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Sage 'sell' warning dents Terry Smith and Nick Train

Sage 'sell' warning dents Terry Smith and Nick Train

The FTSE 100 has recovered some ground from last week's sell-off amid optimism over trade talks between the US and China, but shares in Sage (SGE) fell to the bottom of the index after a downgrade from analysts at Deutsche Bank.

The accountancy software provider, a top holding for Citywire AAA-rated Terry Smith and AA-rated Nick Train, fell 5.5% to 629.4p as analyst Steve Goulden labelled the stock a 'sell' and cut his price target.

'Over the last few weeks, we have spoken to a number of accountants and resellers across the UK, US and Australia, along with senior figures from key competitors Xero and Intuit (INTU.O),' he said.

'Our key takeaway from these conversations is that the competitive situation in Sage's core mid-market franchise appears to be worsening. 

'Entry level players at far lower price points are moving upmarket and are building functionality either internally or through third party platform partners. Higher end competitors also appear to be gradually gaining share from Sage's core user and reseller base.'

Sage is a major holding for Smith in his £16.2 billion Fundsmith  Equity fund, although the stock no longer makes it into his top 10.

The shares meanwhile account for 5.1% of Train's £5.6 billion Lindsell Train UK Equity fund and 4.9% of his Finsbury Growth & Income (FGT) investment trust.

The shares are down 21% since the turn of the year as subscription growth has slowed.

Train acknowledged in an update to investors last month that the company faced challenges 'in migrating its business to the cloud, in the face of new competition from exponents of the new cloud technology'.

At the other end of the index, miners recovered ground from last week's heavy sell-off as copper prices rose on hopes of progress in trade talks between the US and China later this month. Risers included:

  • BHP Billiton (BLT) +2.8% at £16.75;
  • Anglo American (AAL) +2.2% at £15.68;
  • Glencore (GLEN) +2.2% at 311.6p;
  • Antofagasta (ANTO) +1.9% at 843p.

On the Alternative Investment Market, shares in Mulberry (MUL) slumped 14.9% to 484p as the luxury bag maker warned of a £3 million hit from the collapse of department store House of Fraser.

Mulberry operates 21 concessions across the group, which was bought out of administration by Sports Direct (SPD) this month.

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