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4 shares the pros are buying and selling

Our regular roundup of trades by professional investors, featuring Paddy Power Betfair, Mattioli Woods, Quarto and Tatton.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£6,839m
No. of shares out85m
No. of shares floating80m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees7557
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£1,501m
Profit before tax£387m
Earnings per share-7.13p
Cashflow per share295.43p
Cash per share297.45p

Citywire A-rated international value investor Matthew Benkendorf has pared his holding in gambling giant Paddy Power Betfair (PPB), following an 8% slide in its shares so far this year.

Benkendorf reduced his investment in the bookmaker from just over 3% of shares to 2.9% worth £202 million at a share price of £80.90, down from £89 over the last month.

The shares are held in his $2.7 billion (£1.9 billion) Vontobel Global Equity fund.

Paddy Power Betfair went through a generational handover at the turn of the year with chief executive Breon Corcoran - who oversaw the merger between the two gambling giants - handing over responsibilities to incomer Peter Jackson.

The shares were already sharply off before the entire sector took a hit in late January on news the government was likely to crack down on fixed odd betting terminals more strongly than expected.

Investec last month lifted its target price from £75 to £88.50 and upped its guidance from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£152m
No. of shares out20m
No. of shares floating12m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees270
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£23m
Profit before tax£6m
Earnings per share19.14p
Cashflow per share25.28p
Cash per share44.04p

Citywire AAA-rated value star Keith Ashworth-Lord has sold down his stake in pension company Mattioli Woods ( MTW).

Ashworth-Lord trimmed his holding in the company from 3.1% of shares to 2.6% worth £5.1 million at a share price of 757p, down from a September high of 861p.

The shares are held in his £247 million CFP SDL UK Buffettology General fund with a smaller position in AA-rated colleague Alistair Currie’s Castlefield UK Smaller Companies fund.

Shares in the Leicester wealth manager and workplace pension specialist remain more than 200% richer over the last five years. Canaccord Genuity last month lifted its guidance on the stock to ‘buy’ and its price target from 840p to 860p.

That followed a trading update reporting client assets up from £7.7 billion to £8.3 billion in the six months to end November, and organic revenue growth of 15%.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£31m
No. of shares out20m
No. of shares floating11m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees499
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover111m USD
Profit before tax35m USD
Earnings per share0.32 USD
Cashflow per share1.52 USD
Cash per share0.69 USD

Citywire AA-rated small cap veteran Paul Mumford has halved his stake in troubled book publisher Quarto (QRT) as its shares begin to claw their way back from the lows hit following a 2017 profit warning.

Mumford reduced his holding in the business from 7.3% of shares to 3.6% worth £1.2 million at a price of 162p, up from a 2017 low of 121p.

The shares were held in his £145 million Cavendish UK Opportunities fund, which before the disposal was the largest fund backer of the company.

Non-fiction, children’s and self-help book publisher Quarto had been considered in turnaround following the acrimonious ousting of its long-running chief executive by activist investors in 2012.

The price had already slid from a peak of 322p when it tumbled 28% in July last year, after warning that profit expectations for the year had been ‘set too high’ and describing sales as ‘disappointing’.

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Key stats
Market capitalisation£133m
No. of shares out56m
No. of shares floating36m
No. of common shareholdersnot stated
No. of employees69
Trading volume (10 day avg.)m
Turnover£12m
Profit before tax£3m
Earnings per share2.06p
Cashflow per share2.14p
Cash per share1.23p

Small cap stock pickers Gervais Williams and Martin Turner have reduced their stake in wealth boutique Tatton Asset Management (TAMT) following a 26% jump in its share price year-to-date.

The managers have taken their holding down from 5.2% to 4.7% of the shares worth £6.3 million at a share price of 240p.

The majority of the shares are held in the Miton UK Multicap Income fund with the rest in the Diverse Income investment trust.

Tatton Asset Management, which had an initial public offering in July 2017, revealed a 71% hit to pre-tax profits in its results for the six months to September 2017. However, group chief executive said he is not worried about the drop in profit to £542,000.

He added that he believes inflows into the company’s discretionary arm will double in the months ahead. The business has over £4.4 billion in assets under management and increased revenues from £5.6 million to £7.3 million compared to the same period in 2016.

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