Market Report: Sparkle returns to luxury brands
Its handbags may sell for several hundred pounds, but shares in Mulberry are considerably cheaper, especially over the past couple of months. The luxury goods brand – which recently named a bag after US singer Lana del Rey – has very much fallen out of fashion, with its share price having been cut in half since May.
Partly to blame for the sharp fall was a disappointing set of results last month, when bosses revealed the start of the new financial year had seen sales growth fall dramatically. Its blue-chip rival Burberry's admission on Wednesday that it has also seen a slowdown hasn't helped, while nor have growing fears over the economy in China, a major market for the luxury sector.
Yesterday, however, Mulberry's fall was being attacked as overdone after Panmure Gordon's Philip Dorgan urged punters to snap up the shares. Reiterating his target price of 2,000p, the analyst highlighted the fact that the company's last update actually showed a significant acceleration in sales growth over the preceding six weeks, adding that he believed "this improved trend has continued".
In addition, he argued that concerns over China should not be taken so seriously given Mulberry currently only has one shop in Beijing and that "this continues to trade well".
With Mr Dorgan also repeating his belief that the company "has the product craftsmanship, design, innovation and quality to become a major global brand", it managed to climb 37p to 1,287p on Aim, although it still has a long way to go before getting near May's all-time high of 2,472p.
At the same time Burberry advanced 71p to 1,229p. It was one of the stocks to benefit from the latest Chinese GDP data which showed the country's slowdown was not worse than expected while still being bad enough to stoke hopes of further stimulus measures ahead.
The figures also boosted the miners, including Kazakhmys,42.5p stronger at 744p, and Eurasian Natural Resources, 15.2p stronger at 408.8p. The broker ING was arguing the former would rather swap its stake in the latter for other assets– such as Kazzinc, the zinc subsidiary of Glencore, 7p higher at 316.65p, instead of selling it for cash.
Meanwhile, Polymetal International ended up as the top blue-chip performer, jumping 56p to 877p after the Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut, who owns 10 per cent of the gold digger, called for its dividend to be increased. The FTSE 100 was lifted 57.88 points to 5,666.13, with just nine stocks ending the session in the red. G4S was one of them – the security services giant slipped back 4.3p to 278.7p as it continued to be hit by the fall-out from its Olympics failure.
After the media stocks benefited on Thursday from the news that ad agency Aegis, up 0.2p to 235.5p, is being snapped up by Japan's Dentsu, ITV – a constant subject of takeover rumours itself – was still going strong. The broadcaster powered up 2.7p to 74.95p as Berenberg's analysts kept their "overweight" rating on the stock.
Booker's share price has added almost 25 per cent this year, but yesterday the cash-and-carry wholesaler was heading south. While Shore Capital praised it as both an "excellent company" and "a market leader in its field", analysts from the broker calculated that following its rise only a handful of consumer companies in the world, including Coca-Cola and Guinness-brewer Diageo, up 14p to 1,679p, now had a higher earnings rating.
As a result, they decided to switch their recommendation to "sell", which saw Booker dip 2.35p to 88.95p. However, they did have plenty of praise for its boss Charles Wilson, who they said "may in time enter a hall of fame that contains the likes of Sir Kenneth Morrison, Sir Terry Leahy, Lord Sainsbury and Archie Norman".
At the other end of the mid-tier index, Petropavlovsk raced up 36.6p to 461.6p, although traders weren't getting too excited – despite the huge jump, the Russian miner's share price has finished the week almost exactly where it started it.
Down on Aim, oil explorer Bayfield Energy spurted up 5.5p to 18.5p after announcing a well in its Trintes field off the shore of Trinidad had been brought on production.
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