Could Morrisons (MRW) be broken up? That's the question posed by Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Mike Dennis who makes a very bullish switch on the stock, going from 'sell' to 'buy' and raising his price target from 229p to 330p. This is on the back of yesterday's disappointing Christmas trading update. The market is intrigued as shares in the Bradford-based grocer rise 1% to 236.8p. Dennis reckons Morrisons has hundreds of valuable stores that could be sold, slimming down the estate to make it once more a small regional supermarket group.
A move to become the second largest player in Europe drives a new buying spree in Cineworld (CINE) shares, up 8.9% to 426.8p. The running Shares Play of the Week is buying the cinema business of Israeli company Cinema City International (CCI:WAR) via a rights issue, new debt facility and new stock that will see CCI own 24.9% of the enlarged company. We look at the announcement in more detail here.
Power switching technology designer XP Power (XPP:AIM) is 2% stronger at £17.30 after unveiling an upbeat end to 2013 including 8% revenue growth. It also confirmed a last quarter dividend of at least 17p per share. We take a closer look at the company's growth levels here.
Further press speculation over a bid for FTSE 100 oil explorer Tullow Oil (TLW) from Norwegian peer Statoil (STL:OL) helps the group rise 4.3% to 880.5p. Oriel Securities analyst Dragan Trajkov is cautious and says 'we would not encourage investors to act solely based on this speculative article'.
Ceramics maker Churchill China (CHH:AIM) clips ahead the best part of 16% to 462.5p as a full-year trading statement triggers forecast upgrades. Following a strong November and December from its dominant hospitality division, Churchill says calendar 2013 figures will beat expectations. Shares previously flagged the possibility a strong Christmas showing could leave estimates looking conservative.
Sportswear specialist JD Sports Fashion (JD.) falters with a 5.5p decline to £15.88 despite delivering a strong Christmas trading update. While the retailer flags another robust showing from its sports fascias, despite wider heavy discounts, analysts understand the outdoor division had a mixed festive period, which possibly accounts for today's price weakness.
Meat packing specialist Hilton Food (HFG) rises 2.3% to 465p on a reassuring full-year trading statement. Highlights of 2013 included a new deal struck with Tesco (TSCO) in the UK which should offset consumer weakness in Western Europe.
Small cap exploration company Kodal Minerals (KOD:AIM) slumps 30% to 1.35p after a surprise fundraising less than two weeks since joining Aim. It raised £1 million at its market debut at 0.7p and the share price has since shot up. Kodal has no doubt jumped at the chance to increase its cash position on the back of the share price rally, so today's decline still leaves the stock trading well above its IPO level. The reason behind today's dip is the 35% discounted level at which new shares have been issued (1.25p).
Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust (SREI) rises 2% to 50p on buying the Arndale Centre in Leeds for £16.2 million, funded by a £17.2 million placing. It will collect 9.1% of the acquisition cost in rent each year from the retail, leisure and office property.
Mongolia-focused oil explorer Petro Matad (MATD:AIM) gains 40.8% to 8.8p despite no news catalyst. Yesterday (9 Jan) it noted there was no reason for an earlier advance in the shares although the group is in talks over a farm-out deal for its Mongolian assets.
Middle East and north Africa oil firm Gulfsands Petroleum (GPX:AIM) dives 10.6% to 42p on a disappointing drilling result from Morocco. The company has plugged and abandoned BFD-2, the third of four exploration wells in its Rharb drilling campaign, in response broker Cantor Fitzgerald retains its 'buy' rating but slashes its price target from 162p to 72p.
Microcap desktop hosting business Nasstar (NASA:AIM) rises 8% to 6.62p after telling the market it has qualified to join a Microsoft reseller incentive scheme designed to help drive business. This comes after the shares crashed 36% from 10.5p on their trading return in December following the reverse takeover of e-Knowhow.net and lacklustre interim results.