Market Report: Credit Suisse advises clients to steer clear of Britain's beleaguered supermarkets


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The Independent Online

Credit Suisse’s number-crunchers did not pull any punches in their analysis of Britain’s beleaguered supermarkets: “We see few opportunities within a group that has historically misallocated capital, is faced with extreme competitive pressures and operates in a very low-growth environment,” they said.

The broker is advising clients to steer clear, with underperform ratings on Tesco, down 3.45p at 208.05p, and Sainsbury’s, down 0.7p to 259.9p. Morrisons, which has borne the brunt of competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, avoided being put on the sell list but still fell 2.3p to 175.3p.

Grocery delivery firm Ocado was the only company in the sector to emerge unscathed, climbing 7.6p to 383.6p after Credit Suisse slapped an outperform rating and 466p price tag on the stock.

Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, reckons the US data “is still blowing hot and cold… You can pick out things which are very much rate-rise positive, but you can also easily pick out things which point to the contrary,” he argued.

The FTSE 100 reflected the cautious tone, losing 29.55 points at 6,680.55.

A strong set of annual results from Berkeley Group, up 323p to 3,481p, lifted rival blue-chip housebuilders Persimmon and Barratt Developments up 32p to 1,991p and 9p to 618.5p respectively.

Insurance outsourcer Innovation Group rose 1p or 3 per cent to 32.5p as it unveiled a contract with an unnamed “Tier One” insurer, worth £46m over 10 years.

Anite, up 24.5p to 127.5p, accepted a £388m takeover offer from Keysight Technologies, once part of the Hewlett-Packard empire. The equipment-testing group has suffered as large clients such as Blackberry, Nokia and Motorola have been forced to cancel orders amid cost-cutting drives.

Luke Johnson of Pizza Express fame sold £12.6m worth of shares in Patisserie Holdings, the AIM-listed company behind the Patisserie Valerie chain.

The restaurant entrepreneur, who has just invested £1.5m in Eclectic Bar Group, now owns 38.6 per cent of Patisserie, down 0.75p at 311.25p.