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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  London Stock Exchange  >  Ashtead Group    AHT   GB0000536739

ASHTEAD GROUP (AHT)
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Commodity strength drives FTSE higher, Weir Group and Carillion lead mid-caps

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07/17/2017 | 06:04pm CET
FILE PHOTO: A worker shelters from the rain as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's major share index started the week with solid gains driven by basic resource firms, while a government contract win by crisis-hit construction firm Carillion gave it some respite from heavy losses sustained last week.

Miners pushed the FTSE 100 up 0.4 percent, while mid-caps outperformed, rising 0.6 percent with Weir Group and Carillion shining. British shares easily beat Europe's main index which edged up 0.1 percent.

Fresnillo, Antofagasta and Glencore led miners higher, supporting index gains as metals prices rose to multi-month highs on an upbeat second quarter for China's economy and a weaker dollar.

ITV was a top blue-chip gainer, up 1.4 percent after the broadcaster said it had appointed Carolyn McCall, boss of airline EasyJet as its next chief executive.

"For ITV, we think the move suggests the company is comfortable with its strategic direction but her strong personal links should be helpful in several areas," said Liberum analysts.

Software company Micro Focus led later gains on the index, up 3.5 percent. Northern Trust analysts reiterated their "buy" rating on the company, helping the shares recover ground for a third straight session after a disappointing results update last week resulted in an 8 percent fall.

"I think people are buying the dip in the share price, looking for value," a trader said.

Mid-cap Weir Group was up 8.4 percent and hitting its highest level since May, after the firm said it expected its oil and gas unit performance to beat analysts' expectations due to strong drilling activity in North America.

Industrials sector peer Ashtead also rose 3.4 percent on the blue-chip index as traders read across to its likely performance.

Leading the mid-caps was troubled construction and support services firm Carillion, whose shares gained as much as 20 percent after its joint venture with Eiffage and Kier was awarded two contracts worth 1.4 billion pounds for high speed rail project HS2.

Carillion shares had lost 70 percent of their market value last week.

"Our view remains that the business will survive but the ownership is likely to change significantly," said Liberum analysts.

Balfour Beatty also won two HS2 contracts among the $8.6 billion worth of contracts awarded by the government, sending its shares up 3.2 percent.

Pearson, meanwhile, fell 0.6 percent after Berenberg trimmed its target price on the stock after the company partially sold its stake in Penguin Random House.

In a note titled "robbing Peter to pay Paul", Berenberg analysts said: "Unlike Pearson's prior disposals of the FT and the Economist, there was no upside value surprise, reflecting the fact that there was only one bidder, and one with a constrained balance sheet."

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Alison Williams)

By Helen Reid

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Financials ( GBP)
Sales 2018 3 637 M
EBIT 2018 1 033 M
Net income 2018 658 M
Debt 2018 2 737 M
Yield 2018 1,54%
P/E ratio 2018 15,59
P/E ratio 2019 13,85
EV / Sales 2018 3,52x
EV / Sales 2019 3,22x
Capitalization 10 064 M
Chart ASHTEAD GROUP
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Ashtead Group Technical Analysis Chart | AHT | GB0000536739 | 4-Traders
Technical analysis trends ASHTEAD GROUP
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
TrendsBearishBullishBullish
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 17
Average target price 23,3  GBP
Spread / Average Target 15%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Geoffrey Drabble Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Christopher Cole Non-Executive Chairman
Brendan Horgan Chief Operating Officer & Executive Director
Suzanne Wood Finance Director & Executive Director
Sat Dhaiwal Executive Director
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