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RBS still 'mired' in legacy issues

RBS still 'mired' in legacy issues
A look at some broker analysis on the day

Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) was top loser on Footsie on Friday, though an improved performance in core divisions, did cause some cheer.

Appropriately for the time of year, George Salmon, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the bad bank remained a "horror story".

The state controlled lender earlier said it wouldn't hit cost and return targets to the time-table set out two years ago and blamed the “low interest rate, low growth environment”.

“Whilst we remain committed to achieving our long term cost-to-income ratio and returns targets, set out in 2014, we now do not expect to achieve these by 2019 as previously indicated,” RBS  said.

In the first nine months of 2016, RBS made a £2.5bn loss after incurring a £469m loss in the third quarter.

For the September quarter, it posted adjusted operating profits of £1.33bn, up from £716mln previously.

"Shaking hands on more commercial loans and mortgages is certainly good news, but the much maligned bad bank keeps attracting problems," said Salmon.

The £190m write down from the shipping portfolio is the latest in a line of impairments in recent years. Restructuring charges and losses are set to come in above the bank’s previous expectations for the full year, with the protracted disposal of Williams & Glyn again weighing on the group," he added.

“Royal Bank of Scotland continues to be mired by ‘legacy issues’ which pushed it into the red in the three months to the end of September," said Russ Mould at AG Bell.

ITV is 'outperform' says Credit Suisse

Elsewhere in analyst land, Credit Suisse repeats an 'outperform' rating on broadcaster ITV (LON:ITV) but culls the target price following a lowering of expectations on advertising spend this year.

Media buyers have significantly lowered forecasts for 2016 to negative 3%, from negative 1.3% previously, notes analyst Sophie Bell.

Earlier this week, ITV announced plans to cut jobs due to economic uncertainty particularly after the Brexit vote and total advertising revenues across the industry are set to decline by up to 2%.

For ITV, Credit Suisse has lowered its net advertising revenue (NAR) growth forecast for 2016 to negative 3.3% from negative 1.4% and 2017 NAR to minus 6% from minus 3%.

Berenberg lifts target on Just Eat

Just East plc (LON:JE.), the takeaway app, has had its price target forked up to 600p from 530p previously by German bank Berenberg,  which repeats a 'buy'.

Meanwhile, heavyweight Goldman has repeated a 'buy' on the grocery delivery firm and targets 450p a share - a huge distance from the current price of 280.8p.

Liberum says 'hold' IAG

City broker Liberum rates shares a 'hold'  for British Airways owner IAG (LON:IAG), which released third quarter numbers today.

Liberum said the September quarter were "in line" with the broker's forecasts and consensus.

The weakness in sterling cost the group €162m (£145mln) in the quarter of the year and operating profits fell 4%.

Willie Walsh, chief executive, said it had been a  tough operating environment but noted that the group's unit revenue performance was better than in the second quarter and  quarterly profit after tax was €970 million before exceptional items - an improvement of 9.9% compared to last year.

On the broker's estimates, IAG trades on a price -to-earnings ratio of 5.4 times' on 2016 estimates, rising to 6.2 for 2017.

"These multiples are a material discount to the group’s historic trading range and its European network carrier peers," it says.

"We struggle to see how a discount valuation is justified."

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