Market watch: Investors warm to insulation maker Superglass ahead of AGM

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INVESTORS in Superglass will gather for the company’s AGM tomorrow amid continued stake-swapping activity among major shareholders.

Last week, Irish building industry veteran Michael Chadwick, chairman of Grafton Group, took his personal holding to 8.7 per cent after Swedish investor Peter Gyllenhammer reduced his stake.

The company’s biggest shareholder is another Irish buyer, Belfast-based family firm W&R Barnett, which owns just under 18 per cent of the shares in the insulation maker after upping its stake last year. Superglass has seen its value plunge from more than £120 million to less than £4m in the past five years, but recent weeks have seen shares rise by more than a quarter.

Meanwhile, pub chain JD Wetherspoon is likely to report slowing sales growth over its Christmas quarter as the group nurses an Olympics hangover.

Experts at Deutsche Bank predict a “muted” 1.5 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the pub chain’s second quarter, which will be markedly down from its first quarter, when like-for-like sales jumped 7.1 per cent amid a London 2012 boost.

The group, which posts figures on Wednesday, warned the level of sales would not be sustained and City analysts also said figures would come up against strong comparisons after a successful Christmas in 2011.

But Simon French, analyst at Panmure Gordon, is pencilling in a more encouraging 3 per cent hike in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks since 29 October, after what he believes will have been a “fairly strong Christmas and New Year trading period”.

Wetherspoon, which operates more than 860 pubs, has extended its traditional January sale – including £2.99 meal deals – to the end of the month.

Geof Collyer, managing director of the leisure team at Deutsche Bank Equity Research, said the meal deals would put more pressure on margins. Wetherspoon warned in November that margins would be squeezed.

Week ahead

Tomorrow: Superglass (AGM)

Tuesday: Halfords, IG Group

Wednesday: Barratt Developments; JD Wetherspoon

Thursday: Dixons

Friday: Bovis