WOOLIES TIPPED THE PROFIT SEASON PICK
SYDNEY - Woolworths has been named as one of the top retail stock picks by Deutsche Bank analysts for the forthcoming reporting season.
Deutsche Bank gave Woolworths the nod because of an expectation that rival Coles, owned by Wesfarmers, will suffer a slowing in first half earnings growth.
Woolworths is expected to show a modest lift in sales and margins for the half year period, the analysts said in a report.
Woolworths reports its results on February 28, while Wesfarmers posts its figures on February 19.
Harvey Norman and Flight Centre were Deutsche Bank's other retail picks.
COOPERS JOINS THE CIDER CRUSH
SYDNEY - Australian brewer Coopers has entered the cider market, signing a distribution deal with English outfit Thatchers Cider.
Coopers will keg and distribute draught Thatchers to pubs around the country.
Coopers managing director Tim Cooper said his brewery had been looking at the cider market for three years but had only found the right partner now.
Cider is one of the fastest growing categories in Australia and a 2013 IBISWorld report said cider is expected to take market share from beer, particularly as more pubs start to offer a greater variety of the fruit-based brew on tap.
PACT GROUP RATED A BUY
SYDNEY - Food packaging maker Pact Group has earned an initial "buy" rating from analysts at Deutsche Bank, despite the company's disappointing stockmarket debut in December.
Deutsche Bank initiated coverage of Pact with a buy rating and a 12 month share price target of $4.30 in a note issued on January 27.
Pact has traded below its $3.80 a share issue price since it hit the ASX in December, with the stock closing at $3.47 on Friday.
Deutsche Bank cited Pact's strong earnings per share growth forecast, strong customer relationships and exposure to the high growth plastic food packaging market as reasons for its rating.