Market Report: Analysts wail about the propects for Mothercare - Sharewatch - Business - The Independent

Market Report: Analysts wail about the propects for Mothercare

Investors in Mothercare will have been forgiven for sobbing like babies yesterday. Having been hit recently by its falling popularity with Britain's mothers, shares in the high street retailer, which has issued three profits warnings this year already, managed to reach an eight-year low last night after analysts said there was still plenty more pain to come.

The stock plummeted by 10.7p to 168.3p after Goldman Sachs downgraded its rating to "sell". Mothercare has lost nearly 75 per cent of its value since December.

Criticising the company for its "mid-market position" compared with the supermarkets' offerings, the broker's analysts refused to paint a pretty picture of the future, warning that Mothercare's losses in the UK would only get worse, with like-for-like sales falling until 2014.

Goldman was similarly bearish about other high-street chains, saying it was increasingly cautious about the outlook for household and discretionary spending next year. As a result, it told punters in Halfords (whose stock fell by 12.7p to 327.1p) and Home Retail (down 5.8p to 100.1p) to get rid of their shares. Goldman also cut its advice on SuperGroup, owner of the Superdry and Cult clothing brands, to "neutral" and its shares fell by 10p to 624p.

Instead, Goldman recommended retailers exposed to emerging economies rather than just Europe. It kept luxury goods retailer Burberry on its conviction buy list, although the shares were still knocked back 66p to 1,341p.

Growing unease about last week's eurozone agreement, not helped by China appearing to play down the level of support it will provide to the region, pushed the FTSE 100 back 158.02 points to 5,544.22. However, overall the blue-chip index jumped more than 8 per cent in October – its best month since July 2009.

The banks were mired deep in the red, as Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds dipped 2.06p to 24.23p and 2.66p to 32.5p, respectively. Barclays fared slightly better after its third-quarter results, although it was still pegged back 5.9p to 195.3p.

The miners were hit by a double blow from the Far East. As well as Japan's attempt to rein back the strength of the yen prompting the dollar to rise and, therefore, commodity prices to drop, the sector was also left behind by pessimistic comments by the China Iron and Steel Association about demand in that country. Vedanta Resources ended up with the wooden spoon, falling 126p to 1,278p, and Kazakhmys moved 89.5p lower to 927.5p.

There was little bid chatter to get excited about. Dealers desperate for a gossip turned to the US, where vague speculation suggested that the retailer Bed Bath & Beyond might become a takeover target.

In fact, the main topic of conversation was MF Global (spun out of Man Group in 2007) as the futures broker filed for bankruptcy in New York. Despite Man clarifying that it now has no links with MF Global, the world's largest hedge fund still retreated by 3.5p to 149.9p as market voices noted increasing nervousness ahead of next Thursday's interim results.

Homeserve was in a severe state of disrepair on the FTSE 250, slumping 27.88 per cent to 350p. The insurer, which describes itself as the "fifth emergency service", had suspended sales at the weekend amid mis-selling concerns, following an internal review and one conducted by Deloitte.

An expansion to a project in Equatorial Guinea helped Ophir Energy, with the oil and gas explorer rising by 3p to 267.4p. At the other end, New World Resources continued its recent volatile run. After seeing its share price rise by a fifth last week, the miner fell back 77p, or 12.88 per cent, to 521p.

William Hill dropped 6.3p to 216p after the Numis Securities analyst Ivor Jones scorned the bookie's claims that problems at its online operations in Israel had been successfully resolved. Mr Jones warned: "The consequences will not be clear for some months."

The news that Visa Europe had taken a 8.8 per cent stake in Monitise pushed the mobile payments provider up 2.75p to 38p on the Alternative Investment Market. The gossips were claiming that a similar situation could happen with its peers Earthport (which rose 0.5p to 18.5p) and Western Union, with the two having announced last month that they were working together.

The small-cap insurance consultancy Charles Taylor slipped 12p to 132p after admitting it would just fail to meet its full-year expectations. On the fledgling index, the office supplies group office2office blamed government cuts for the fact that it was also on course to miss its targets. Its shares duly fell 10.5p to 148.5p.

There was better news from the drug-maker Skyepharma, which rose 12p, or 24.49 per cent, to 61p after getting approval for its anaesthetic product Exparel from the US Food and Drug Administration.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'I felt like that was the lowest I’d ever felt'
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
Life and Style
techCriminals are targeting an e-reader security flaw
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
tech... and together they're worth at least £100 million
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Life and Style
fashion
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Travel
news This video may make you think twice about ever taking the Tube again
Life and Style
A spider is seen in its web on September 16, 2014 in Hohen Meissner, Germany.
tech The 'Spider in Da House' app has been developed by scientists to tackle arachnophobia
Life and Style
fashionIncredibly, it hasn't been branded 'Will.eye.am'
News
A plane flies close to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano
newsAnd yes, it's quite something
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch
artAnd it's even for a good cause
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Sales Executive

£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...

Payroll & Accounts Assistant

£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week