Markets: Broker’s downgrade batters Optos

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SHARES in eye scanner maker Optos were in sharp focus yesterday after analysts at Canaccord Genuity downgraded the stock to “sell”, wiping more than 6 per cent off its market value.

“We are coming off the fence,” said analyst Sebastien Jantet. “Much as we like Optos’ technology and the management team, we are struggling to see how the business can deliver growth.”

The Dunfermline-based firm, which last week surprised the market with a 37 per cent rise in full-year sales, dropped 12p to 177p, having fallen as low as 172.25p earlier in the session.

Coal miner ATH Resources chalked up a second day of heavy losses – plunging 13 per cent or 0.05p to 0.33p – after revealing on Monday that it has hired accountancy firm KPMG to look at selling its assets. Scotland’s second-largest miner has struggled with falling coal prices and an environmental levy.

Broker upgrades helped Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group to recover some of the ground they lost during Monday’s session.

UBS upgraded RBS to “buy”, while Barclays Capital raised its target price on both lenders. RBS closed up 3.5 per cent or 10p at 295.1p, while Lloyds climbed 2.9 per cent or 1.32p to 46.42p.

Aberdeen Asset Management headed in the opposite direction – falling 7.4p or 2.2 per cent to end the day at 328.6p – after investors forgot about Monday’s dividend upgrade and instead focused on a downgrade from analysts at Citigroup.

The wider FTSE 100 index closed up 12.99 points at 5,799.71 as traders digested Greece’s latest debt deal. But Michael Hewson, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, warned: “Gains on the back of the so-called Greek deal have been tempered by uncertainty about how the buyback will be financed.”

NEW YORK: Wall Street stuttered last night as shares lost ground after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed disappointment that there has been “little progress” in dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 89.24 points, or 0.69 per cent, at 12,878.36 while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 7.35 points, or 0.52 per cent, to finish at 1,398.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 8.99 points, or 0.30 per cent, to end at 2,967.79.