Shore Capital remains bullish on Unilever (LON:ULVR), expecting the company to achieve its targets this year. The upbeat comments follow the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods maker’s results yesterday when the Marmite owner’s quarterly sales came ahead of expectations.
Unilever’s share price has slipped marginally lower in London this morning, having lost 0.32 percent to 3,937.50p as of 08:12 BST, underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having climbed into positive territory and currently standing 0.16 percent higher at 7,130.03 points. The group’s shares have gained just under 20 percent this year, as compared with a near 0.2-percent dip in the Footsie.
Shore Capital reiterated its ‘buy’ rating on Unilever yesterday, as the Anglo-Dutch group posted better-than-expected quarterly sales and hiked its payout to shareholders as promised in a recent review.
The results confirmed “trading comfortably ahead of relatively modest expectations,” with underlying sales growth of 2.9 percent and a 12-percent increase in the quarterly dividend, the broker’s analyst Darren Shirley commented, as quoted by Citywire, adding that the FTSE 100 group looked “well set to achieve its 3-5% underlying sales growth target for the year”.
Unilever has also promised investors to offload its Spreads business and launch a €5-billion share buyback this year, following Kraft Heinz’s recent failed takeover bid, which prompted a company review.
Other analysts, however, have been less upbeat on the shares following the results, with Liberum Capital reiterating its ‘hold’ rating on the stock yesterday, with a price target of 3,870p. AlphaValue meanwhile has reaffirmed the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group as a ‘reduce,’ valuing the shares at 4,243p. According to MarketBeat, Unilever currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 4,033.48p.