Rail operator back on track with spend plan

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. This week’s stock market reviewRailtrack has acted to avoid fresh confrontations with the rail regulator byannouncing plans to inject £2.5bn into modernising the UK’s ageing railwaysduring the next financial year from 1 April. The company delighted the City last week with the size of its proposedinfrastructure spend, which the Railtrack said is a record budget for one year.The news pushed the stock price up by about 10 per cent. The chances of it being fined over punctuality in the near future may havediminished, as the company revealed it has already cut delays by a significantamount. Railtrack admitted that it is not out of the woods yet but pledged tomaintain service improvements. Much of the new money will be earmarked for track, stations, bridges andsignaling works. Many analysts believe the regulator will soften its approachwhen details of the ongoing regulatory review are published in July.WPP finds there’s just no pleasing some people WPP Group, the UK advertising empire and third largest in the world, failedto impress the City last week with its good results for 1999. Despite unveilingexcellent figures for the year and brilliant prospects with a lot of newbusiness initiatives and ambitious profits targets, WPP saw its share priceslump by more than 12 per cent. The stock, which traded at £11.55 before the sharp fall, had been widelyperceived as overpriced. It seems nothing the company could have done topersuade the markets otherwise and the discomfort felt by some analysts haveprompted a sell recommendation to be slapped on the stock with a target priceof £8.Words speak louder then actions in global marketsWords can be more effective than action in the stock markets. When AlanGreenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, warned last week about the needto control US domestic demand, stock markets around the world became veryvolatile, albeit temporarily. Similarly, when Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said cuttingInternet costs would help develop a knowledge economy, the City seems to havemisconstrued his comments as a statement of government policy. The contents ofthe Chancellor’s speech caused some concern among analysts and for the secondtime in as many weeks BT’s stock price was badly hit.Banks’ prospects are back in the blackGreen shoots of recovery appeared in the banking sector last week when AbbeyNational and Halifax stock prices jumped, hard on the heels of the Woolwichduring the previous week. Abbey National, the UK’s second-largest mortgagelender, disclosed a healthy rise in profits and also announced its e-commerceambitions, in particular its on-line bank Cahoot. Halifax is developing anon-line car and home insurance venture called esure. Previous Article Next Article Rail operator back on track with spend planOn 22 Feb 2000 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

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