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Investment: Sharewatch


Although GKN should see a slowdown in their core automotive division, the stock's growth profile can ride on the back of the continued success of the industrial services division and positive news from the aerospace and special vehicle division, says BT Alex.Brown, which has upgraded the shares (956p) to a buy. The stock justifies a target a share price of pounds 11, the broker adds. Improving prospects for the industry, sustained growth in earnings and a relatively modest rating makeNorthern Leisure shares (134p) are very attractive, argues Teather & Greenwood. The market for nightclubs is very fragmented, giving it ample scope to grow at the rate of around 15 sites a year, predominatly purchased from independent operators. Each acquisition costs pounds 1.5-pounds 2m, a 30 per cent return is targeted and contribution to pre-tax profits from a new site is around pounds 200,000, adds TG.


Avoid Cortecs (21p), says Sutherlands, which points out that an independent report into its scientific programmes is due shortly. The biotech company commissioned the report last year after it announced its three lead programmes were not as advanced as had been indicated, and also undertook a review of its systems and pipeline to try to reduce cashburn itself.


South African Breweries 20 per cent-plus outperformance meant that the shares (570p) have exceeded the initial price objective of 530p, says Merrill Lynch, which has now cut its intermediate recommendation to neutral.