Standard Life results due to report a forecast £293m profit for the first six months of this year after the insurer has had a good six months out of the spotlight and posted first quarter sales up 30 pct to £4.6 billion.
However, with the company set to report tomorrow, a number of banks and stock brokerages are yet to make their call with Nomura International's Nick Holmes and Morgan Stanley amongst those yet to resume coverage on the stock which has underperformed since floating in 2006.
Instead, it is Barrie Cornes of Panmure Gordon who advises: "The shares have rallied 20% in the past month, but we believe they have further to run based on valuation. Buy." he says following their first quarter results on 'good' valuation.
"Despite the recent share price rally (+20% in past month) the valuation remains undemanding with the shares trading at a 31% discount to our 2010E EV of 302p/share and a dividend yield of 6.0%. We have a Buy recommendation on the stock, with 8% upside potential from the current share price to our target price of 225p." he concludes.
The insurer, which has a capital-lite structure has also recently acquired threesixty a support service for ifa's and a 75.1 per cent stake in Aida Capital however Barrie does not expect further acquisitions:
Cornes said more welcome than any "premature" major acquisition by Standard would be overseas purchases "or small bolt-ons until we get out of the woods" he said, outlining City concerns over the insurer's capital.
The shares which floated at 230p are currently trading at 285p (-5.5p, or 1.89 pct).