Broker spotlight - Tesco,. Lloyds, Aldermore, HSBC, Horizon Discovery ...


Tesco (LON:TSCO) dominated the broker headlines today as former house broker JP Morgan suggested it had a £5bn pensions black hole that it would need new funds to fill.

The troubled supermarket’s results are out Wednesday, but after signs of a revival this is not what new chief executive Dave Lewis needs.

The announcement by David Cameron that a new Tory government would hand back the 22% rump of its stake Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) is seen by Investec as a repeat of a promise already made by the chancellor.

The plan suggests a £4bn offer within the next 12 months at a c.5% discount to the prevailing market price, with additional 1-for-10 retention sweeteners. Hold says the broker.

UK retail banks are a bit of theme today with Deutsche Bank recommending challenger bank Aldermore (LON:ALD), where it sees 31% earnings growth over the next three years. 

Buy with a target price of 290p suggests the broker, though Credit Suisse is much more cautious with a 235p target and neutral stance.

Challenger bank Virgin Money (LON:VM) received an upgrade from Investec which moved its rating from ‘sell’ to ‘hold’.

HSBC (LON:HSBA) and Standard Chartered (LON:STAN) are both reportedly looking at switching from London to a new home in Asia due to a higher tax on UK banks .

Unfortunately, unlike Standard Chartered, there is little likelihood of re-domiciling HSBC despite the levy costing 9% of profits, reckons JP Morgan.

The broker upped its target price on HSBC to 640p with a ‘neutral’ rating, factoring in US$6bn of cost saves outlined by management, but added that the latest rise in UK bank  levy keeps costs above guidance at US$38bn.

JP Morgan also topped up its target price on wealth  manager St James’s Place (LON:STJ) from 924p to 1022p. 

Citi analysts took a look at Diageo (LON:DGE) after the drinks maker came up short with a sales slide last week.

“The third quarter was disappointing, but we not overly concerned however, because the miss was within a reasonable margin of error in our view, on what was a difficult quarter to forecast for some regions.”

Citi added that some factors that affected Q3 should reverse or improve in Q4 and that emerging markets are on an improving trajectory.

BNP Paribas turned bullish on speciality plastics group Victrex (LON:VCT) with an ‘outperform’ rating while Barclays lowered its target price to 2300p on the FTSE 250 firm. 

Panmure Gordon has repeated its buy recommendation on bio group Horizon Discovery (LON:HZD) after today’s collaboration with Thermo Fisher.

Thermo will market and distribute Horizon's X-MAN human haploid and diploid isogenic cell line collection and offer Horizon's X-MAN haploid cell line generation service to Thermo's worldwide customer base. 

The long term follow-up data announced by ReNeuron (LON:RENE) on Friday from its Phase I trial of its stem cell therapy targeting chronic stroke was positive, confirming safety and tolerability plus sustained improvement out to at least 2 years.

Buy with a 6.2p price target said N+1 Singer in what in what promises to be a year of significant news flow for the group.

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