Here’s our weekly round-up of how the experts view the shares in the news this week.
1. Barclays - HOLD
Index: FTSE 100
The banking sector has its challenges but Barclays has pleased investors this year by announcing it has bounced into the black.
The uptick in fortunes has been partly attributed to a sharp fall in conduct and litigation charges, as well as increasing investment bank revenues.
Graham Spooner, analyst at The Share Centre, is optimistic about its prospects.
“The banking sector is still under pressure but the firm’s restructuring will hopefully be beneficial in the long term.”
2. Card Factory - BUY
Index: FTSE 250
The greetings card industry is a notoriously tough environment and Card Factory is making life particularly gruelling for its rivals.
The chain has grown rapidly over the past two decades and now has more than 800 stores across the UK selling affordable cards and gifts.
Analyst Jonathan Pritchard at Peel Hunt expects to see further profit growth when the retailer reports preliminary results on Tuesday (March 28).
“The figures will show that the business model is making life tougher and tougher for the competition,” he said.
3. Next - HOLD
Index: FTSE 100
The fashion retailer has announced the first fall in profits for eight years. Its pre-tax figure of £790.2 million for the 12 months to January 2017 is 3.8% down on the previous year.
It admitted being extremely cautious about the outlook, with the clothing sector facing threats such as price inflation as a result of sterling’s devaluation.
Peel Hunt analyst Jonathan Pritchard argues that changing its buying process has meant too little focus on its core best sellers.
“A large part of NEXT’s problems are not simply down to the macro, but are self-inflicted,” he said. “In the space, we much prefer M&S.”
4. Pets at Home Group - SELL
Index: FTSE All-Share
Tough competition is making life difficult for the retailer, which sells animals, food and accessories, as well as offering vet and grooming services.
“Cheaper online rivals are already causing problems and this may intensify as consumers increasingly focus on value for money,” says Liberum analyst Adam Tomlinson
While acknowledging the company’s shares now offer better value, having fallen 22% since July 2016, he fears this could be a value trap.
“A softening consumer outlook, rising costs and structural challenges suggest it’s facing a perfect storm of events,” he said.
5. Compass Group - BUY
Index: FTSE 100
A leading provider of contract catering and support services, Compass employs more than 500,000 people in around 50 countries.
The business, which serves an estimated four billion meals every year, counts 90 of the Fortune 100 companies as clients.
Graham Spooner, analyst at The Share Centre, believes it has the right structure.
“Its defensive qualities, international operations, and the fact that people will always need to eat all help with its long-term growth,” he said.
The information included in this article does not constitute regulated financial advice. You should seek out independent, professional financial advice before making an investment decision.