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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Neil Woodford's latest buy.

by Selin Bucak, David Campbell on Mar 05, 2018 at 05:00

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£5,820m
No. of shares out89m
No. of shares floating86m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees9750
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£12,270m
Profit before tax£426m
Earnings per share225.03p
Cashflow per share364.82p
Cash per share1,180.04p

DCC

Citywire A-rated European equity buyer Thorsten Winkelmann has upped his stake in Irish distribution business DCC (DCC) as it slips back from a recent record high into an 18 month trading range.

Winkelmann increased his investment in the business from 4.9% of shares to 5.1% or 4.5 million worth £309 million at a share price of £67.75, down from an all-time peak of £77.55 in January.

The shares are held in his €7.4 billion (£6.5 billion) Allianz Europe Equity Growth fund.

DCC’s January spike set a new high for the stock, which has largely traded sideways since a hectic three-fold appreciation over the three years to September 2016 petered out.

DCC runs a range of haulage subsidiaries but is best known for its energy division, which has begun to expand outside Europe, entering the US and Asian liquid petroleum gas sectors, in the last year.

Peel Hunt this month upgraded the stock to a buy rating on a £81.49 price target.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£231m
No. of shares out125m
No. of shares floating73m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees1089
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover121m EUR
Profit before tax15m EUR
Earnings per share0.05 EUR
Cashflow per share0.13 EUR
Cash per share0.34 EUR

IFG

Citywire A-rated special situations star Alex Wright has upped his stake in troubled financial business IFG (IFP) as its shares begin to claw back some of the value they lost following a 2017 profit warning.

Wright increased his holding in the company from 7.2% of shares to 8.2% or 8.7 million worth £16.1 million at a price of 185p, up from low of 129p in April last year.

The shares are primarily held in his £416 million Fidelity UK Smaller Companies fund with a smaller stake in £673 million Fidelity Special Values fund.

IFG owns pensions administrator James Hay and investment advisor Saunderson House. The company tumbled last year after it warned it was facing £1.8 million in liabilities based on historical client holdings in an alleged tax avoidance scheme, followed by a profit warning. This month the business said it had put Saunderson House up for sale as its potential liabilities rose to £20 million.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£1,450m
No. of shares out148m
No. of shares floating144m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees4466
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Turnover£1,196m
Profit before tax£607m
Earnings per share-90.75p
Cashflow per share-71.51p
Cash per share221.80p

Provident Financial

UK equity income manager Neil Woodford has increased his holding in embattled Provident Financial (PFG) as shares surged following investor relief over the lender’s settlement with the regulator and announcement of a smaller-than expected rights issue.

Woodford took his stake in the company from 23.03% to 24.41% or 36.2 million worth £362 million at a share price of £10.01, up 42% over one month. The shares are held in his eponymous Equity Income fund and the Income Focus fund.

Shares in Provident Financial surged more than 70% to £10 after the lender announced it made a £172 million provision for a settlement with the Financial Conduct Authority and set aside £20 million to cover expected costs in relation to an investigation into its car and van financing arm.

The business will be raising £331 million to cover the costs through a rights issue, but this is less than the £500 million that was previously expected.

Analysts at Shore Capital retained their hold recommendation on the stock saying that the results were ‘a better outcome than we had expected’.

Key stats
Market capitalisation£6,272m
No. of shares out1,024m
No. of shares floating1,017m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees13674
Trading volume (10 day avg.)4m
Turnover£7,106m
Profit before tax£826m
Earnings per share26.16p
Cashflow per share43.66p
Cash per share102.46p

RSA

Citywire A-rated global growth investor David Giroux has trimmed his stake in insurer RSA (RSA) as its shares climb back towards a 2017 record high, following a bumper set of numbers for the year.

Giroux cut his holding in the company from just over 5% of shares to 4.7% or 48.6 million worth £307 million at a share price of 632p, a six month high, and up from a low of 595p last month.

The shares are held in his titanic $30 billion (£21 billion) T Rowe Price Capital Appreciation fund, which targets steady growth from a mixed portfolio of blue chip stocks and bonds.

RSA last week reported record profitability in 2017 as it emerged from a restructure, with pre-tax profits up 12% at £620 million. The company lifted its full year dividend by 23%

Following that announcement Berenberg lifted its target price from 610p to 670p, maintaining a hold rating.

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  • Provident Financial PLC (PFG.L)
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  • RSA Insurance Group PLC (RSA.L)
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  • IFG Group PLC (IFP.L)
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  • DCC PLC (DCC.L)
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