LONDON (ShareCast) - Investing in Vodafone (LSE: VOD.L - news) should be a relatively sedate business. The company has an assured cash-flow, a generous way with dividends and has bounced back from last year´s losses, a note yesterday from Citi saying that its shares have gone far enough notwithstanding. This is because fears that its dividend policy will be cut thereafter seem unfounded; whatever the company's woes in Southern Europe and other more challenging territories, the balance sheet remains strong and there are no obvious acquisition targets of any appreciable size. Neither are any huge surprises expected when the company updates investors next Thursday, The Times´s Tempus explains. That secure dividend yield looks like a good reason for holding the stock, he adds.
Mark Bristow, the Chief Executive of Randgold Resources, described 2012 as "a particularly eventful year". Well, yes, an armed insurrection that takes over half of the already unstable African country where most of your cash-producing assets are can concentrate the mind. Then there was a fire over Christmas at its Tongon mine in Ivory Coast, which came after a series of interruptions caused by power cuts. Randgold has just taken a party of analysts to look at its Loulo-Gounkoto mine in Mali, which is at the other end of the country from the unrest, and Numis Securities at least were impressed enough to rate the shares their top pick among mid-cap gold producers.
The unrest in Mali led to the shares falling from their peak of £78.05 in October, but, after rising 190p to only £62.75 yesterday, they still look pricey, even if political concerns have largely been assuaged, Tempus believes.
As the recent global stock market rally charged ahead, the price of gold companies such as Randgold Resources fell. The African-focused miner posted record full-year sales and profit yesterday but investors are still concerned about the direction of the gold price. They shouldn't be, even if some, such as Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) , have said they expect to see falls starting in 2014.
This should not be such a problem for Randgold, as production rises and cash flow soars. The company assets are regarded as "tier 1" in the mining industry - the top class. Questor is concerned about valuations after the recent sharp rally and would be reticent about buying any shares at the moment. However, Randgold has underperformed, despite its record numbers and gold should be a beneficiary should investors flee risk in the next few months. Indeed, there were some signs yesterday that Eurozone fears could re-emerge. Buy, says The Telegraph´s Questor team.
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