Nomura has maintained its buy recommendation and 225p target price for telecoms giant Vodafone despite the group's sales guidance being adjusted down.
"Vodafone has delivered steady enough full-year results, with guidance reflecting the uncertain outlook, but still committing to a flat cash-flow performance and 7% dividend growth," the broker said.
"In the context of the wider sector, this outlook is encouraging and topped up with Verizon Wireless (VZW) distributions, the stock should still be regarded as a lower-risk investment, in our view."
Despite a 2% beat to consensus profit estimates at Marks and Spencer, Investec has maintained its sell recommendation and 295p target price for the High Street giant, saying that its underlying performance is still weak.
Underlying pre-tax profit came in at £705.9m but the broker notes that the beat was entirely due to the contribution from M&S Money (£10m higher than consensus estimates) and a lower interest charge. "On first impressions we expect to make no material changes to our underlying trading forecasts."
Charles Stanley has put its rating for emergency home repairs group HomeServe under review after the firm revealed that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) was investigating 'certain historic issues'.
"While the shares have decreased by 53% since the suspension of UK sales activities on Oct 31st, they will now remain under pressure. Currently trades on a rating of eight times [earnings]. Our hold recommendation is under review," Charles Stanley's Andy Smith said.
It has been a remarkable year for the General Retail sector, with the UK index´s 33 per cent rise comfortably outstripping gains in the rest of the market. However, 2013 has also seen high single-digit downgrades across the space. That has left valuations (the average price-to earnings multiple sits now at 15 times´ next year´s forecast profit) quite stretched, wrote Credit Suisse on Friday. [Fri 12:15]
Nelson Mandela, who led his country to democracy after serving 27 years in prison, has died aged 95. President Zuma of South Africa said in a televised address: "The founding father of our nation has departed. May his soul rest in peace. God bless Africa." Mr Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who became his country's first black president, died peacefully in his home with his family at his bedside. - The Times [Fri 07:33]
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