Market Report: To value AB Foods, you must look at the sum of its parts... the 'jewel' isPrimark

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The Independent Online

The City can be fickle, and after falling out of love with cheap clothes to bread maker Associated British Foods on Tuesday, yesterday the love affair was back on.

At least five analysts formed an orderly queue to praise the Primark to Kingsmill group, a day after it lost 2 per cent as investors worried its sugar unit is dragging on growth.

But AB Foods was 61p sweeter at 2,269p yesterday as scribblers focused on its long-term prospects – namely the international potential of Primark. The Bangladesh garment factory disaster hasn't put off shoppers, and its growth continues to be phenomenal. UBS said "the best way to value AB Foods is to look at the sum of its parts… the 'jewel' is Primark".

Another stock to benefit from a change of heart by analysts was security group G4S. Positive comments from JPMorgan's experts – helped it top the benchmark index, up 7.8p at 257.5p.

The wider market followed positive European sentiment ahead of today's European Central Bank update. But the FTSE 100 finished down 5.15 points at 6,741.69.

Blue-chip heavyweight Vodafone benefited from continued talk of a bid from the US telecoms giant AT&T, dialing up 2.35p to 230.6p, while a jump in monthly passenger numbers at Easyjet, up 11p at 1,214p, also helped British Airways owner IAG and Tui Travel rise 4.7p to 349.8p and 8.5p to 383.6p respectively.

Experian, however, dropped 81p to 1,182p as it said conditions were subdued in some emerging markets and revealed it had paid £528m for a US healthcare firm Passport Health Commnunications.

On the mid-tier table, the worst performer was gold miner Centamin, down 2.5p to 48.3p. News that shareholder Nyota Minerals has cut its stake weighed even as it reported gold production for the third-quarter was up 39 per cent year on year.

The pubs group JD Wetherspoon rose 7.5p to 720p as it reported a comparable sales rise of 3.7 per cent and said it will continue to open new pubs.

Hovis and Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods confirmed it has appointed Ondra Partners to look at options to sell its bread business and it gobbled up 4.5p to 144.5p.