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The City News: InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG), Barclays PLC (BARC), GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) & More

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Editor’s Note: Related tickers: JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM), AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN), Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB), InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG), GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK), Shire PLC (LON:SHP), Barclays PLC (LON:BARC), Dixons Retail PLC (LON:DXNS)

InterContinental Expands in China Despite Economic Slowdown (BusinessWeek)
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG), the world’s largest provider of hotel accommodation, plans to almost double the number of hotels it manages in China even as the country’s economy slows. The owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands today opened its 200th hotel in Greater China, which takes in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. It has 170 hotels in the region, its second-biggest market, Richard Solomons, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Shanghai. The company plans to expand to 100 Chinese cities from 70 cities now in the next three to five years, he said.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (ADR) (NYSE:IHG)

Tibet activists demand InterContinental ditch Lhasa luxury hotel plan (Phayul)
Tibet campaigners armed with placards carrying graphic images of human rights abuses in Tibet disrupted InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG)’s annual general meeting in London with a “die in” Friday. The demonstrators were demanding IGH to withdraw its plans to open a luxury hotel in Lhasa, Tibet’s ancient capital, citing the “severe human rights abuses in Tibet and intense, ongoing protests against Chinese rule.” IHG – owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands – plans to open the 1,000+ room “InterContinental Resort Lhasa Paradise” in 2014 in partnership with Deng Hong of Sichuan-based Exhibition and Travel Group, a Chinese businessman with “close links” to the Chinese regime.

InterContinental Hotels Group – Port Ghalib receives ‘Zoover Highly Recommended’ Award (Ameinfo)
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) The Palace Port Ghalib Resort, Crowne Plaza Sahara Sands Port Ghalib Resort and Crowne Plaza Sahara Oasis Port Ghalib Resort’s effort was recently commended by receiving the prestigious “Zoover Highly Recommended” Award for Service Excellence for the year 2013. InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) – Port Ghalib recorded high rating of 8.5 based on guests’ reviews that labeled us as winners of “Zoover Highly Recommended” award which is granted only for the highly praised accommodations and impeccable service. The Zoover Awards were created in order to give recognition to the best rated accommodations in popular destinations worldwide and are considered the most-coveted consumer prizes in the travel industry.

Barclays Australia CEO Cynthia Whelan Resigns (WSJ)
The chief executive of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) +2.27%s Australian unit, Cynthia Whelan, has resigned from the bank, a person familiar with the matter told MoneyBeat. The departure wasn’t linked to recent job cuts at the U.K.-based bank and was her own decision, the person said. Jeff Deck, the current vice-chairman of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) Asia, will act as interim CEO until a successor is named. Ms. Whelan was appointed head of the Australian operations in June 2011 as the bank beefed up its up its foreign-exchange and fixed-income operations in the resource- rich country. Previously, Ms Whelan had served as head of debt capital markets for Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) in the Asia-Pacific region.

Barclays PLC Given Buy Rating at Shore Capital Stockbrokers (BARC) (Zolmax)
Shore Capital Stockbrokers reissued their buy rating on shares of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) in a research report released on Thursday morning, Analyst Ratings Network reports. Shares of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) traded down 1.38% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting GBX 317.00. Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) has a 52 week low of GBX 147.90 and a 52 week high of GBX 287.449. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently GBX 221.1. The company’s market cap is £38.788 billion. Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) reiterated a buy rating on shares of Barclays PLC (LON:BARC) in a research note to investors on Wednesday, May 22nd.

GlaxoSmithKline Rating Reiterated by Societe Generale (GSK) (TickerReport)
Societe Generale reaffirmed their buy rating on shares of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) in a report released on Thursday, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. GSK has been the subject of a number of other recent research reports. Analysts at BNP Paribas reiterated an underperform rating on shares of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) in a research note to investors on Wednesday, May 22nd. They now have a GBX 1,500 ($22.70) price target on the stock, up previously from GBX 1,400 ($21.18). Separately, analysts at Cenkos Securities Ltd reiterated a buy rating on shares of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) in a research note to investors on Monday, May 20th. They now have a GBX 1,933 ($29.25) price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Bryan Garnier & Cie reiterated a neutral rating on shares of GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) in a research note to investors on Tuesday, May 14th. They now have a GBX 1,940 ($29.35) price target on the stock.

AstraZeneca buys heart firm Omthera for up to $443 million (4-Traders)
AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) is to buy Omthera Pharmaceuticals (>> Omthera Pharmaceuticals Inc) for as much as $443 million to build up its cardiovascular drug business, a priority area for Britain’s second-biggest drugmaker. …The new drug will compete with other fish oil-based medicines such as GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) Lovaza and Amarin’s Vascepa. AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN) had, at one stage, been tipped as a possible buyer of Amarin. Cardiovascular medicine is a key area for AstraZeneca plc (NYSE:AZN), whose top-selling medicine is cholesterol fighter Crestor. The British-based group said it intended to conduct a series of clinical studies testing a fixed-dose combination of Crestor and Epanova.

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