Oil and gas explorer Northern Petroleum's shares
have been punished for its record of failing to live up to its promises but at the current price the shares are cheap, the Mail on Sunday's Midas column said. The shares have fallen from 200p six years ago to 31.5p now. New Chief Executive Keith Bush has got £28m cash in the bank after selling Dutch assets and the company has prospects in West Sussex, Canada and Africa. The Canadian assets are set to produce an initial 500 barrels of oil a day next year. The company is a risky investment but those prepared for the risk should buy now.
Inchcape is a hold at best after the shares rose 50% so far this year, the Sunday Telegraph's Questor column said. The luxury car seller is enjoying accelerating revenue growth and is well balanced across international markets. It also said in August that it would spend £100m to buy back shares to boost shareholder returns. That move could also support earnings per share under pressure from tight margins. The shares trade on 15 times this year's earnings compared with the long-term average of 11.9 times. That's quite pricy when Inchcape is under pressure in some markets.
Premier Foods' long-term future is far from certain, the Sunday Times's Danny Fortson wrote in his Inside the City column. The debt-burdened maker of Hovis bread and Mr Kipling cakes has suffered management turmoil and its market value is about a fifth of its combined loans and pension deficit. It could be about to turn the corner as new boss Gavin Darby chips away at Premier's debts - and the shares have tripled in value since July to 180.5p. Maybe Darby and respected new Finance Director Alistair Murray can turn things round. The next trading update is on October 31st.
There's no quick treatment for AstraZeneca's problems, despite the activities of Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, the Sunday Times's Danny Fortson said. Just over a year after his appointment, Soriot is losing sales to generic copies while waiting for the next big drug to get through tests. His record of cancelling the share buyback, moving research to Cambridge from Cheshire and making small acquisitions to nab potential new drugs leaves has left Astra's share gains at about half those of the FTSE 100 since Soriot took over. Third-quarter results are on October 31st.
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