FTSE 100 movers: BT rallies but AstraZeneca hit by report of CEO departure
(ShareCast News) - London's FTSE 100 was down 0.1% to 7,413.15 in afternoon trade.
BT Group rallied on the back of a positive note from Numis, which initiated coverage of the stock at 'buy' with a 390p target price.
"Earlier this year the company and Ofcom gave many BT shareholders much heartache, but at current levels we believe the share price discounts some incredible assumptions. Most importantly, we believe only BT's Openreach is prepared to deliver the scale, all-fibre infrastructure Britain wants, but it will not spend NPV-negative capex. So forecasts of much extra capex but no extra returns are excessively bearish," it said.
Also on Thursday, regulator Ofcom said it will establish a separate unit to monitor the performance of the company's broadband network operator Openreach.
The regulator announced measures to ensure Openreach will be held to account, as it becomes legally separate from BT, so it delivers for both phone and broadband users.
Marks & Spencer was on the front foot after LondonMetric Property bought two of its stores in Newport, Isle of Wight and Kendal, Lancashire for £24.6m.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey was boosted by an upgrade to 'overweight' at Global House.
Going the other way, AstraZeneca was under the cosh following a report that its chief executive officer Pascal Soriot is leaving the company to go to Teva Pharmaceuticals.
Paddy Power was hit by a downgrade to 'hold' from 'add' at Numis.
"Paddy Power Betfair's focus on being the market leader in regulated markets will unfortunately become a drag on earnings growth. Maintaining historic growth rates against increasingly onerous regulation and improved competition may require M&A or capital returns to support earnings. The shares have been range-bound over the last year and we expect this to continue."
Micro Focus International fell after Credit Suisse lowered its target price and estimates and maintained its 'underperform' rating on the stock.
"Micro Focus has reported FY17 numbers that reflect just 4% EBITDA growth, 2.5% below consensus. We think this highlights the pressure on Micro Focus to pursue M&A to sustain momentum," the bank said.
BT Group (BT.A) 300.50p 3.58%
Marks & Spencer Group (MKS) 324.30p 2.56%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 181.80p 2.54%
Next (NXT) 3,692.00p 2.05%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 67.38p 2.03%
Barclays (BARC) 212.05p 1.95%
Mondi (MNDI) 2,044.00p 1.74%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,051.00p 1.58%
Kingfisher (KGF) 298.20p 1.57%
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) 255.30p 1.51%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 4,988.50p -3.92%
Paddy Power Betfair (PPB) 7,705.00p -1.66%
Shire Plc (SHP) 4,208.00p -1.45%
Sage Group (SGE) 673.50p -1.25%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 1,997.00p -1.14%
Carnival (CCL) 5,100.00p -1.07%
Convatec Group (CTEC) 295.80p -1.04%
BP (BP.) 447.15p -0.78%
Royal Dutch Shell 'B' (RDSB) 2,076.00p -0.76%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 2,352.00p -0.76%