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3 stocks the pros are trading

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Purplebricks, ITE Group and Judges Scientific.

by Selin Bucak, David Campbell on Jun 12, 2017 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£1,188m
No. of shares out271m
No. of shares floating181m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees85
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Profit before tax£-12m
Earnings per share-11.76p
Cashflow per share-11.60p
Cash per share12.69p


Citywire AAA-rated mid-cap veteran Richard Watts has banked some profits on his position in digital estate agent Purplebricks (PURP), following a rally which has near tripled its share price so far this year.

Watts cut his holding in the business from 32.6 million shares to 32.2 million or just under 12% worth £132 million at a share price of 410p, up from just 141p at the beginning of the year.

The share are held in his £2.8 billion Old Mutual UK Mid Cap fund, one of the largest holders of the stock, with a further stake held by AAA-rated colleague Luke Kerr’s UK Dynamic Equity fund.

Purplebricks listed in late 2015 and effectively traded sideways for its first year as a Plc, before going parabolic more recently. That followed an international expansion, with the group raising £50 million to break into the US and Australian property markets.

A series of brokers still rate it a buy, although the pace of its climb has rapidly outstripped a median price target of 320p.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£415m
No. of shares out269m
No. of shares floating263m
No. of common shareholders1,189
No. of employees1340
Trading volume (10 day avg.)860,000
Profit before tax-£9.3m
Earnings per share-3.56p
Cashflow per share3.92p
Cash per share5.92p

ITE Group

Citywire A-rated manager Mark Martin has pared back his holding in conference organisation company ITE Group (ITE) following an 8.58% increase in its share price over one year.

The manager has reduced his stake in the company from 27 million shares to 26.4 million, or 9.83% worth £40.7 million at a share price of 154p, down from a 52-week high of 181.25p.

The shares are held in Martin’s £577 million Neptune UK Midcap fund and the £24.8 million UK Opportunities fund which he co-manages with Holly Cassell.

The business, which organises exhibitions and conferences globally, recently completed a strategic review, resulting in the launch of a three year transformation and growth program which will see it invest up to £20 million to create a scalable platform and focus on organic growth.

A number of analysts reiterated their hold rating for the stock, including N+1 Singer which put a price target of 161p on it. Meanwhile, Numis Securities reiterated a buy rating with a price target of 204p.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£113m
No. of shares out6m
No. of shares floating4m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees408
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Profit before tax£m
Earnings per share1.31p
Cashflow per share104.93p
Cash per share129.49p

Judges Scientific

Citywire AAA-rated value experts Anthony Cross and Julian Fosh have upped their stake in lab-grade measuring systems maker Judges Scientific (JDG) as its shares climb to a year high.

The managers increased their investment in the business from 697,167 shares to 736,993 or just over 12% worth £12.9 million at a share price of £17.66.

The shares are held in their £725 million Liontrust UK Smaller Companies fund. The bulk of the exposure, or more than 300,000 shares, was purchased last year for a price of £13.30 following a profit warning which took the shares as low as £11.90.

That followed a warning from Judges that weaker order growth would ‘negatively impact’ profit over the full year. The shares have bounced as the business reported a pick-up in activity in the latter half of last year, although its full-year operating profit came in more than £2 million lower at £7.1 million.

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