Dec 3, 2008
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Hot small caps: JJB hit by probe into Sports Direct stake

Dec 3, 2008

LONDON - Following is a round-up of key small cap movers on the London stock market on Wednesday, December 3rd 9:50 a.m. - JJB hit by probe into Sports Direct stake.

Shares in sporting goods retailer JJB Sports slump 23 percent to 11.5 pence, taking their losses this week to over 50 percent, after Britain's consumer affairs watchdog said on Tuesday it planned to investigate rival Sports Direct's decision to buy a stake in the business.

"The investigation creates the possibility that stakes held by Sports Direct and JD Sports Fashion might have to be sold, creating an overhang," says Altium Securities analyst David Stoddart, cutting his price target to 10 pence from 32 pence and his rating to "sell" from "buy."

9:15 a.m. - HMV falls; HSBC cuts to "neutral" from "overweight"

Shares in HMV fall 9.2 percent as HSBC cuts its recommendation to "neutral" from "overweight," saying the expected bounce in sales from a strong autumn release schedule has not happened.

In a note, HSBC also points out that competitive activity remains intense, and it believes the prospects of HMV escaping the "vortex" that is Britain's Christmas 2008 are slim.

As such, the broker reduces its 2008/2009 pretax profit forecast by 19 percent, and lowers its target price to 127 pence from 155 pence.

Ahead of interim results next week, UBS also cuts its target price for HMV to 110 pence from 125 pence, while maintaining its "neutral" recommendation.

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