TalkTalk shares shot up to their highest level in five months following communications regulator Ofcom’s decision to make BT open up its telegraph poles and tunnels to rivals.
HSBC analysts’ decision to raise TalkTalk to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and increase its target price to 250p from 175p, put it among the FTSE 250’s biggest winners.
The broker said Ofcom’s decision, which aims to cut the cost of providing broadband, was ‘good news’ for TalkTalk, which will benefit from lower costs.
TalkTalk is now up 16.9 per cent for the year, putting it some way towards recovering losses seen at the end of last year amid a record hacking fine and a customer exodus. Shares rose 4.7 per cent, or 8.8p, to 197.8p.
Boost: HSBC analysts’ decision to raise TalkTalk to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and increase its target price to 250p from 175p, put it among the FTSE 250’s biggest winners
BT shares, on the other hand, inched down after HSBC cut its target price to 370p from 420p. It said Ofcom’s plans to cut the figure BT can charge rivals for broadband will reduce its ability to invest. Shares slipped 0.2 per cent, or 0.6p, to 311p.
A flat final day of trading led the FTSE 100 to record its worst weekly loss of the year as it failed to recover from Theresa May’s surprise election call on Tuesday. It was down 0.06 per cent, or 3.99 points, at 7114.55.
Marks & Spencer emerged as one of the index’s biggest victors on the back of a positive Barclays note. The retailer hit its highest price since June last year after Barclays initiated coverage of the stock with an ‘overweight’ rating.
M&S yesterday announced plans to open 36 UK stores, 34 of which will be food stores. It ultimately plans to open 200 food stores by March 2019.
Barclays called M&S’s plans ‘credible’ adding that food is likely to account for 64 per cent of UK sales in 2020 from 52 per cent in 2010. Shares were up 1.9 per cent, or 6.8p, to 360.5p.
Reneuron Group shot up after announcing progress in the development of its stroke medication.
Brokers were less favourable to Essentra though, with the packaging firm recording the FTSE 250’s biggest loss after being cut by Citigroup.
Analyst reduced the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’ claiming its value has been skewed ahead of a new corporate strategy due in July. The firm has rallied 1.4 per cent since Paul Forman took over as chief executive on January 1. Shares sank 3.9 per cent, or 20.5p, to 512p.
The wife of Getech Group director Peter Stephens took advantage of a recent dip in the geology firm’s share price to up her stake.
Veronica Stephens purchased 25,000 shares at 31p each, bringing her and her husband’s combined ownership of the firm to 4.1 per cent, or 1.5m shares.
Getech provides geological services reports and data to the petrol and mining industries to support their exploration activities. Its shares sank earlier this month after the firm revealed losses of £227,000 for the six months ending January 31 due mainly to redundancy costs of £451,000 over the period.
Stephens’s purchase boosted confidence in Getech, with shares rising 4 per cent, or 1.23p, to 32.25p.
Similarly-named sports and well-being firm Gotech Group had a less stellar session.
The firm posted heavy losses following poor sales of its so-called Skills2Achieve programme, a digital, physical literacy assessment programme for the school market, developed with sport and education charity Youth Sport Trust.
Poor sales led the firm to suffer losses of £288,000 in the six months to March 31, down on a £257,000 loss the previous year.
This came despite support from high profile clients such as Premiership rugby club Saracens.
It has completed a review to try and improve sales, and plans to allot more than £150,000 worth of shares to pursue growth.
Shares in the company tumbled 13 per cent, or 0.4p, to 2.5p.