The City News: Next plc (NXT), Shire Plc (SHP), The Sage Group plc (SGE) & More

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Editor’s Note: Related tickers: Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS), AngloGold Ashanti Limited (NYSE:AU), Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE:GS), NEXT plc (LON:NXT), Shire PLC (LON:SHP), The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE), ITV plc (LON:ITV), Anglo American plc (LON:AAL)

UK retailer Next’s quarterly sales edge higher (Reuters)
NEXT plc (LON:NXT), Britain’s second biggest clothing retailer, posted a small rise in quarterly sales, with trade picking up after a slow start to its financial year as the weather improved. NEXT plc (LON:NXT), which trades from over 500 stores in Britain and Ireland and almost 200 stores overseas, as well as via a Directory internet and catalogue business, said on Wednesday total sales rose 2.2 percent in the 14 weeks to May 4, its fiscal first quarter. …NEXT plc (LON:NXT) has generally defied the economic gloom, helped by its strong online offer, a constant stream of new store openings and diversification into homewares and overseas markets. However, it said it remained cautious about the consumer environment.

Shire PLC (ADR)

Why BAE Systems plc, NEXT plc And Melrose Industries PLC Should Beat The FTSE 100 Today (Fool)
The FTSE 100 reached a five-year closing high of 6,557 points yesterday, and has already beaten that today to peak so far at 6,569 — at the time of writing, the index is 6 points up on the day at 6,563. Trade news from China has improved in recent days, and a number of strong results updates from FTSE companies has renewed confidence. Mining shares are edging up again. …NEXT plc (LON:NXT) shares have soared by more than 50% over the past 12 months, helped by a 119p (2.7%) boost to 4,525p this morning after the high-street fashion chain released a cheery update. For the first 14 weeks of the year, NEXT plc (LON:NXT) Brand sales were up 2.2%, with 1.5% of that from new outlets. Although NEXT plc (LON:NXT) Retail sales dropped 1.9%, possibly due to very cold March weather, NEXT plc (LON:NXT) Directory sales gained a very nice 8.9%.

Shire’s Outperform Rating Reaffirmed at Credit Suisse (SHP) (Zolmax)
Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) reissued their outperform rating on shares of Shire PLC (LON:SHP) in a research report released on Friday morning, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. Credit Suisse Group AG (NYSE:CS) currently has a GBX 2,350 ($36.58) price target on the stock. A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on SHP. Analysts at Societe Generale reiterated a buy rating on shares of Shire PLC (LON:SHP) in a research note to investors on Friday. They now have a GBX 2,334 ($36.33) price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Morgan Stanley reiterated an overweight rating on shares of Shire PLC (LON:SHP) in a research note to investors on Thursday, May 2nd. They now have a GBX 2,400 ($37.35) price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Panmure Gordon reiterated a buy rating on shares of Shire PLC (LON:SHP) in a research note to investors on Tuesday, April 30th.

We still trust Libor: UK corporate treasurers (Reuters)
Financial decision makers at some of Britain’s biggest companies say they still trust the scandal-hit interbank lending rate Libor, despite calls from regulators to overhaul it. Delegates at the Association of Corporate Treasurers annual conference said they did not see a better alternative, even after a global rate fixing scam demonstrated that Libor’s compilers could manipulate the rate. …”I think it works and I don’t want to get rid of it,” said Tom Greene, group treasurer for the British drugmaker Shire PLC (LON:SHP). “You just accept that it’s subject to a number of individual contributors, and that’s just part of what it is.”

Subscription software delivers profit boost for Sage (Reuters)
British software company The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) posted a 6 percent rise in first-half adjusted pretax profit, meeting market expectations, as more of its small business customers subscribed to its accountancy packages. …It said subscriptions for Sage One, its entry-level software for start-up and small businesses available as an Internet “cloud” service, had reached 11,500, a four-fold increase in the last 12 months.

Sage CFO announces plans to exit and take up role at WANDisco (IFAMagazine)
The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE), the FTSE 100 listed company which provides business management software, has announced that its Chief Financial Officer has given notice of his plan to leave to take up the same role at WANDisco. He will leave at the end of August this year, the company said, adding that it has started its search for a replacement. Chief Executive Officer Guy Berruyer said: ‘Paul has been with The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) for 16 years and has played a very significant part in its growth and success. He has been a core member of the management team and he will be leaving with all of our best wishes as he takes up this exciting opportunity. We are very pleased that he will be remaining with the group whilst the search for his successor is undertaken.’

Should I Buy the Sage Group? (DailyFinance)
I’m window shopping for shares again, and there are plenty of goodies for sale. Should I popSage Group into my basket? …Where the global economy leads, business management software specialist The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) follows. So revenues have been strong in robust economies such as the U.S., and across its Africa, Australia, Middle East, and Asia business, but have slipped in Europe. This is hardly surprising. The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) sells to the small and medium-sized business market, which is at the sharp end of global economic shifts. If the global economy recovers, The Sage Group plc (LON:SGE) will surely follow. Should I buy into that?

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