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5 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, including Bill Gates, Crispin Odey and Giles Hargreave.

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If you would like to receive news alerts on any of the stocks featured in this gallery, click on the star icons below to add them to your favourites.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£115m
No. of shares out68m
No. of shares floating63m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees3010
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£457m
Profit before tax£10m
Earnings per share14.88p
Cashflow per share33.28p
Cash per share12.22p

Bill Gates trims Carpetright

Bill Gates has sold down his stake in British retailer Carpetright (CPRC) as the company suffered a 42% fall in profits.

He trimmed his stake from 3.6 million shares to below 3% at a share price of 170.84p. The shares are held by Cascade Investments, the wealth management business Gates established to manage his fortune estimated at around $90 billion.

Day-to-day management of the company is done by value investor Michael Larson.

Since 14 December, a day after Carpetright announced a 3.8% drop in revenue to £222.3 million for the first half of 2016, the shares have fallen nearly 10%. They has lost two thirds of their value in the past year but rose 5.5% on Friday to close at 167p.

The business has come under pressure from competitors as well as impact of currency movements. It has said that the start to the second half has been promising with sales in the UK up 2.6% in the six weeks to December, bolstered by the company’s focus on hard flooring.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£454m
No. of shares out1,436m
No. of shares floating1,351m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees9653
Trading volume (10 day avg.)2m
Turnover£4,454m
Profit before tax£73m
Earnings per share5.00p
Cashflow per share8.24p
Cash per share9.51p

Odey drives in at Pendragon

Hedge fund veteran Crispin Odey has added to his holding in car dealership operator Pendragon (PDG) following a slight recovery in its share price after it took a beating following the Brexit vote.

Odey increased his stake in the company from 204 million shares to 229.4 million, a 15.95% stake worth £72.7 million at a share price of 31.68p, down 32% over one year.

Most of the shares are held in the Odey Allegra International fund while the rest are distributed among other funds holding less than 3%.

While car dealers were hit hard by the Brexit vote they have since bounced back and in an interim management statement covering the period from July to 24 October, Pendragon said it did not see a noticeable change in customer behaviour.

In fact the company reported a strong third quarter, with a 6.3% increase in group underlying profit and a 5.7% growth in revenue compared to the same period in 2015. Chief executive Trevor Finn added that full-year performance would be in line with expectations. Analyst consensus for the stock is 'buy'.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£12m
No. of shares out36m
No. of shares floating22m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees82
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£13m
Profit before tax£1m
Earnings per share1.36p
Cashflow per share1.94p
Cash per share7.09p

Chelverton duo take some Petards profit

Smaller company investors David Taylor and David Horner pared back their holding in security and surveillance systems supplier Petards Group (PETA) following a 96% jump in its share price over three months.

The duo reduced their stake in the company from 1.8 million shares to 1.67 million, a 4.68% stake worth £546,000 as the shares hit a new 52-week high of 30p. The shares are held in their £4.5 million Chelverton Growth Trust.

Petards focuses on developing and supplying advanced security and surveillance systems transport, emergency services and defence sectors. Shares in the AIM-listed company rose last month after Petards announced that it won a £2 million contract to supply German giant Siemens with its digital CCTV systems.

Following the news, analysts at Beaufort Securities reiterated their ‘speculative buy’ rating on the stock. The group also announced, just before the end of the year, that it secured a three years contract renewal from the UK Ministry of Defence, worth over £1.6 million.

The shares strengthened 1% on Friday to close 0.3p up at 32.85p.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£15m
No. of shares out128m
No. of shares floating67m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees156
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£49m
Profit before tax£1m
Earnings per share0.68p
Cashflow per share1.11p
Cash per share6.57p

Newton adds more Lighthouse

Small cap hedge fund star David Newton has taken his stake in financial advisory firm Lighthouse Group (LGHT) to over 20% following a 10% slide in its share price.

Newton upped his holding in the company from 25.5 million shares to 25.7 million. This brings his overall stake, held in his Helium Rising Stars fund, up to 20.15% worth £2.9 million at a share price of 11.22p, up 12.21% over the last 12 months. The recent addition comes after Newton more than doubled his stake in the firm back in September.

The national advice firm was the subject of a £17 million takeover bid from consolidator AFH earlier this year. It rejected the bid which it said undervalued the company.

It has recently struck a deal to advise up to 43,000 members of the Fire Brigade Union, the latest in a line of affinity deals. It is now in search for a non-executive director after Fay Williams, ex-Personal Finance Society chief executive decided to step down from her role.

The shares closed at 12p on Friday, up 0.5p or 4.3% on the day.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£284m
No. of shares out91m
No. of shares floating63m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees110
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£85m
Profit before tax£19m
Earnings per share20.13p
Cashflow per share20.66p
Cash per share53.46p

Hargreave lifts Polar Capital Holdings

Citywire AA-rated manager Giles Hargreave has added to his holding in investment management company Polar Capital Holdings (POLR), taking it above 10%.

Small cap selector Hargreave added to his stake increasing it from 9.13 million shares to 9.14 million, a position of just over 10% worth £27.8 million at a share price of 304.50p, down 27.8% year to date.

The majority of the shares are held in funds run by his asset manager Hargreave Hale for Marlborough Fund Managers, with the remainder held by his discretionary clients.

Polar Capital’s profits fell 22% on £763 million of net outflows over the six months to the end of September. However, total assets under management rose from £7.3 billion to £7.7 billion.

Following the release of its results, Peel Hunt upgraded the company from ‘add’ to ‘buy’ while analyst Stuart Duncan gave a 355p target price. He said the investment manager’s improvement was still at an early stage however characterised the business as more balanced than a few years ago.

The shares added 3p on Friday to close 1% higher at 309.26p.

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