Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips form the rest of the UK press.

MoneyWeek's comprehensive guide to the best of this week's share tips form the rest of the UK press.

Three to buy

NMC Health

Investors Chronicle

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This hospital operator, a recent FTSE 100 entrant, has had "a cracking run" since its initial public offering (IPO) in 2012. The Middle East healthcare market is expanding, while NMC's largest jurisdiction, the United Arab Emirates, is worth $13bn and enjoys growth in the high single digits. Its focus on specialist, underserved niches should protect it from competition. 3,152p

Ten Lifestyle Group

The Mail on Sunday

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In 1988, Alex Cheatle and Andrew Long decided to build "the most trusted service business in the world", offering corporate clients preferential access to top restaurants, hotels and events. Two months ago, it floated on Aim at 134p. Following its IPO, Ten Lifestyle Group is expected to make a loss this year. In 2019, however, profits are expected to reach £4m and £19m the year after. 150p

ZPG

The Daily Telegraph

While high-street agencies emanate "howls of anguish", the renamed Zoopla has trended sideways. The firm, whose brands include property portal PrimeLocation and market analysts Hometrack, is diversifying from home-buying into home-related services such as utilities and broadband and drew 648 million online visits in the last financial year. Trading on 19 times this year's forecast earnings, the shares are not cheap, but there is "sufficient diversity" in its portfolio to avoid suffering in case of property-market wobbles. 338.6p

Three to sell

Halfords

Investors Chronicle

The motoring and cycling chain reported "a mixed bag" of results during the Christmas period. Sales rose on a quarterly basis, but the 2.9% rise in like-for-like sales (ie, sales excluding new stores) was down on the 7% rise reported at the same time last year. Instead, the growth was fuelled by low-margin cycling products. New chief executive Graham Stapleton has a huge task ahead of him if he is to drive further progress. "It seems unlikely in the short term." 352p

UBM

Shares

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This media business's refined focus on the events industry has made it an attractive proposition. On 17 January, rival Informa swooped in with a £9bn takeover offer for the company. However, the market thinks Informa is overpaying and a second bid is unlikely. It's time to take profits anyone who bought in May 2017 has made around 24% since then. 885.5p

Emis

The Times

This software supplier allows doctors to access digital patient records. Last month a warning about "failure to meet certain service levels and reporting obligations" with the NHS's digital wing sent its shares down 20%. The firm has a market share of 56% among primary care services, but concerns over NHS cyber-security may make winning new deals tougher. 779p

And the rest

The Daily Telegraph

Growing demand for meat in emerging markets will help livestock supplements maker Anpario (440p). Sell educational publisher Pearson it got through 2017 without issuing another profit warning, but problems haven't gone away away (691.6p).

The Times

Betting firm CMC Markets's latest quarter was better than the last two fear of a regulatory crackdown is overdone (161.75p). Smart meters have not been welcomed by all, but Smart Metering Systems has raised £150m to fund a faster rollout (773p). Buy-to-let specialist Paragon Banking Group increased its lending by 65% in the last three months of 2017 (502.5p).

Shares

Quixant, which designs "the brains" behind pay-to-play gaming machines, has had a great two-year run, but 2018 could be even better due to its technological edge and pricing power for its services (437.5p).

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Mobile advertising group Taptica's deployment of a $50m acquisition "war chest" could boost earnings (447.5p).

Investors Chronicle

Allied Minds, an intellectual property commercialisation specialist, had a rocky 2017 but now has a better-focused portfolio (162p). Henry Boot, which sells land to builders, has completed projects ahead of schedule so profits will exceed expectations (338p).

A German view

Bechtle, a German IT software, hardware and services group, is well placed to benefit from the long-term trends of digitalisation and e-commerce. Small and medium-sized companies are increasingly going digital, notes WirtschaftsWoche. Bechtle has also received contracts from public-sector clients, including US space agency Nasa, which wants to upgrade its systems, while the company is also becoming a major player in cloud computing. In the third quarter of 2017, both operating earnings and sales grew by about a fifth, while its balance sheet looks robust.

IPO watch

Four years after Michael Dell took the eponymous PC firm that he founded back into private hands, he is considering returning to the stockmarket to raise cash and reduce debt, reports Bloomberg. Dell was delisted in 2013 when Michael Dell teamed up with private-equity firm Silver Lake in a $25bn leveraged buyout. In 2016, Dell bought data-storage firm EMC for $67bn the biggest tech deal ever which also gave it EMC's 80% stake in virtualisation software firm VMware. Since VMWare remains listed, one option could be for Dell to merge with it rather than conducting an IPO.

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