Market Report: Randgold digs for a glittering future


Should the Ivory Coast be renamed the gold coast? Investors in Randgold Resources thought so as its chief executive, Mark Bristow, laid out the opportunities in the African country for the gold miner.

He said the yellow-metal digger is “aggressively exploring” further opportunities to expand on its Tongon mine in the country. That mine went into production three years ago and Mr Bristow said it is looking at 15 permits to search for further gold elsewhere.

He was bullish for the prospects in the country, but the Cote D’Ivoire government has put the mining code under review and Mr Bristow warned the opportunities only exist if the regulatory framework remains “investor-friendly”.

The Randgold boss declared that the area is under-explored relative to some of its West African peers and the mining company was 212p brighter at 4,851p yesterday – one of the highest risers on the index.

Traders stuck at home and braced for a crash after the storms, were greeted instead with a flat-lining market.

Investors held their nerve, and there was no repeat of the 1987 Great Storm and subsequent London market collapse – the worst two-day fall in its history.

St Jude’s storm hit the UK with winds in excess of 90mph; in 1987, the Stock Exchange was shut on 16 October, the morning after the storm.

Although many traders couldn’t get into work this time round, there was  no panic. Joe Rundle, head of trading at spread-better ETX, said: “It’s a bit of a non-event in the sense that the market has shrugged it off. Some businesses could suffer short-term pain – as some employees are unable to commute to work – but it is unlikely to be a significant hit to earnings in the long term.”

Former City trader David Buik worked during the Great Storm and is now market commentator at Panmure Gordon.

He said: “Overall, it was an absolute breeze in comparison with what we had to deal with in 1987. Not only did we not expect the storm then but we also had to deal with the fallout from the stock-market collapse on  19 October. In three days, equity values fell by 30 per cent in New York and London. It was mayhem.”

The FTSE 100 index edged up 4.48 points to 6,725.82.

Temporary-energy provider Aggreko powered to the top of the Footsie, up 91p to 1,608p after reassuring the City with an in-line set  of numbers.

Drugs group Shire, up 38p to 2,814p, got a shot in the arm from analysts at Goldman Sachs and Citi. Goldman reiterated its buy recommendation and raised the target price to 3,200p from 2,900p; Citi also raised its price target to 3,200p and rated it a buy too.

There were calm waters for insurance group Admiral, as analysts at Numis raised the group to add from reduce.

Numis predicted its international business could help to double pre-tax profit in  10 years.

The business consequently sailed up in morning trade but finished the day steady at 1,240p.

Barclays, down 4.65p to 263.25p, and Lloyds Banking Group, down 0.75p to 79.62p, were both weaker ahead of their trading updates today and tomorrow.

The car-parts maker GKN was not in favour, down 8.1p to 364.1p, but small-cap car retailer Pendragon – the seller of Jaguars and Land Rovers – drove up 1.25p to 39.75p after revealing its full-year profit is on track to beat market expectations.

Traders were queuing up to talk about technology business Netcall yesterday.  The Aim-listed group, which creates software to manage customers such as telephone call centres for the NHS, was said to be expecting a new contract win in the coming weeks.

The stock had lagged recently due to a large seller overhanging the market. Yesterday this was cleared. Although it edged back 0.25p to 44p, traders expected the shares to pick up.

Green Dragon Gas, a China-focused gas group, increased its estimated reserves by 400 per cent following drilling and was 5.5p better at 248p.

Aim-listed medical-equipment group Puricore was 4p better at 50.5p after reporting good third-quarter sales growth.

Buy: ITV

Snap up shares in ITV, Liberum Capital insists. The broker says if the BBC succeeds in charging pay-TV operators for its main channels, this will benefit ITV. ITV could receive £40m a year in fees for ITV1 alone. Liberum says it has no retransmission revenues in its forecasts for ITV1 but it could mean £100m of margin revenue from retransmission. It rates it a buy with a 225p price target for shares that are 191.9p.


Flog shares in Debenhams, Numis advises. The broker has not been a fan of the department store group for a while and after its full year update last week Numis retained its reduce rating for the retailer as it reported the “third consecutive year of UK profit decline”. Numis says it has underperformed and is down by 39 per cent since January. Numis is concerned by the “declining UK operation and pressure from the online shift”, and gave it an 80p price target for shares that are 99.3p.


Hang on to Aggreko, Peel Hunt suggests. The broker agrees that there were no surprises in its third quarter update yesterday and says the temporary power supplier is “high quality stock” with “strong management, excellent global positions and inherent cash generation capabilities” but there are “near-term headwinds” so they rate it a hold with a 1,700p price target for shares that are 1,608p.

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