Taking Stock

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The Independent Online
Formal, a clothing group flying high at 68p at Christmas, fell 4.5p to a 10p low. By its own admission it is in a "perilous financial position". It is floating, through stockbroker Wise Speke, its one successful operation, Blake Menswear. Other chunks of the group are being sold and Formal intends to concentrate on its Cupid bridal manufacturing business. City whizzkid Hugh Osmond is a director.

Shares of Somerfield, the supermarket group with figures today, should be sold, says Paul Smiddy of Credit Lyonnais Laing. He says shareholders are "like those trainee astronauts in Nasa's so called `vomit comet' - enjoying a bout of weightlessness before profits go down". He expects pounds 103m today; pounds 109m this year and then pounds 95m in 1999.