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Broker spotlight II including Medusa Mining, Herencia Resources, Silence Therapeutics, Frontier Mining and Genel Energy

Veteran mining analyst John Meyer, at broker SP Angel, shines a spotlight on Philippines-focused gold miner Medusa Mining (LON:MML) and sees no reason for the firm's share price fall.

Shares have dropped from 300p at the end of March to 111p today - making it one of the biggest fallers in the junior gold sector.

Meyer sticks to his ‘buy’ rating and 450p target price - a price last seen by Medusa shares in October 2011.

Medusa’s reply to ASX Listing Compliance following last week's drop explains that it knows no reason for the share price fall, though it suggested speculation about proposed changes to existing mining taxes in the Philippines could have played a part.

In other coverage, but still in the mining sector, broker WH Ireland kicked off coverage of the AIM-listed Chilean miner Herencia Resources (LON:HER) with a ‘speculative buy’ rating after an exciting month just gone.

Analyst Paul Smith has a 1.12p target price for the shares after the company’s feasibility study for its Patricia deposit, which underlined the economics of the zinc-silver-lead asset. 

The recent joint venture deal announced with OZ Minerals for its Guamanga copper-gold project is also behind his upbeat stance.

SP Angel takes a look at copper miner Frontier Mining (LON:FML) after its operational update today.

The company revealed shipping copper cathode from its Benkala mine in Kazakhstan had started in the first week of June this year.

Since the mine was commissioned in August last year, the plant has produced more than 1,000 tonnes of LME Grade A copper-cathode and shipped and sold around 953 tonnes so far.

Work is also continuing to produce a JORC resource at South Benkala, which lies 10 km south of Benkala, the company said.

SP Angel noted: "A JORC resource at South Benkala will provide a basis to extend the life of the SX-EW plant or to increase capacity with the resource located near the existing licence."

Silence Therapeutics (LON:SLN) told investors today it had successfully negotiated the initial safety assessment of its drug Atu027.

The candidate is being used in combination with gemcitabine, the most common chemotherapy, to treat pancreatic cancer.

Following the update, broker N+1 Singer meanwhile is looking forward to more detail on the company’s plans to broaden development across several types of cancer and other diseases.

“With a proactive management team at its helm and a rational R&D strategy in place, we believe that Silence is well positioned to progress its Phase II trials programme and crystallise the value of its proprietary siRNA technology through partnering deals,” said analyst Jens Lindqvist.

Also under the spotlight today for Deutsche Bank was the house builder sector.

It reckons there is further upside potential for housebuilder stocks, should the government initiative 'Help to Buy' keep its current momentum.

The broker's top picks are Barratt (LON:BDEV) and Taylor Wimpey (LON:TW.), with Bovis (LON:BVS), the favoured mid-cap stock.

The broker also cast its net a bit wider to consider builders’ merchants, noting these have performed strongly since the start of the year, reflecting the more upbeat view of UK economy and its housing market, as well as anticipated restructuring across individual operations and businesses.

From houses to black gold, and US heavyweight broker Citi has upgraded its view on Anglo-Turkish oil firm Genel Energy (LON:GENL) due to changing political landscapes and potential for sustainable exports.

It moves its rating to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ and significantly increased its target price to £11.50 from £8.86.

Analyst Michael Alsford highlights that positive recent developments in Kurdistan, where a tie-up is progressing between the semi-autonomous Iraqi state and neighbouring Turkey, have helped drive a good performance for the shares.

However, broker Cantor Fitzgerald is less positive on Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LON:GKP) today, which is also focused on Kurdistan.

Repeating a 'buy' stance, it has reduced its target price on the stock to 235p from 520p and said: "Despite hopes of a near term resolution and subsequent ratification of an oil law between the Kurdish Regional Government and the Iraqi central government, ongoing disputes continue to plague any relationship between the two governments. 

"With export production a key goal for GKP in the near term, the political instability shows little sign of subsiding. Nevertheless, GKP continues to deliver strong operational results, with further oil discoveries and increasing production rates from Shaikan."

Elsewhere, if engineering software group Aveva (LON:AVV) can gain traction with its E3D software for large projects, then it should have good potential to lift full year 2015 and 2016 earnings per share (EPS), reckons the broker Citi.

The broker has upped its rating to 'buy' on the stock from 'neutral' saying the company is a quality business with a strong market position.

It puts a target price of £24.50 on the shares.

Heavyweight broker JP Morgan Cazenove is upbeat on pub group Greene King (LON:GNK) today -  lifting its price target on the stock by 120p to 860p.

The broker is raising a glass after the firm bought back one tranche of its securitised debt, thereby avoiding the interest rate increase, which comes into effect this week.

The rate rise will only affect the company from full year 2014 and beyond, notes analyst Victoria A Greer.

She adds that following price moves across the pub sub-sector, the broker's target price on Greene King moves upward. The stock is rated 'overweight'.

Meanwhile, Whitbread's (LON:WTB) first quarter numbers have not done much to inspire City firm Investec, despite growth at the Costa coffee chain continuing to drive growth at the group.

Analyst James Hollins reckons the shares (which have steadily risen in recent weeks) have tracked well ahead of fair value and the broker keeps its 'sell' stance.

The pubs and restaurant giant revealed earlier that group sales in the 13 weeks to May 30 were up 13.8%, while like-for-like (LFL) sales rose 3.1%, beating analyst expectations.

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