City File: Sold too hard

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The Independent Online
ALL of a sudden, the market has got cold feet about one of the superstars of the recession years. In advance of next week's figures, Betterware has sagged from 267p over the last few days to close on Friday at 253p. This is still well above the levels at which the bulls were tipping it earlier this year - and even further above the price at which Jim Slater was a fan.

The doubts don't relate to the Betterware formula - catalogue-selling of small household items door to door through part-time agents - nor to the belief that it can export its magic formula to France. It is simply that the shares, at more than 35 times historic earnings, were absurdly overpriced.

Even though bulls such as Sean Eddie of NatWest Securities are expecting a 70 per cent jump in earnings per share, the shares now have the unmistakable smell of stale bull about them, and that can take years - and some dramatic price slumps - to shake off.

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