Citigroup Upgrade Boosts Weir

Engineering group Weir Group (WEIR.L) was boosted this morning by news from Citigroup of a upgrade on the stock. Moving its rating from NEUTRAL to  BUY and raising the target price on the share  from 1,750p to 2,200p.

Citigroup says that the risk reward balance on Weir Group (WEIR.L) is now “tilted to the upside in our view” and in a note to investors this morning added “We see scope for a move to earnings upgrades through 1H 2016E or even 2H 2015E as the rate of downgrades slows significantly and the negative EPS momentum could turn as the North American Rig count troughs in coming weeks on our forecasts. The economics of North American Shale remain second quartile on the cost curve and therefore should remain competitive as supply from higher break-even sources is reined in. We view this as structurally supportive of Weir’s position in oil and gas.”

Shares in Weir Group (WEIR.L) are up around 3% this morning currently trading around 1960p.

888 Confirms Interest in Bwin.Party

Online gaming firm BWin.Party (BPTY.L) has confirmed it has received an offer in cash and shares from peer 888 holdings. In a statement from 888 the company said it saw “significant industrial logic” in the merger of the two companies, with its shareholders voting 59% in favour of the move.

This comes after news last week that BWin.Party (BPTY.L) has received other offers from companies including GVC Holdings and todays news could now trigger a bidding war over BWin.Party (BPTY.L)

BWin.Party (BPTY.L) Shares were up around 10% this morning at around 110p.

888 Holdings is holding firm around 164.50p.

 

Bwin.Party confirms potential takeover talks

Online gaming firm BWin.Party (BPTY.L) has confirmed it has recently received several merger proposals including to many peoples surprise an attempt at takeover from AIM listed GVC Holdings to merge with its much bigger brother.

Spokesman from BWin.Party (BPTY.L) confirmed that negotiations were continuing with “a number of third parties on a variety of possible business combinations”. Although the comment did come with the note of caution that none of the current discussions may result in a solid offer for the company.

Shares in BWin.Party (BPTY.L) have been under pressure this year after 2 potential buyers already pulled out of discussions earlier in the year, and its poker business continues to struggle due to a decline in regulated online poker markets, forcing the company to report a full year loss in March.

It is also reported that company has been fighting several legal battles with potential suitors including William Hill, Ladbrookes and US Firm Apollo Global.

Shares in BWin.Party (BPTY.L) were up  nearly 12% in todays trading finishing around 100p on the day.

 

 

Next Confirms Former Finance Director Leaves

David Keens, formerly the finance director of the company has left Next (NXT.L) has confirmed today. Keen had stepped down from the role of finance director mid march but had agreed to stay with the company until today.

The company announced his departure this morning stating that Keen had no received any compensation from the company on leaving his job.

Next (NXT.L) was trading approximately neutral for the day at around 7325p.

HSBC Beats Estimates and Posts Q1 Profit of $7.1Bln

The recently underfire bank HSBC (HSBA.L) today announced first quarter profits in excess of analysts estimates after a diffcult end to 2014. The bank posted a $7.1Bln profit for the first quarter, up 4% on the same period last year and around a fifth higher than previous estimates.

The bank benefited from reduced write offs compared to the previous year with regulatory provisions of £139m, UK customer redress programmes at £137m and restructuring costs of £43m.

The commercial banking arm of HSBC (HSBA.L) showed good performance particularly in the UK and Hong Kong.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said: “Our business recovered well in the first quarter following a difficult fourth quarter of 2014. Global Banking & Markets had its usual strong start to the year, with a notable increase in year-on-year revenue in our markets businesses. Loan impairment charges were significantly lower compared to the same period in 2014, particularly in Europe and North America.”

HSBC (HSBA.L) is trading slightly lower is early trading at 633.6p (-1.98%)

Aussie Dollar On The Rise Even after Rate Cut

This morning the Australian Dollar is on the rise against its major counter parts despite the RBA announcing a 2.0% rate cut. This reflects speculation pre announcement that there maybe an even deeper cut so fx traders have reacted positively to the news with the Australian dollar up 0.45% against the dollar (AUD/USD) and 0.47% against the Yen (AUD/JPY).

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