Whitbread looks like a reliable investment despite the imminent departure of Chairman Anthony Habgood, Matthew Goodman said in the Sunday Times's Inside the City column. The company was a mess when Habgood took over in 2005 but he has sold peripheral businesses to focus on Premier Inn and Costa Coffee. Some analysts fear Costa has reached saturation point but Barclays thinks Whitbread shares
could rise from £42 to £70 as it starts to reap rewards from overseas investment. A second, cheaper hotel brand called Hub could also ease worries about growth prospects. The stock could pause for breath but it looks like a decent long-term bet.
Buy Petra Diamonds, Questor recommended in the Sunday Telegraph. The shares are up 51% since Questor recommended them in September and following the discovery of a walnut-sized blue diamond the tipster is sticking by its opinion. The potential price Petra will receive for selling the gem could wipe out Petra's debt as it invests in upgrading its old mines. It has already said that production in the first nine months of its financial year was up 26%.
Buy Empiric Student Property when it floats this week to tap into demand for more upmarket student housing, Midas advised in the Mail on Sunday. The management team will use £80m of the flotation proceeds to buy 11 properties to add to its existing fully occupied housing. In the UK's 27 top university cities, 96% of non-first years have no access to purpose-built housing. Many are prepared to pay to be near city centres, including 300,000 international students. Investors can expect a 6% dividend yield in the first year and capital growth as rents rise and development properties come into use.
St Ives' shares have had a strong run and the media group is trading at levels not seen since before Lehman Brothers went bust in 2008, Matthew Goodman wrote in the Sunday Times. The company has transformed itself from printing books and annual reports into a media consultancy, advising on digital marketing and other things. St Ives has grown through acquisitions, leaving questions about its strategy, but its imminent trading update should reassure investors of the logic in its deals.
Steer clear of PZ Cussons, the maker of Imperial Leather soap, Questor advised in the Sunday Telegraph. It is a quality company for the long term, withstanding recessions and rewarding investors through its dividend. But the shares are looking expensive, especially with growth slowing in Africa and Asia, where it makes about half its operating profits. Its expected annual profit would have been up to £12m higher without the impact of falling emerging markets currencies.
Take some profit from Synairgen's success but do not sell out of the biotech company entirely, Midas said in the Mail on Sunday. The shares jumped by 20p to 70p last week when Synairgen signed a $238m deal with AstraZeneca for Astra to develop and sell its treatment to help asthma and emphysema sufferers who have a cold or flu. Midas recommended the shares at 28p in January 2010 and at 39p two years ago. There is plenty more upside for investors when the potential blockbuster drug goes on sale in a few years.
Please note: Digital Look provides a round-up of news, tips and information that is impacting share prices
and the market. Digital Look cannot take any responsibility for information provided by third parties. This is for your general information only as not intended to be relied upon by users in making an investment decision or any other decision. Please obtain a copy of the relevant publication and carry out your own research before considering acting on any of this information.