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Wolseley shares hit seven-year low

Share prices for heating and plumbing products distributor Wolseley share prices hit a seven-year low on Tuesday as concerns continued over the impact of the housing downturn in the United States and Europe.

A trading note from Goldman Sachs released on Monday repeated its “sell” recommendation and cut its six month price target to 346 pence from 465. By 10.10am on Tuesday share prices had fallen to 355.25pence – in September last year shares were still valued at above 1,000 pence.

The Goldman Sachs statement said: “We expect all Wolseley’s end markets to deteriorate into financial year 2009, with greater pressure than we had previously thought in France and indicators for non-residential construction in the United States increasingly negative.

“We expect the 11-month trading statement on July 16 to highlight tangible deterioration in both the group’s UK and French operations.”

The report said it has reduced its six-month price target “to fully reflect the significantly higher debt levels at the company than in previous downturns.”
The report added that a quicker than expected up turn in the US market might “dampen concerns about the balance sheet”.

Group chief executive Chip Hornsby is pictured.