20 April 2018 · 5 min read

High equity valuations face macro headwinds

Factors behind record run of corporate profitability may be fading

We have had a cautious view on global equities for longer than has been comfortable. In truth, over the last 12 months this view has been 50% right at best. European markets, including the UK, have delivered relatively little capital growth. However the US and emerging markets have moved significantly higher. When the headlines are focussed on geopolitical events, it is also easy to lose sight of the anchor of equity valuations. We have updated our equity valuation measures and find that the US market in particular remains notably expensive while European markets still appear overvalued. We recognise that this has in part been justified by the record run of corporate profitability but the factors driving this phenomenon may now be going into reverse.

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Gavin Wood
17 April 2018 · 3 min read

Deutsche Beteiligungs – reduced earnings guidance for FY18

Lower market valuation multiples have materially affected H118 net income

Deutsche Beteiligungs (DBAG) has announced that it expects to report net income for the year to 30 September 2018 that is moderately (10% to 20%) lower than the €43.0m average of the last five financial years (the reference for previous guidance), equating to net income of between €34m and €39m for FY18. Previous guidance, first given at the time of the FY17 results and confirmed with Q118 results, was for a significant (more than 20%) increase in net income. The revised forecast is based on DBAG’s c €20m expected net income for H118, which reflects lower market valuation multiples being applied in the valuation of portfolio companies at 31 March 2018. DBAG’s guidance assumes constant market valuation multiples and so is subject to upward or downward revisions following significant market moves.

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16 April 2018 · 3 min read

2018 Earnings forecasts: Still robust, for now

Corporate sector soldiers on despite increasing geopolitical tensions

Geopolitics will in our view continue to present headline risk for the rest of the year. The US/China trade détente has broken apart as the US administration addresses the prospect of China challenging for dominance in the world economy. This weekend’s military response to the use of chemical weapons in both Salisbury, UK and Syria may for now be described as “mission accomplished” but it remains to be seen what the response would be to any further provocation. At the same time, there has been a run of disappointing economic data in the eurozone. Nevertheless, earnings estimates remain relatively stable for now in aggregate as the recent strength of the oil price leads to upgrades in energy, offset by modest downgrades in other sectors.

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Elaine Reynolds
28 March 2018

UK independents pick up blocks in Mexico’s Round 3.1

Premier Oil was awarded three blocks, while Cairn Energy has picked up one block in the latest shallow water round offshore Mexico. Premier beat off bids from five other consortia for Block 30,  which was the most hotly contested of the round. The company holds a 30% WI in the Sureste basin block, which will be operated by DEA and partnered by new entrant Sapura.

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23 March 2018 · 3 min read

Market declines: US LIBOR or US trade war?

Headlines scream trade war while a surge in US LIBOR is tightening US financial conditions

It is very easy to point the finger at US trade sanctions against China as a reason for the recent declines in equity markets. The prospect of a near-term confrontation, in respect of access to markets and IP protection (a free competition zone perhaps rather than a free trade area), is clearly unhelpful for global equity sentiment. China’s transition from a catch-up nation to an economic competitor always had to be resolved at some stage. However the second dynamic at work during Q1 18 is a rapid rise in US LIBOR, over and above that of official US interest rates. This is tightening monetary conditions rather faster than policymakers may have intended.

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Elaine Reynolds
20 March 2018

Some way to go for FAR in FAN

FAR has today released independently assessed resource figures for the FAN deepwater basin discovery offshore Senegal. RISC assigns 2C recoverable resources of 198mmbbls, based on data from the FAN-1 discovery well, drilled in 2014. Given that the well encountered thin reservoir sands of disappointing quality, the JV has since focused on appraising and developing the more attractive SNE field that sits nearby in shallower water on the shelf.

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20 March 2018 · 2 min read

Social Media’s Dieselgate?

The risks include fines, increased regulation and a change in consumer preferences

The recent controversy over social media and the use of its user data is likely to persist. Many users may not understand that researchers can accurately profile individuals on something as simple as their Facebook “likes”. The potential for influencing in subtle ways both consumption and more controversially political behaviours through targeted advertising should be clear. Multiple investigations across jurisdictions may now cast a harsh light on business practices which may otherwise have continued under the radar. Global digital titans which have become in effect brokers of user data are therefore under threat on another front, in addition to a recently proposed digital revenue tax.

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15 March 2018 · 2 min read

2018 Earnings forecasts: US stable, modest declines in Europe

Watch for ebbing economic momentum as survey data peaks

Despite the increase in equity market volatility, there has been little follow-through to economic fundamentals to date. US earnings forecasts have stabilised and are indicating mid-teens profits growth for 2018, of which approximately one-half appears to be due to US tax reform. US economic surprise also remains relatively strong. In Europe however, unweighted earnings estimates have continued to fall, if modestly, and perhaps more importantly here economic surprise indices have turned sharply lower. We view this as partly due to Brexit uncertainty in the UK and a rising EUR exchange rate in continental Europe.

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Elaine Reynolds
8 March 2018

Exploration Watch - Trinidad: New energy to a low cost, low risk region

Trinidad is a well-established oil and gas producing region, with continuous production since the first field came onstream in 1902. The hydrocarbon sector has been predominantly producing gas since the 1990s and offshore gas development is dominated by the majors: BP, Shell, BHP and EOG resources. This has created an opportunity for independent companies to operate in the onshore oil fields located in the south of the island. Columbus Energy Resources (CERP), Range Resources, Touchstone Exploration and Trinity Exploration and Production all operate producing onshore oil fields, while Trinity also operates offshore in the Columbus Basin. Recent management changes or new funding at these companies has resulted in a boost to activity across assets that offer low cost, low risk development, although there are challenges in producing from older well stock in geologically complex structures.

Click here to read the full 13 page report

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Elaine Reynolds
20 February 2018

Barents Sea: greater success in 2018?

One of the most high profile wells to be drilled in 2017 was Statoil’s Korpfjell exploration well in the Barents Sea. The well found only a small non-commercial volume of gas, and contributed to a year of disappointing results for the region. In 2018 there are no similar multi-billion barrel potential prospects scheduled to be drilled, however we do see a sustained commitment to the Barents, with seven exploration wells confirmed and options for a further five wells announced to date. Statoil and Lundin remain as key explorers in the region, but AkerBP will also make a major contribution to the number of wells drilled, as it plans to operate or partner in six wells in the Barents, out of its total Norwegian exploration programme of 12 wells in 2018.

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