International distribution and outsourcing giant Bunzl was a strong riser after completing three further purchases in South America and the US, bringing its 2012 total acquisition spend to 270m pounds. The stock was given an extra lift this morning by Numis which upgraded the shares to 'buy' and lifted its target price from 987p to 1,248p.
Following close behind was industrial group Melrose after Citigroup raised its view on the stock to 'buy' and hiked its target price from 220p to 270p.
Internet purchases supported a moderate rise in sales at Tesco, according to the supermarket chain's latest trading statement. Group sales in the six weeks to January 5th increased by 3.8% including petrol, causing shares to rise this morning. Oriel Securities upgraded the stock to 'buy'.
Meanwhile, High Street giant Marks & Spencer was heading lower after reporting worse-than-expected sales figures for the key Christmas period in a trading update that was partially leaked the night before. Like-for-like sales in the UK dropped by 1.8%, worse than the 1.4% decline expected by Nomura.
Associated British Foods fell after Goldman Sachs moved its target price from 1160p to 1190p and maintained a sell rating.
Intertek shares were lower after Jefferies downgraded the stock from hold to underperform, saying the company could be more at risk from continued weakness in commodities and the challenging situation within the industry.
Imperial Tabacco Group dropped after Goldman Sachs lowered the target price from 2,500p to 2,470p and reiterated a neutral rating.
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