker Investec told clients.
As well, the company's current valuation was already more than discounting the risk of a further slowdown in contract awards as the oil majors continue to cut-back on their capital outlays, those analysts explained.
Wood Group also stated its intention to increase cash returns. The company said it expected a further increase of 25% in 2014. The final dividend for the fiscal year 2013, at 22 cents, was already 10% ahead of analysts' estimates.
It also indicated its intention to increase cash returns.
Investec retained its 'buy' recommendation on the shares.
Increased regulatory scrutiny, even if unjustified, of Centrica's pricing structure would hit the company's margins, adding to the pressures coming from other fronts, analysts at UBS wrote on Tuesday.
In the wake of the UK Energy Secretary's letter to Ofgem, the Swiss broker's analysts wrote that the vertically integrated exploration and gas and electricity provider might see all its retail margins fall towards 4% so as to reduce political risk. All else equal that would bite into its earnings per share (EPS) by 16%, resulting in a fair value estimate for the stock of 300p.
Labour could move to freeze tariffs, alongside a possible retail re-regulation. That would cut EPS by a further 13-15% (Fair value: 240p). Likewise, the government might act to restrict its share of the retail market to 20%, which would lop off about another 5% of its EPS (Fair value: 290p).
Neither of those moves would benefit consumers, UBS wrote, although they could limit the country's energy security by handicapping the firm's ability to write long-term contracts, such as those for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Centrica also faced lower margins from wholesale natural gas Stateside, additional weakness in gas storage and adverse movements in US dollar
UBS cut its price target on the shares
to 280p from 340p and downgraded its recommendation on the shares to 'sell' from 'neutral'.
They saw "a more significant risk to the downside even from current levels".
InterContinentalHotels Group's preliminary full year operating results came in slightly ahead of forecasts, but adjusting for a fourth quarter liquidated damages receipt then the 'beat' was minimal, wrote analysts at broker Numis.
Also, no new news was forthcoming regarding an additional return of cash to shareholders.
"There may be some market disappointment that nothing new has been announced, but we see scope for a further significant return."
Revenue per available room (RevPAR), one of the most important metrics for hotel operators, grew by 3.8% overall, but by only 1% in China - a geographical regions around which there remain "uncertainties".
"As well, the company faces some short-term headwinds given dilution from asset disposals and planned refurbishment.
We suspect that consensus forecasts may drift back a little," the broker added.
As a result of all the above Numis downgraded the stock to 'hold' from 'add' setting a 2,100p target in the process.