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Investors should run from Sports Direct, Peel Hunt reckons

Investors should run from Sports Direct, Peel Hunt reckons
Picture: Marco Prati /

Peel Hunt has just started coverage on Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and it doesn’t make for pretty reading.

The broker said: “While the poor level of disclosure makes regional analysis almost impossible, it is clear that across the retail empire, like-for-like sales growth has been hard to come by; that is disappointing given that trainers and sportswear are such growth markets.”

It reckons a value-adding acquisition is required, and soon, but the rush could cause problems for management, especially with its most recent buy, Eybl in Austria, proving to be much harder work than anticipated.

The broker initiated coverage with a ‘sell’ rating, stating that “the risks outweigh the potential”.

Goldman Sachs upgraded Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LON:HIK) to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’, and lifted its price target to 2,840p from 2,210p.

The drug maker has been in focus recently following its US$2.6bn acquisition of Roxane, a US generic drug firm, and Goldman is the latest finance group to turn positive in its outlook.

Elsewhere, as oil prices remain volatile BP (LON:BP.) was downgraded to ‘underperform’ from ‘neutral’ by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

JP Morgan sees a 9% dent in Go-Ahead’s (LON:GOG) earnings due to a “spluttering” performance of its buses division.

“While the rail business came in ahead of expectations, the bus divisions were slightly behind, and worsening conditions with respect to roadworks and passenger numbers led to management delaying its £100m bus operating profit target,” analyst Jolyton Wellington said in a note.

The American bank highlighted that Go Ahead currently has a premium rating in its sector, as it repeated a ‘neutral’ recommendation and reduced its price target to 2,585p from 2,768p.

Royal Bank of Canada upgraded insurer Hiscox (LON:HSX) to ‘sector perform’ from ‘underperform’ and increased its price target to 645p from 607p.

In small caps, VSA Capital reckons Asiamet Resources’ (LON:ARS) chief exective topping up his stake is “a particularly positive sign”.

Tony Manini bought 3.5mln shares for £45,000 taking his stake to 2.9%.


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