The Week In Review: Not much fizz in Sch... you know who

The headwinds facing Cadbury Schweppes could make the rest of the year difficult for the confectionery group. The biggest problem is the company's exposure to the fast-falling US dollar. Merrill Lynch says Cadbury's three US divisions account for 53 per cent of total group earnings. A second worry is that the group is grappling with rising oil and energy costs. Cadbury's management has suggested that every $10 increase in oil knocks about £10m off total group earnings.

The third issue is the lack of a meaningful flu season in the US this winter. This is likely to have caused a sharp drop in sales of Halls cough sweets, which is a high-margin product.

Bid talk has stalked the group for past six months. Hershey's and Kraft are most often touted as predators, but the rumours look overblown. Although the stock is down 10 per cent since mid-March, it probably has further to fall.

URALS ENERGY

The bullish news from Urals Energy continues. Investors are poring over the Russian group's plans to raise $180m by way of an equity issue to fund the acquisition of a significant oil and gas field in eastern Siberia. Hold.

HOLIDAYBREAK

Holidaybreak sold three million holidays in more than 100 countries last year - everything from short breaks in fancy hotels to family camping holidays across Europe. The latest interim results revealed losses have been cut by 12 per cent with debt slashed to £36.2m. Buy.

SCHRODERS

Announcing first-quarter trading figures this week, fund manager Schroders boasted a £1.9bn net inflow of retail funds, helping it to a 42 per cent increase in pre-tax profits. But while the company is now eyeing acquisitions in the US, big deals are an unknown quantity for Schroders, and market volatility is also a concern. Take profits, and for new investors, there will be better times to buy.

PSION

Psion is now firmly focused on developing its Teklogix operation. The business makes hand-held computers for workers on the move. It recently won a deal with SNCF, the French railway company, to supply it with hand-held ticket machines. Buy.

GRIFFIN MINING

This column tipped Griffin Mining just under a year ago at 32.5p. We were right; the stock closed at 81.25p after this week's full-year figures. Since we first drew attention to Griffin, it has brought its Caijiaying zinc and gold mine in northern China into production. Hold for more gains.

SPEEDY HIRE

The building equipment rentals group made its biggest-ever acquisition this week, buying LCH Generators, a private UK-based generator hire company, for £59m. The shares have more than doubled in the past two months, but at 14 times 2007 earnings are worth holding on to.

EBT MOBILE CHINA

EBT is a Chinese version of Carphone Warehouse. The company has 144 outlets in 15 cities, primarily in hypermarkets run by France's Carrefour and Germany's Metro. Analysts expect the number of shops to rise to 197 by the end of the year. Given that China's economy is booming, while less than one-third of its population have mobile phones, buy.

EUROMONEY

Financial publisher and conference organiser Euromoney Institutional Investor has posted record interim results thanks to booming global financial markets. But given the clouds hanging over the financial markets at present, the stock is best avoided.

MORSE

After a profits warning a year ago, IT services group Morse this week disappointed investors again with a poor performance at its German and Austrian divisions. But now is not the time for investors to abandon the company. Its £121m market capitalisation is well supported by a £20m cash pile and zero debt. Hold.

BETONSPORTS

BetOnSports (BoS) has doubled its Asia presence with the purchase of China-focused Hooball.com and 777ball.com for an initial $22m. With BoS shares trading at just nine times forward earnings, the company is one of the cheapest in the industry. Buy.

These recommendations are taken from the daily Investment Column

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