Market Report: Sainsbury's set for top shelf Christmas

 

The battle of the supermarkets will enter a new round ahead of Christmas, and City scribblers think Sainsbury's will be having a jolly festive period while Morrisons could be decidedly lacklustre.

The grocery expert Clive Black at Shore Capital said: "If patterns currently evident continue... the Christmas winners will be Aldi and Sainsbury."

He takes his "hat off to Sainsbury's management" as the supermarket group is gaining market share and "sustaining outperformance momentum that is likely to sustain the stock's premium rating to Morrisons and Tesco".

Mr Black cites Nielsen's market share data for the four weeks to 13 October which showed Sainsbury's up 6.6 per cent and Waitrose up 7.8 per cent, but Morrisons is "still materially underperforming" with implied sales down 0.5 per cent.

Black retained his hold rating on Sainsbury's shares at 354p and reiterated his sell stance on Morrisons with a target share price of 276p. Sainsbury's shares checked in a 1.6p rise to 354.2p and Morrison's lost 0.3p to 267p.

General retailer Marks & Spencer was also on Black's shopping list, with a buy rating and a share price target at 388p. It edged up 1.6p to 389.7p.

Takeover rumours continued to circulate around the pharmaceutical industry ahead of results from AstraZeneca today. Chatter has it that since Astra – down 15.5p to 2884.5p – needs to restock its drug pipeline and is taking a long look at US drug group Amarin. But it will have competition from GlaxoSmithKline and US-based Eli Lilly.

Talking of mergers – well, failed ones – Morgan Stanley's analysts cast their eye over BAE Systems after its abortive Eads deal. They give the defence group a price target of 335p and resumed coverage with a hold rating, but added: "With the US elections fast approaching and little clarity on budgets likely in the near term, we see limited re-rating potential in BAE. However, speculation over M&A is likely to provide some support." BAE glided up 6.5p to 312.2p.

Scribes at Bernstein got radical and proposed: "Vodafone and Verizon: Is the unthinkable thinkable… who better than Vodafone to see the writing on the wall for a premium operator in a structurally declining market? The time may be right for it to relinquish its 45 per cent stake," Bernstein claims. Vodafone lost 2.55p to 172.45p.

In some quarters mining companies have been hated almost as much as bankers. There's been violence in South Africa, investor turmoil at Nat Rothschild's coal miner Bumi and the ongoing Glencore/Xstrata saga.

Now analysts reckon we should sell shares in miners who hunt for gold.

Investec's Hunter Hillcoat has published a note: "Time to take a breather (take profits)," slapping a downgrade on Africa- focused Randgold Resources and Centamin and reiterating his view on African Barrick Gold – no better than a hold. Back in the summer he said it was good to buy but since then "gold equities have performed well, appreciating by an average 28 per cent", he said. "Though we are raising our estimates and price targets, given the sector's outperformance, we now recommend that investors take profits at current levels, on the basis of buying again at lower levels."

Egypt's Centamin, which Mr Hillcoat gave a share price target of 106p, saw its shares drop 0.7p to 97.4p, and Randgold, with a share price target of 7,715p, lost 50p to 7,380p. African Barrick Gold, with a target price of 530p, gained 6.8p to 486.4p.

The FTSE 100 index was bumpy, and tried to regain some of yesterday's losses despite eurozone concerns continuing. The benchmark index was propped up by better-than-expected figures from China; manufacturing might contract at a more moderate pace in October than thought. The index edged up by 6.87 points to 5804.78.

On the mid-cap index, Argos owner Home Retail Group got punters excited with hopes of a turnaround plan. Despite analysts being less than impressed, shares managed a 1.6p gain to 105.7p.

Bloomberg noted online grocer Ocado now tops Home Retail as the most shorted retail stock according to Markit.

On AIM, video search engine blinkx travelled up 4.25p to 53.50p after broker Peel Hunt named it as one of its top media picks in its media report, retaining the buy recommendation and share target price of 101p.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?