The public's conversion to online Christmas shopping is likely to have served Royal Mail well, the Sunday Times's Danny Fortson wrote. Fortson, in his Inside the City column, said sales growth at online fashion retailer Asos showed the potential size of the market for online shopping. Royal Mail publishes a trading statement on January 24th that will reveal its Christmas trading performance. An investor-pleasing report is not a certainty but Fortson thinks the rush to the internet will have taken Royal Mail along with it.
N Brown is a solid company with exciting plans to expand its retail business on to the high street, Questor said in the Sunday Telegraph. The home shopping group is opening stores to raise its profile and to let buyers "click and collect" their goods. The owner of Jacamo and Simply Be's shares
have more than doubled in value in the past two years and have a 2.6% dividend yield. They are now valued at a high 19 times' forecast earnings. Consider buying on market sell-offs but at their current level the shares are a hold.
Shares in Revolymer are not for the faint-hearted but could yield substantial returns to adventurous investors, the Mail on Sunday's Midas column said. Revolymer makes nicotine gum that tastes and smells better than other brands and helps clean teeth. It has signed agreements in Canada and Eastern Europe to supply the gum to retailers and the product could appear in UK supermarkets in a year or two. The polymers in the gum can be used to improve many other products such as clothes detergent and make-up. Revolymer makes a loss but confidence is high at the company.
Hold on to shares in Imperial Tobacco, the Sunday Telegraph's Questor column advised. Cigarette sales volumes are down but Imperial has kept revenues flat by increasing prices. This may sound dull but investors buy Imperial for its solid dividend. Chief Executive Alison Cooper has predicted that the dividend will rise by at least 10% for 2014 and that looks feasible, Questor said. Imperial has underperformed the FTSE 100 by 20% and has lagged behind its rival BAT. With a strong balance sheet, Imperial is a good place to put cash.
There are better companies to invest in than Rockhopper Exploration, Danny Fortson wrote in the Sunday Times. Last week Premier Oil, Rockhopper's partner near the Falkland Islands, said the Sea Lion project there would be delayed by a year. Sea Lion is effectively Rockhopper's only asset. Rockhopper is looking for a new finance director after Peter Dixon-Clarke, its veteran finance chief, announced his departure. Any further discoveries are likely to be smaller than Sea Lion, which will not yield any oil until 2019 at the earliest.
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