Market Report: N Brown looking good, says the City

City analysts were thinking big yesterday – Credit Suisse said plus-size fashion group N Brown is a good investment on the grounds of its expanding business. N Brown owns catalogue and online clothing brands Simply Be and Jacamo, which cater for larger sizes, as well as the lingerie business Figleaves. Credit Suisse's Guillaume Gauville said the "traditional credit-driven mail order business" can be "transformed into a more competitive and profitable apparel company with scalability overseas".

The group has just welcomed a new chief executive, Angela Spindler. Previously chief executive of The Original Factory Shop, she joined last month, and Credit Suisse thinks she and the team will grow its website and market share in the US, and improve margins.

The shares may already look expensive – they are up 45 per cent so far this year – but Mr Gauville reckons the broker sees "a long-term rerating, given the opportunity for the new management team". He raised the target price to 620p, from 455p. The market appeared to agree, and the shares expanded 25p to 563.5p.

Across the wider market, fears about growth slowing in emerging markets and worries that the US will soon begin reducing monetary stimulus kept the benchmark index in the red. The FTSE 100 index lost 62.62 points to 6,390.84.

Glencore Xstrata rose 7.6p to 304.75p to end at the top of the blue-chip table as the commodity giant rebounded after it wrote off nearly $8bn-worth of, mainly Xstrata, assets on Tuesday.

Standard Life got an upgrade from analysts at both Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Bank of America rated it neutral, up from underperform, and the insurer advanced 1.7p to 344.6p.

On the flip side, Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels Group was bottom of the blue-chips after going ex-dividend, and checked out 133p to 1,845p.

The City failed to take seriously threats by Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, of an overhaul at Serco and G4S as shares in the businesses barely wavered. Mr Grayling said the two security groups need "corporate renewal" if they are ever to be considered for Government contracts again.

Both are under investigation for overcharging the Government for security tagging of prisoners but the Square Mile decided they have been punished enough. Serco shed 6.5p to 608p and G4S slipped 1.3p to 244.6p in a falling market.

Analysts at Panmure Gordon looked more favourably on rival Capita as it won one of the Government's electronic tagging contracts after Serco and G4S pulled out. Panmure raised the outsourcer to hold from sell, and upped its price target to 950p. Panmure said Capita's move into justice and defence "could also take the business into new international markets", and is good news for the group. But the City had yet to agree, and the shares lost 8.5p to 988.5p.

For those looking for a flutter, Nomura said it was time to place your bets on the bookies. The broker's Richard Stuber and his team rated William Hill a buy "for dominance in mobile and its Australian strategy", and preferred it to betting group rival Ladbrokes, which they rated reduce because it had "lagged behind materially" on the online front. Ladbrokes dipped 2.5p to 195p while William Hill was steady at 432p.

While eyes were on the drama of the bribery scandals in China unfold in the pharmaceuticals world, some traders decided there will be some takeover activity soon. Shire has long been the target of overseas interest but erroneous rumours circulated yesterday that Swiss drug maker Novartis is eyeing pulmonary drug specialist Vectura. The UK small-cap group added 7.75p to 102.75p.

The TV baking star Mary Berry is a fan of Aga cookers but it was a rise in orders that warmed the shares yesterday. Aga Rangemaster reported flat sales for the first half but analysts at Numis said it had also revealed a "significant improvement through the period with order intake … up 5 per cent in the second quarter". The shares were 10.5p hotter at 114.25p.

On AIM, explorer San Leon Energy said it had completed two additional tests for gas at its Siciny-2 field in Poland, and the shares jetted up 0.15p to 5.95p.

Henderson Global Investors took a 10.31 per cent stake in manufacturer Versarien but the shares were static at 12p.

Mining tiddler Armadale Capital said it has invested in the Mpokoto Gold Project in Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and managed to glister 0.0025p brighter at 0.085p. Rare Earth Minerals reported good results from a drilling programme on the Fleur-El Sauz lithium project, in northern Mexico and the shares were 0.19p better at 0.368p.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit