London - Arabstoday
Every man and his dog uses the internet these days either to tweet or for social networking. The quicker the better.The next generation of high-speed internet access is likely to deliver broadband speeds of around 100 megabytes per second. It uses fibre-optic cable to deliver data and is generally considered to be the only real way to be able to cope with users’ demands.
Fibre broadband is being developed in the UK by BT (1.8p easier at 199.7p) and Virgin Media (25p off at 1520p) and some analysts believe it could spell bad news for profit margins at BSkyB, 10.5p cheaper at 697.5p.
Analyst John Karidis at Oriel Securities has initiated coverage on the satellite group with a reduce rating as he believes Sky will have to start retailing fibre volume early this year.
The wholesale cost of fibre is twice the equivalent cost of copper, and passing this on to customers will cut much of the retail price advantage Sky has had over BT since it started selling broadband in 2006. The cost to serve its broadband customers will jump.
Investec moved BSkyB to hold from buy, suggesting the next two quarters could be dominated by negative news. The broker slashed its target price to £7 from 760p.
Tesco provided the day’s biggest shock, crashing 61.55p or 16 per cent to 323.45p on a profits warning following its worst Christmas trading for 20 years.
Many dealers feel a trifle sorry for chief executive Philip Clarke and believe he was given a ‘hospital pass’ by old boss Sir Terry Leahy, who stood down in March last year after trousering £5million plus in share options – when the shares were changing hands at £4. It has been downhill ever since.
Tesco’s performance dragged down the rest of the food retailing sector and the market with Wm Morrison closing 18.1p down at 285.9p, J Sainsbury 16.2p off at 285.9p and Marks & Spencer 6.5p cheaper at 315.6p.
The Footsie lost an initial 29 point gain to close 8.4 points lower at 5,662.42. Early demand followed relief that Spain and Italy had moved away from bailout territory after both easily managed to sell debt in their respective bond auctions.
Spain sold nearly twice the amount of 2015 and 2016 debt it had offered, and yields fell to 3.912 per cent for 2016 debt. Italy also sold six-month and 12-month debt with yields of 1.644 per cent and 2.735 per cent respectively.
As expected, the Bank of England left UK interest rates on hold at 0.5 per cent for the 34th consecutive month and maintained the size of its Asset Purchase Programme at £275billion.
Wall Street lost 37 points in early trading. UK taxpayer-owned banks made progress on the eurozone auction news with Royal Bank of Scotland 1.21p dearer at 23p and Lloyds Banking Group 0.98p better at 29.15p.
Platinum miner Lonmin, in which Xstrata (18p up at 1068p) still sits on 24 per cent of the equity, jumped 26.5p to 985p. Shrugging off a Nomura reduce recommendation, insurance giant Prudential rose 7p to 667p.
The broker estimated that the Pru is trading at a 32 per cent premium to its break-up value. It thinks a slowdown in the US will put increasing pressure on its valuation. The broker’s top sector pick is Legal & General, 2.3p dearer at 112.1p.
Advertising group Aegis firmed a penny to 146.6p after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its Conviction Buy List. Itreckons it is the sector’s only realistic bid target; the sale of Synovate makes this easier and there are three major groups which could now buy it.
Reflecting its return to profitability in the second-half of the year, international architect Aukett Fitzroy Robinson improved 0.25p to 3.75p. The forward order book remains above £80million.
A bullish trading update and news that the company expects double-digit earnings growth for the half-year helped Regenersis, a strategic outsourcing partner to many of the world’s leading consumer technology companies, put on a penny to 65.5p. Panmure says the shares are significantly undervalued and have a target price of 104p.
Recruitment and consultancy company ReThink edged up 0.25p to 8.5p following an in-line trading update. The company expects pre-tax profits to be in excess of £1.81million, up from £0.92million in 2010.
Alexander Mining put on 0.5p to 5.12p after being granted a 20-year patent for its copper-containing ore leaching method, which the company called a significant step in protecting its AmmLeach technology. Broker Ambrian Partners rate the stock a speculative buy.
AIM-listed Kazakhstan-focused copper exploration company Frontier Mining firmed 0.1p to 2.8p on hearing that Russian bank Sberbank has signed an agreement to provide a loan and credit facility to KazCopper, Frontier’s wholly owned subsidiary, to the value of £18.9million.