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Cobham's year of woe may be ending, says broker Exane

It is doubtful of a pick-up next year though suggests Cobham as a potential recovery play if new management’s plan is appreciated by investors.

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Exane looks at Cobham on Tuesday

Engineer Cobham’s (LON:COB) year of woe may be coming to an end according to French broker Exane, but it is hardly rushing to advise an investment.

It is doubtful of a pick-up next year though suggests Cobham as a potential recovery play if new management’s plan is appreciated by investors.

The broker upgrades the share to 'neutral', but the price target remains 140p.

Meanwhile, the putative £70bn takeover of Time Warner by AT&T has thrust two UK media stocks front and centre stage, according to two leading UK brokers.

Peel Hunt reckons the weakness of the pound leaves ITV PLC (LON:ITV) and Sky PLC (LON:SKY) vulnerable to an opportunistic bid – although it doesn’t specify where takeover approaches might come from.

Counting against them being taken out is the fact that both have influential major shareholders.

In the case of the satellite broadcaster it is Fox, while Britain’s leading commercial TV group has Liberty Global on its register.

“Investors need to weigh the possibility of deteriorating near-term fundamentals, against strategic value and possible capital returns,” said Peel Hunt analyst Alex DeGroote.

He rates ITV a buy up to 330p, almost double the current share price. The analyst pointed out there is scope to for the company to hand back £250mln to investors.

Whitbread plc (LON:WTB) shares fell today and broker Panmure repeated a hold' stance on the firm, saying although the half year numbers slightly beat expectations, the outlook is cautious.

Earlier the firm said market share was growing in both Premier Inn and Costa Coffee but the latter's underlying operating profit fell 4% in the period due to increased investments, including the living wage.

Panmure analyst Anna Barnfather said on the group as a whole that LFL (like-for-like) sales of 2% was an improvement from 1.8% in the first quarter.

But she notes this is increasingly being driven by room extensions rather than RevPAR (revenues per available room) or like-for-like sales at Costa -  hence is likely to be a drag on returns.

To mining, and in an example of how a weak pound boosts valuations of miners, Petra Diamonds PLC’ (LON:PDL) target price has been raised to 150p, from 120p, by Citigroup.

Nothing hugely has changed in Citi’s thinking about the diamond miner.

The broker adds yesterday’s first quarter was in line with forecasts at 745,000ct volume sales and production of 1.1Mct.

Citi also still expects 2018 to be the inflection year when cash starts to come in and dividends start to be paid out.

Finally, builders merchant Travis Perkins plc (LON:TPK) is fixing its leaky plumbing, says broker Liberum, which rates shares  a 'buy'.

In the recent third quarter numbers, the hit the group took in the plumbing and heating division should not overshadow a decent performance in the three other divisions, where growth accelerated and profits are on track, highlighted analyst Charlie Campbell.

Last week, the Wickes owner said sales in three months to end September rose by 3.4% as consumer sales jumped by 9.1% or by 6.8% like-for-like.

It also revealed it would close 30 UK branches and shed 600 staff.

Liberum lowers the target to 1650p for the shares from 1825p and has cut pre-tax profit estimates by 4% in 2016 and 10% in 2017, but still sees over 20% upside.

Credit Suisse also today repeats an 'outperform' on the shares and targets 1925p down from 1950p.

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