Market Report: Sell advice puts Euro Disney on big dipper

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The Independent Online
EURO DISNEY had another bumpy stock market ride yesterday. The shares slumped 60p to 800p as Morgan Stanley, the US investment house, substituted losses for profits and said the shares should be sold.

As the magic has been stripped from the shares they have come down from a 1,693p peak this year.

Expectations for the American theme park near Paris have been steadily scaled down. The company, nearly half-owned by the Walt Disney group, admitted last month that the park had failed to attract as many visitors as expected, and a loss of nearly pounds 10m would be incurred in the year ending next month.

Morgan Stanley forecasts losses deepening. It had expected a profit next year but has switched its forecast to a pounds 21m loss. Euro Disney had hoped profits would flow from property developments. 'They are clearly not going to get that given the state of the Paris real estate market,' the US house said.

At one time the shares were down to 785p and there were fears that the fall could become even more dramatic as the price neared the crucial 707p at which they were sold to investors nearly three years ago.

But a little buying in Paris appeared to steady some frayed nerves as the market closed.

Euro Disney claimed it had enjoyed a better start than any Disney theme park. However, many believe it faces a long, hard struggle to become profitable, with dividends unlikely to be paid until towards the end of the decade.

The rest of the market recovered an early fall to close with modest gains, prompted by indications that the Bundesbank would leave interest rates unchanged today. A programme trade, with the emphasis on buying, also helped.

But food manufacturers remained in the doldrums as more profit downgradings flowed. Unigate suffered as UBS Phillips & Drew, Barclays de Zoete Wedd, Hoare Govett, Smith New Court and others cut their forecasts. The shares tumbled 22p to 253p.

Carr Kitcat & Aitken has come down from pounds 98.6m to pounds 95m. The decline in door-to- door milk sales worries its analyst, John Marshall. SNC is down to pounds 93m.

The Unigate fall was reflected at Northern Foods, down 13p at 252p. But Hillsdown Holdings, hard hit lately as expectations have been lowered, managed a 2p gain to 107p, despite the failure of its proposed Canadian merger. County NatWest thinks the shares are a trading buy.

British Airways ended 2.5p lower at 338p with Carr and Yamaichi taking opposing views. Yamaichi, recommending a sell, expects cash-flow problems with a pounds 1bn outflow over the next two years. Gearing will reach 105 per cent by March 1994 and a rights issue 'looks on the cards'.

Carr, saying buy, dwells on the proposed USAir deal, which could lead to 'a quantum leap' in BA's profits.

BAA, the airports group, climbed 14p to 671p. It has signed a deal that is expected to generate pounds 160m of advertising income from its six airports over the next seven years. BAA collected pounds 14.2m advertising income in its last financial year.

WH Smith and John Menzies were hit by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission inquiry into newspaper distribution. Smith fell 14p to 391p and Menzies 21p to 320p.

Racal Electronics was unchanged at 63.5p. SNC suggests buying the shares up to 70p ahead of the proposed flotation of the Chubb security offshoot in October.

Doug Hawkins, an analyst, believes Chubb deserves a price of 46p with the Racal rump at 32p.

Lonrho ended 5p higher at 81p as the story went the rounds that Genting, the Malaysian gaming group, had bid 90p a share for the US Fidelity investment group's near 10 per cent stake. Genting already has more than 5 per cent.

BET, the business services group, fell 5p to 115p on worries that it will be removed from the FT-SE share index. Forte, another endangered constituent, rose 3p to 131p as 7.5 million shares went through at 129p and 131p. There were also big agency crosses in Burton Group, Lloyds Chemists, Ocean Group and Royal Bank of Scotland.

In brisk trading, with a series of delayed trades notified, Lilley dropped 1.5p to 4.5p, a two-day fall of 5p. Shares of the loss-making builder were 35p earlier this year.

Medeva, the acquisitive drugs group, was 2p higher at 171p. It is thought that a significant US takeover is being negotiated. Glaxo Holdings rose 8p to 720p. Results are due next month.

Saatchi & Saatchi fell 5p to 138p as Fidelity cut its stake below 3 per cent.

The FT-SE 100 share index closed 8.8 points higher at 2,363.5. It moved between a 9.8 fall and a 12.4 gain. The FT 30 index rose 12.8 to 1,765.6. Turnover struggled to 393.5 million shares with 17,585 bargains recorded. Government stocks weakened behind soft US bond prices.

The Hollas Group, which fell into losses in its second half- year, is expected to announce the arrival of new investors at its Hawkshead Sportswear operation next week. Hawkshead's losses pulled the textile group's full year's profits down to pounds 223,000. The shares held at 11.5p. Hong Kong interests have built a near 15 per cent stake in the group.

Shares of Davies & Newman, the Dan-Air group, held at 18p yesterday. They are depressed by worries about expected fund- raising operations. But Schroders Investment Management has taken the opportunity to buy 696,000 shares, lifting its stake in the troubled group to 17 per cent. The shares, which topped 100p earlier this year, have been as low as 11p.