Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

British Land is well worth a punt for towering presence

The Week Ahead

The next installment of the battle of the London skyscraper continues today.

The property company British Land is building its tower, the Cheesegrater (officially known as the Leadenhall Building), and after securing Aon and Amlin as pre-lettings it is now more than half full. But last week, rival Land Securities announced its Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) development is now also more than 50% let, and both will be finished next year.

British Land will release its third-quarter update today, and skyscrapers aside, Investec's Alan Carter prefers British Land to Land Securities, as he likes its "superior retail and lower risk strategy". He rates it a buy with a 600p price target.

Wednesday

The water group United Utilities has been the subject of takeover rumours for months, but traders have been getting thirsty waiting for any bid to emerge.

Will the market ease off the takeover speculation on Wednesday, when it will update the City with a trading statement? Recently Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock to neutral and gave it a share price target of 740p.

The group, which provides water and sewage services in the north-west of England, has recently agreed with the regulator Ofwat on changes to the way water rates are set, and analysts expect its results to be in-line with expectations.

Thursday

The City has been waiting for the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to start its spending spree ever since chief executive Pascal Soriot axed the share buybacks last October, shortly after he arrived at the group. The move was regarded as a signal that the cash pot would be used to fill up its medicine cabinet.

Mr Soriot has been reorganising the business, and earlier this month restructured the research team. But so far nothing has happened on the takeover front. AstraZeneca will release its full-year results on Thursday, and analysts at Société Générale rate the stock a sell, with a 2,675p share price target.

Friday

We finish the week with something sweeter. Sweet-toothed analysts at Berenberg Bank rate the sweetener specialist Tate & Lyle a buy ahead of its trading statement on Friday.

Investors have been concerned about sweetener pricing, but Berenberg thinks there is plenty of growth for 2013, and gave it a 950p share price target.

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