Unilever surfing a volatile world - Deutsche

Deutsche has picked today to remind investors how good consumer giant Unilever is.

Love it, hate it - but Unilever results were good, says Deutsche

Deutsche has picked today to remind investors how good consumer goods giant Unilever (LON:ULVR) really is.

It rates the shares a 'buy' and pumps up the price target to 3,350p from 3,250p, saying the  stock is successfully surfing along in a volatile world, after full year results were...well,. 'good'.

As an example, Deutsche notes that it is easy to forget that at this time last year, the prospects for EMs (emerging markets) looked bleak, and within that context, Unilever had set itself the aim to grow somewhere between 2-4% like-for-like.

"It achieved 4.1% and through the course of the year, EM volumes growth has nearly tripled from c.1% to c.3%," notes analyst Harold Thompson.

Yesterday, the FTSE100 group, whose brands include Marmite, Pot Noodle, and Dove soap, said turnover in 2015 rose 10% to €53.3bn, while underlying operating profit lifted 12% to €7.9bn.

Also in brokerland midweek, challenger bank Aldermore (LON:ALD) gets a boost from Credit Suisse, which has upgraded the shares to 'outperform' from 'neutral'.

Meanwhile, analysts at Barclays have been shopping around and given online retailer Boohoo (LON:BOO) an upgrade to 'overweight' from 'equalweight'.

The target price moves to 45p from 34p after the firm's Christmas trading numbers.

Analyst Christodoulos Chaviaras said: "Positive sales momentum, more flexible/realistic margin targets, better clarity on capex plans and improved management communication combine to bring a noticeable improvement in Boohoo's investment thesis and mark steady progress in restoring investors' confidence."

The broker has raised growth estimates by 4% and is now 8% above Reuters consensus EPS in the next three years, it notes.

Also today, Barclays upgrades its general retail sector view to 'neutral' from 'negative'.

German heavyweight bank Berenberg has downgraded Quinetiq (LON:QQ.) to 'sell' from 'hold' and reduced the target price by 20p to 210p.

It produces a tome on the UK arerospace and defence market and says the firm is under pressure from forthcoming margin pressure, negative earnings growth of minus 3% for 2017 and 2018 estimates and 'anaemic' organic growth potential.

Principally, as a result of forthcoming single-source regulatory changes, we estimate an EBIT impact in FY 2017/18E of £3.3m/£9.0m respectively," it said.

In small caps, Summit Therapeutics (LON:SUMM) has been awarded a European patent for ridinilazole -  its new antibiotic for hospital superbug C.Difficile.

Broker N+1 Singer said it remained positive on the group’s future prospects following the news.

"Recurrent disease represents a key clinical issue with around 30% of patients at risk of recurrent disease after the initial episode. Ridinilazole met its primary objective in a Phase II trial in November, demonstrating a superior sustained clinical response to standard treatment. Summit is currently evaluating all options for progressing ridinilazole into Phase III trials and we look forward to an update in due course," said analyst Sheena Berry.

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