continued to fall on Thursday, following a disappointing set of second quarter results from the supermarket giant the previous day. Knocking investor sentiment further was broker Exane BNP Paribas, which cut its targe on the stock from 325p to 300p, and maintained its underperform rating. Credit Suisse also shaved its target, adding that: "while the shares do not look high-rated even on our lower estimates (just 10.4x estimated 2012/13 price-to-ernings, compared to the European Food Retail sector on 11.5x), earnings visibility is low and we understand investor reticence given weak recent numbers and execution risks."
Johnson Matthey was also a big faller. The company today announced that it has appointed Colin Matthews, the Chief Executive Officer of BAA since 2008, as a Non-Executive Director.
Mining stocks, including Xstrata and Glencore, were among the biggest fallers as a new wave of caution over the spreading of South African strikes washed over investors.
Sector peer BHP Billiton was trading in the red today after analysts at Morgan Stanley lowered their price target for the shares from 2,180p to 2,100p. Miner BHP Billiton is in talks with Petrobras to buy a stake in the Brazilian energy giant's Gulf of Mexico oil fields, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal published late Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Next was leading the risers, possibly as a result of a strong first half at sector peer Ted Baker. As well, in a report this morning on European General Retail analysts at Nomura pointed out that: "as sectors compete for a tight consumer wallet, we note that the clothing retailers face some of the easier near-term comps given an unseasonably warm September/October in 2011. We have already seen this coming through in recent BDO data (which has seen stronger clothing performance over the past two weeks) as well as CBI volumes, which show a significant improvement in the category."
Sweeteners and food products group Tate & Lyle was another high riser after Credit Suisse raised its recommendation for the stock from 'neutral' to 'outperform'. The broker said: "There is no easy way to value Tate & Lyle, but it does seem to us to be a better business for all the changes we have seen and that this is not reflected in the share price (which is down 8% year to date versus a staples sector up 18%)."
Publishing group Pearson saw its shares get a boost from broker Exane BNP Paribas, which upgraded the stock to outperform, while Panmure Gordon kept its hold rating and 1,300p target.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Next (NXT) 3,585.00p +2.46%
Weir Group (WEIR) 1,805.00p +2.44%
Tate & Lyle (TATE) 687.50p +1.93%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,670.00p +1.89%
Kingfisher (KGF) 269.40p +1.85%
Smiths Group (SMIN) 1,058.00p +1.83%
Aggreko (AGK) 2,349.00p +1.73%
Tullow Oil (TLW) 1,420.00p +1.72%
Pearson (PSON) 1,250.00p +1.63%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,354.00p +1.60%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Tesco (TSCO) 319.05p -2.71%
Johnson Matthey (JMAT) 2,369.00p -1.99%
Xstrata (XTA) 949.50p -1.95%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 38.09p -1.82%
Glencore International (GLEN) 334.35p -1.42%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,916.00p -1.39%
G4S (GFS) 264.50p -1.31%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 281.90p -1.02%
Croda International (CRDA) 2,385.00p -1.00%
BP (BP.) 434.90p -0.95%