Tuesday, February 26
The buy-to-let market is proving more resilient than expected in the UK given falling house prices and residential mortgages. Total buy-to-let lending actually rose by 13.6% in the second half of 2007.
The CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders) said buy-to-let lending rose from £20.8 billion in H2 2006 to £24.1 billion in H2 2007.
The number of buy-to-let mortgages agreed rose from 177,200 in H2 2006 to 179,100 in H2 2007.
The CML expects buy-to-let market to remain strong this year, due to first time buyers who cannot afford to get on the first rung of the property ladder, and are having to rent instead.
The Nationwide Building Society recently tightened its lending criteria by insisting on a deposit of 25% to obtain a mortgage.
Another surprise, house prices in February rose by 0.2%, the annual rise being now 1.4%, not a lot but not the crash many have been predicting.
According to Michael Coogan, Director General of the CML: "Tenant demand for private rented property remains strong, and buy-to-let is fulfilling an important role in helping to deliver an increased flow of high quality homes to rent.
"Buy-to-let has remained resilient in the face of the funding constraints that have affected the sector and the wider mortgage market."
"We expect to see a continuing healthy appetite for buy-to-let finance this year, in line with continuing expected consumer demand for private rental property."
People have got to live somewhere if they are not going to live with mum and dad, so if they can’t get mortgages because banks are changing their criteria they will have to rent, but given that house prices were artifiically inflated by estate agents and lenders increasing prices by dodgy practices, I still predict a fall in house prices.
Saturday, February 23
According to Ken Livingstone he has popular support for his £25 tax on gas-guzzling vehicles. He refuses, however, to release the results of a poll carried out by Ipsos Mori, despite being required to do so under the rules of the industry.
However, another poll shows 74% of Londoners think the £25 daily tax, which will come into force in October, is unfair. The poll, was commissioned by Porsche, and increases the pressure on Livingstone to let everybody else se the results of his poll.
Porsche is also bringing a legal challenge against the tax.
Livingstone claims his survey, showed strong support for the plan, but that all depends of course how you define 'strong support', anything above 10% could be called strong support, it also depends how you phrase the questions too. Why if there is such 'strong support' is Livingstone not releasing the results ?
Friday, February 22
He believes in it so much he is setting up a company 'Emerging Metals' to float on the AIM in the next three months. The company will specialise in metals used in the next generation of solar panels. “Solar is genuinely clean - within five years, solar power will be as cheap as oil and gas without the subsidy.”
So what sort of metals are to be used in the new solar panels ? At this point in time I don't know I'm afraid, but I intend to find out. If you know please inform the rest of the world by leaving a comment.
Mr Mellon seems to know what he's talking about and he didn't make his millions by getting things wrong, so my advice is to check out solar panels and the metals required. In the meantime if you'd like to buy or make your own 'solar cooker' that allows you to cook using nothing more than the power of the sun it can be done
Have a nice sunny day !
Tuesday, February 19
Barclays downgraded by Panmure with target of 305p and Oxford Biomedica given as a buy with target of 69p (it's 28p at the moment)!
Citigroup downgrades Allied Irish Bank (target €14.5 from €17), says Hold AstraZeneca and Friends Provident, buy Aggreko (650p price target), Carillion (470p) and Legal & General (155p)
Daniel Stewart repeats buy Prodesse (raises target to 600p from 500p) and sell Silverjet
Hold ICAP (620p target) and buy IG Group (450p target) and London Capital (450p target)
Evolution repeats buy Premier Foods (cuts target to 200p from 315p) and add Faroe Petroleum (207p target)
Buy Speedy Hire (cuts target to 900p from 1300p), Tesco (460p target) and Wichford (165p target)
HSBC is overweight Ashmore Group (410p target)
ING repeats buy BT Group (cuts target to 325p from 335p)
KBC Peel Hunt repeats hold Spectris
Lehman repeats underweight on Bank of Ireland (cuts target to €10.9 from €11) and equal-weight on Cadbury Schweppes (630p target and higher estimates)
Merrill initiates coverage of Babcock adding a buy recommendation and a 655p target and is neutral Tate & Lyle, Shire and Bank of Ireland
Buy Wellstream (1500p target, raising estimates, - Top Sector Pick), Anglo American (3800p target) and Allied Irish Banks (€17.1 target)
Morgan Stanley repeats equal-weight on Informa (cuts target to 395p from 440p) and equal-weight on Millennium & Copthorne (cuts target to 500p from 650p) and JD Wetherspoon (cuts target to 460p from 470p)
Overweight on Centrica (420p target)
Panmure upgrades Lamprell to buy from hold (raises target to 430p from 385p) and downgrades VP Group to hold from buy (cuts price target to 302p from 505p)
Repeats sell Barclays (target 305p) and hold Go-Ahead Group (cuts price target to 2000p from 2440p)
Sell Sainsbury and William Morrison and repeats buy Tesco-
Buy Oxford Biomedica (69p target) and Speedy Hire (977p target)
Sanford Bernstein repeats outperform on Tesco (500p target) and has outperform on Sainsbury (460p target), with market perform on William Morrison (280p target)
Repeats outperform on Cadbury Schweppes (795p target)
UBS upgrades Moneysupermarket.com to buy from neutral and is neutral on Tate & Lyle (515p target)
Buy RM Group (270p target)
Friday, February 15
Buy – Rolls-Royce, Vectura, Hamworthy, Amino Technologies, Software Radio
Sell – InterContinental Hotels
Yell (good value), Telecom Plus (buy), Standard Chartered (sell)
I thought Yell was good value at 500p ! It's now 264p! Good job I sold before it turned into a nightmare. UPDATE - Yell fell to around 20p
Tuesday, February 12
Eros is a leading producer and distributor of Bollywood film content (yes, I'd never heard of them either) and is destined for great things
Eros has quickly introduced Indian films to international markets. It focuss on placing Indian entertainment into the mainstream arena and now exploits new media formats to further accelerate scale and growth from new markets.
The Indian film industry is big and if trends continue, it may lead to further overseas interest, particularly in the US, where Bollywood has suddenly taken off.
US film moguls may venture into the market to exploit the vast potential. Eros however already has a solid grasp of the industry.
For the year to 31 March 2008, the company is forecast to post revenues of $102.8 million, which represents an increase of 55% on 2007. Pre-tax profits should rise to $42.7 million with earnings to grow to 35.7 cents.
Growth is expected to continue in 2009. The shares trade on a forward multiple of 16.76 times falling to 13.23 in 2010 on the back of 55.4 cents of earnings but, with Eros at the head of a rapidly growing industry, Small Cap Shares think that is a good price .
The shares are at 377.5p, having droped from a high of almost 550p. Eros is described as a 'compelling buy'.
Sounds good to me as Bollywood is destined to get bigger with the reis of the Indian economy.
Thursday, February 7
After Tuesday's wins for John McCain, Mitt Romney has decided to quit the presidential race.
He didn't endorse John McCain but he did endorse his stand on the war against terror, saying that Clinton and Obama would retreat in defeat from Iraq with disastrous consequences.
"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney said.
His decision leaves McCain as the top man standing in the GOP race, with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul far behind in the delegate hunt. McCain, was hardly credible seven months ago, out of cash and losing staff but now he is poised to succeed George W. Bush as the GOP candidate.
As a businessman he's decided he's got no chance of winning so he's leaving the way clear for John McCain.
Aviva – Buy at 602.5p
DMGT – Hold on at 481p
Thus Group – Avoid
Tiddler to Watch
Morrisons surges despite image
HSBC falls to 747p after ML suggests it may bid €126 / share for Société Générale
BSkyB – Buy
Homeserve - Buy
FKI – hold
Georgica – Hold
Three’s a Crowd – punt
Earthport – Rises on rumours of big banking contracts
Saturday, February 2
The company's site is Devilfishpoker.com, named after British poker player Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott. The plan is for a £3.2m listing on Plus Markets, previously known as Ofex.
The gaming site is chaired by entrepreneur Kevin Leech and has hired Hichens, Harrison & Co as corporate adviser.
There are more than 6,000 registered users on the site, and apparently 700 play real-money games. Currently most of the site’s users are in the UK, it does not allow Americans access to the site, so that'll teach 'em. Maybe they should complain to their government about freedom of access, the right to pursue happiness etc... Or maybe they should all just boycott Vegas for a year and invest in a nice real estate company - mmmm bricks and mortar !
Devilfish intends raising about £1m from the float which will give it a market value of £3.2m. No firm date has been set for when dealings in the shares will begin.
Dave Ulliott is not on the board, but he is the largest shareholder with a 27.8% stake. Leech is the next biggest shareholder. the CEO is Paul Barnes, a 'veteran' of the online gambling industry.
As a result of the US protectionist measures, many businesses were forced to sell or close their US operations. They have since concentrated their efforts on increasing revenues in other parts of the world, notably Asia, which is a rapidly expanding market.
Personally I will never bet any real money on any online gambling site, because I don't trust the system, which is very easy to manipulate. I prefer to lose my money on the stockmarket which is all legal and above board and run by city gents ! With the exception of course of TDWaterhouse with whom I am currently embattled due to their faulty online trading system and their incompetent (or worse) complaints department - for the full gory details have a look here (and I am not the only one apparently) - Are TDWaterhouse any Good?
Many customers are saying that they are being prematurely terminated by Egg because they pay off their credit card bills in full each month and don't run up any debt, thus making no money for Egg and being therefore a liability - what a pong !
If I had to choose between a banker and a banking victim I know who I would believe.
If you have had any dealings with Egg or any other similar gang, or if you have been victim of any Internet scam whatsoever, please leave your comments below.
Friday, February 1
Newspaper Share Tips
Buy Brazil –Jim Slater says why he’s buying Brazil and agri-commodities
Buy – Forth Ports (FPT) , Begdon (FPT), Immunodiagnostics Systems, Landkom International (LKI)
Sell – Carphone Warehouse (CPW), Wolseley (WOS)
Buy – Melorio (MLO), Jelf (JLF), ICAP (IAP)
Sell – Pochins (PCH)
High enough – Maxima (MXM)
PZ Cussons (fairly priced) (PZC), Tinopolis (buy) (TIN), Misys (sell) (MSY), Research Now (good value) (RNOW), Porvair (good value) (PRV), 1st Dental (buy) (FDT), Autonomy (fairly priced) (AU.), All Leisure (good value) (ALLG), Inspired Gaming (fairly priced) (INGG), Thomson Intermedia (fairly priced) (THN), Colefax (fairly priced) (CFX), CPL Resources (good value) (CPL), Wynnstay (good value) (WYN), Beale (high enough) (BAE), West African Diamonds (buy) (WAD), Jarvis Securities (good value) (JRVS), City of London Investment (good vaue) (CLIG)
National Grid – Buy
WH Smith – The shares are worth holding for now
Vodafone – In the current environment they should be held
Tiddler to Watch
Prodesse Investments - The specialist investor in Government bonds, gained 11.75p to 434.25p after the Fed cut rates on Wednesday.
WH Smith – Buy
Vodafone – Hold
Coda – Accept offer
Vodafone – Buy
ITM Power – Speculative buy
Carluccio’s – Hold
Xstrata lifted by Vale approach speculation (p60)
Technology investment company Zyzgy
After trying other avenues to get TDWaterhouse to admit they had a problem with their online trading software I finally did get in touch with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman was even slower than TD Waterhouse in looking into the matter, taking months and months just to get to the stage where they would actually investigate my complaint. When the Ombudsman did finally get around to looking into my complaint against TDWaterhouse he concluded that he was not in fact qualified to deal with the matter as it was a matter for the FSA (Financial Services Authority) but that the FSA does not investigate individual complaints. No wonder TDWaterhouse was so keen for me to waste my time with the Ombudsman.
I recently posted about the problems I have had with TDWaterhouse's online trading system and their refusal to accept any responsibility in this matter - see here - Problems with TDWaterhouse Online Brokers - I have received a number of comments and e-mails so far but am still looking for more, if you have had a problem with TDWaterhouse, specifically their online trading software, in recent months please read my previous post and get in touch
See online stock trading for some highly relevant online trading tips from the SEC
Related post : stocks and shares for beginners