One to watch: KPN

KPN, the leading telecoms operator in the Netherlands, frightened the market some days ago by warning that earnings would be nearer €5.3 billion against consensus view of €5.47bn.

The company has cited "deteriorating trends" in the Netherlands, involving changes in the mobile market. The key appears to be a migration to mobile data, which is impacting adversely on voice and SMS.

The reaction to KPN's cautionary tale – reduction in Ebitda of less than 4 per cent – looks somewhat extreme. There are a number of positive signs, not least an acceleration in underlying growth in Germany, but this outcome has spawned a number of less positive assessments from analysts.

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Significantly, KPN is under new management: Eelco Blok took over as chief executive recently and his spring market forecast may owe something to creating a less challenging atmosphere of expectation. Offering a yield of over 7 per cent and hugely cash-generative, the recent fall back in the share price could be an opportunity. However, its heavy exposure to the European market could restrict interest to those who do not believe that the euro is about to implode.


€10.17 -€0.09

Scotsman says BUY

• The value of your investment could fall and you may get back less than you invested. Take professional advice if you have any doubt about the suitability of this company for your portfolio.



349.2p -2.3p

Broker says SELL

Peel Hunt dropped its target price for First from 286p to 271p, citing concerns that future dividends will be dragged down by problems in its US school bus business. "At the moment the dividend is the predominant reason to hold these shares, and a reduction in its quality will deter some," the broker said.

Marks & Spencer

397p -1.8p

Broker says BUY

Arden Partners say today's final results from M&S will have "something for everyone". The broker says the performance of new store designs will be crucial but the retailed should be on track to beat profit expectations. "With lots more to come in 2012-13, we think the shares are good value."