UK share prices watch: Admiral rallies, BT suffers
Blue-chip car insurer Admiral Group (LON:ADM) has been one of today’s UK share prices to watch, advancing on the back of analyst comments, while telecoms giant BT Group (LON:BT.A) has come under pressure following a broker downgrade. Broader market sentiment meanwhile remains subdued with investors awaiting a meeting of US President Donald Trump with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan this week, which will come amid strained trade relations between Washington and Beijing.
Admiral in demand, BT drops
Admiral has advanced in London trading today, soaring to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard, having benefitted from comments at Barclays, which lifted its stance on the blue-chip car insurer to ‘overweight’.
“Our analysis suggests insurance prices have reached an inflection point in the second-quarter,” the analysts pointed out, as quoted by Reuters, adding that they saw this as a positive for Admiral and smaller London-listed peer Hastings (LON:HSTG). Shares in Admiral are changing hands about 3.7 percent higher in early afternoon trade, as compared with a flat Footsie, while Hastings is up by about 0.8 percent, outperforming about a 0.1-percent fall in the mid-cap FTSE 250 index.
BT Group meanwhile is suffering as a result of a broker downgrade, as Deutsche Bank turned bearish on the former telecoms monopoly, slashing its rating on the stock from ‘hold’ to ‘sell’. Sharecast quoted the broker as warning that the company would see capital expenditure rise, which in turn could threaten BT’s ongoing earnings recovery.
“We have BT as one of the least attractive European telecos, given low levels of fibre deployment and the less advanced state of convergence competition in the UK versus other markets,” Deutsche Bank analyst Robert Grindle points out. BT’s share price has given up more than two percent so far today.
Elsewhere in the FTSE 100 index, tobacco shares are underperforming the market as it emerged that rival Philip Morris was plotting a bigger move into the UK e-cigarette market. The Times reported this morning that the owner of Marlboro cigarettes was considering opening hundreds of stores in Britain, starting initially with four IQOS stores selling heated tobacco and vape products in Bristol and two in Manchester to sell its heat-not-burn tobacco devices. British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) is trading about one percent in the red, while shares in FTSE 100 peer Imperial Brands (LON:IMB) have given up about 0.8 percent.
Broader market sentiment has been subdued this Monday, with investors staying on the sidelines ahead of the G-20 meeting later in the week.
“The FTSE 100 was flat in early trading on Monday with the potential catalysts not scheduled until this coming Friday when the G20 summit is held,” said Russ Mould, the investment director of AJ Bell, commented, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “All the attention will be on Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and whether they can dial down the mood music on trade which of late has been set at death metal levels.”
Mould added that “the outcome could help set the tone for the markets over the remainder of the summer”.
UK share prices to watch tomorrow
While corporate releases are in short supply tomorrow, FirstGroup (LON:FGP) is likely to provide some excitement on account of its extraordinary general meeting. The meeting will come after the company recently unveiled plans to rationalise its portfolio, focusing on its core American businesses First Student and First Transit.
The move comes amid the group’s boardroom battle with US hedge fund Coast Capital which holds a 9.7-percent stake in FirstGroup, with the investor having demanded a radical overhaul of the company’s structures, including that it split its UK assets from its US assets and withdraw from Britain’s ‘destructive’ rail industry in a bid to return to profit.
Sky News reported today that Schroders, which owns just under nine percent of FirstGroup, and 10-percent shareholder Columbia Threadneedle Investments will oppose the re-election of FirstGroup chairman Wolfhart Hauser at tomorrow’s meeting.
Other UK share prices to watch tomorrow include carpets retailer Carpetright (LON:CPR), which is scheduled to post its full-year results after posting a trading update in April, and saying at the time that it remained on target to achieve the previously-announced £19 million of annualised cash savings. London-listed energy group Petrofac (LON:PFC) meanwhile set to update investors on its recent trading.
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