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Man Group, Centrica, National Grid and Astra hop aboard

The first update of Citywire Top Stocks sees a big changeover with four new entrants and five companies leaving our list of top fund managers’ share holdings.

 
Man Group, Centrica, National Grid and Astra hop aboard

The first update of Citywire Top Stocks has seen a big changeover with four new entrants and five companies leaving our list of top fund managers’ share holdings.

Utilities are in

This reduces the number of Top Stocks to 36 and may reflect the extreme volatility of the month to 31 August, which is the latest period for which we have data.

Having commented on the surprising lack of utilities at the launch of Citywire Top Stocks, we now have two: Centrica and National Grid.

It is possible that the relative resilience of the two shares during the mayhem of August has propelled them into Top Stocks.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca adds to the defensive and value flavour, sitting alongside rival drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Most surprising of all hedge fund manager Man Group is our fourth new entry. Ironically, its shares held up fairly well during August but then slumped following a badly received trading statement at the end of September.

Out go credit reference agency Experian (EXPN.L), African Minerals (AMlq.L), financial software provider Misys (MSY.L), engineer Smiths Group (SMIN.L) and insurance consolidator Resolution (RSL.L).

AstraZeneca (AZN.L)

With a £40 billion market value AstraZeneca is Britain’s second largest drug maker. It is a holding of Derek Stuart’s Artemis UK Special Situations fund. It currently yields 6% and has a dividend 3.6 times covered by earnings. Like GlaxoSmithKline it is relatively lowly rated trading at just 6.4 times this year’s forecast earnings.

Centrica (CNA.L)

The £16 billion gas supplier enters Top Stocks through its presence in Schroder UK Alpha Plus fund managed by Richard Buxton. The company generated pre-tax profits of £2.1 billion last year and is forecast to increase these to £2.3 billion this year and £2.5 billion next. It yields 5.2% and its dividend is covered more than twice by earnings.

National Grid (NG.L)

The £23 billion electricity supplier is a top 10 holding of the giant M&G Recovery fund run by Thomas Dobell. It is also a big holding of Neil Woodford’s Invesco Perpetual High Income fund which is perhaps not surprising given its 5.7% yield and dividend covered 1.7 times. In the 12 months to 31 March it made pre-tax profits of £2.6 billion, up from £1.38 billion the previous year. Recently it has not been the company’s shares that have grabbed investors’ attention but the heavily subscribed issue of an inflation-linked corporate bond, which raised £260 million.

Man Group (EMG.L):

Investors often never quite know where to put Man Group. As a fund manager its shares are geared to the state of the stock market, rising when things are good and falling when times are bad. However, Man is a hedge fund manager that claims to be able to make money for investors even when markets are falling. This means its shares can do well when markets are poorly. Much depends on AHL, its flagship trading fund. When it performs well the shares feel the benefit as the company derives much of its fee income from the fund. In the past month the shares have slumped 31% after the group revealed that investors had withdrawn money at the fastest rate in two years. However, the funds affected were at GLG, the business bought by Man last year. Artemis’ Derek Stuart is a holder of the stock, attracted by what he sees as the group’s ‘significant excess capital’. It will be interesting to see if this brings back investors to the beleaguered stock.

7 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Lost my marbles

Oct 14, 2011 at 08:20

I have held MAN for quite some time now.It is a DOG!

However,investors who get in now may well make some cash as it is unlikely that even Man can go much lower.Possibly a share to trade rather than hold.

report this

William Phillips

Oct 14, 2011 at 09:26

Man has slashed its dividend yet is still yielding 9%, one of the highest in the FTSE 100.

Something does not fit here, The market consensus does not usually get it this wrong,

report this

Madan Badale

Oct 14, 2011 at 09:29

I am holding Man Group shares from the time when they were £6 a share. I lost my faith in Man Group.

report this

calvert mckibbin

Oct 14, 2011 at 18:13

Hi Guys,

Man group is a trading stock with a very good dividend. I have bought it and sold it, and bought it and sold it and bought it and sold it. This is not a buy an hold unless you really buy at the bottom

report this

masud butt

Oct 14, 2011 at 23:57

Centrica is the owner of BG GROUP. Which is better to buy?

report this

Crazy Fists

Oct 15, 2011 at 11:47

There has been a lot of speculation about a BG takeover from one of the big mining giants, and I think that it is just a matter of time. I love BG. and it is my biggest holding. I am a firm believer that BG. shows value for money right now, although the divi from Centrica is higher.

report this

Crouchender

Oct 15, 2011 at 15:08

As far as I'm aware, Centrica is not the owner of BG Group but of British Gas.

BG Group was spun off at privatisation as is now an oil & gas explorer and producer.

report this

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  • Artemis UK Special Situations R Acc
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  • AXA Framlington UK Select Opportunities Inc
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  • M&G Recovery A Inc
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  • Schroder UK Alpha Plus A Acc
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  • Centrica PLC (CNA.L)
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  • National Grid PLC (NG.L)
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  • Man Group plc (EMG.L)
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  • AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.L)
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  • Experian PLC (EXPN.L)
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  • Misys PLC (MSY.L)
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  • Smiths Group PLC (SMIN.L)
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  • Resolution Ltd (RSL.L)
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  • Thomas Dobell
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  • Richard Buxton
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  • Nigel Thomas
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  • Derek Stuart
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