Market Report: The wind is blowing in Virgin Money's direction


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The Independent Online

The wind is blowing in Virgin Money’s direction and its sails are full. That’s UBS’s verdict, as it kicked off coverage of the challenger bank with a bullish buy recommendation.

UBS believes Virgin Money is well poised for growth, thanks to broad political support for competition in the banking sector and a consumer-led UK recovery that could boost its credit card and mortgage businesses. On top of this, the bank has no legacy issues and has a sturdy balance sheet that can cope with regulatory changes and even has room for a divi. Virgin Money jumped 12.7p to 406.3p.

British Airways’s owner IAG was the Footsie’s biggest riser yesterday thanks to an upgrade from Morgan Stanley. The bank reiterated its view that BA-owner IAG  is the best carrier in Europe, saying the gap between it and others is only increasing. IAG flew 21.5p higher to 613.5p.

Traders were bullish on housebuilders, as Persimmon gained 41p to 1716p, Taylor Wimpey improved 2p to 156.6p, Barratt Developments rose 8.5p to 542p and Redrow put on 4.4p to 344.4p.

Associated British Foods, which owns Primark, dropped 86p to 2925p as Credit Suisse cut its earnings forecasts to reflect the continued weakness of the euro.

The FTSE 100 slipped below record levels, closing down 17.99 points at 7019.68.

Eastern European door-to-door lender International Personal Finance climbed 36p to 504.5p as Berenberg gave it a bump. The German investment bank thinks recent share price weakness, caused by foreign exchange and regulatory worries, present a good opportunity to snap up shares at a bargain.

Just Eat’s venture capital backers are selling out, with notice yesterday that Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Vitruvian Partners have all sold down their holdings in the last week. The news didn’t put off buyers and Just Eat rose 20.4p to 378p.

Waste management business Augean climbed 6.75p to 48.75p on AIM thanks to a 22 per cent rise in pre-tax profit, a 26 per cent rise in revenue and a 43 per cent dividend hike.