Admiral (LON:ADM) has been one of today’s UK share prices to watch, rising to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard after updating investors on its half-year performance. Prudential’s (LON:PRU) shares meanwhile have been more volatile with investors digesting its results along with an update on its demerger plans.
Admiral rallies, the Pru volatile
Admiral has soared to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard as it announced a rise in turnover and operating profit for the six months to June 30, even as it suffered a £33-million headwind as a result of the Ogden discount rate in the UK. The car insurer further cheered investors up with an interim dividend of 63.0p per share, representing a normal dividend of 41.8p per share and a special dividend of 21.2p per share.
“If it’s a can’t-put-down, read-in-one-go page-turner that you’re after, then I’m afraid our half-year results don’t fit the bill,” the group’s chief executive David Stevens commented in the group’s results statement. “Turnover up mid-single digits, profit up low-single digits.”
Admiral’s share price has added more than three percent in London in early afternoon trade this Wednesday, as compared with about a one-percent fall in the benchmark FTSE 100 index. Broader market sentiment has suffered on the back of weak data out of China, even as the US moved to delay tariffs on some Chinese goods.
Prudential meanwhile is about one percent down, having given up morning gains of more than one percent. The Pru reported higher profits for the first half of the year, having benefitted from strong performance in the US and Asia and further said that it expects its demerger to be completed in the fourth quarter of the year.
Sharecast quoted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, as commenting that the rationale and benefits of the demerger are ‘crystal clear’ when considering the potential of what will be the larger of the two entities after the split in the form of Prudential.
“In terms of sheer size and potential, Prudential is likely to rule the roost post-demerger, with the M&G business looking to define a growth path nearer to home,” he pointed out.
In other UK share prices to watch today, Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) is trading in positive territory as its wholly-owned subsidiary SLMH06 had sold shares in HDFC Life, and is expected to land about £374 million net of taxes and expenses from the deal. Following the deal, SLMH06’s remaining stake in HDFC Life stands at 19.69 percent, valued at about £2.3 billion. SLA’s share price has reacted positively and is currently about 0.3 percent better off against the background of the broader market selloff.
Outside the insurance and asset management sector, BT Group (LON:BT.A) is seeing its shares sold off as it announced that it was planning to to delist its American Depositary Shares from the New York Stock Exchange and terminate its American Depositary Receipt programme. The former telecoms monopoly cited reporting costs and complexity whilst maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance and transparent financial reporting.
BT’s shares are about two percent down in early afternoon trade in London, while in New York, the shares are down by more than three percent in pre-market trade. Investors based in North America hold about a fifth of the UK telco’s shares in issue.
In smaller notable UK shares, Sports Direct International (LON:SPD) is in the doldrums again after announcing that Grant Thornton had decided to not seek reappointment as its auditor.
The move marks another blow for the sports goods retailer, which recently delayed the publication of its annual results and subsequently disclosed that it was it had received a payment notice from the Belgian tax authorities in the amount of €674 million. Sports Direct’s shares are changing hands more than 12 percent in the red.
UK share prices to watch tomorrow
While no blue-chip companies are scheduled to update the market on their performance on Thursday, tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch will include KAZ Minerals (LON:KAZ), which is due to post its half-year results. The update will come after the company posted its production report last month, reporting a rise in half-year copper output and saying that it was on track to achieve its guidance.
UK investors are also likely to watch out for Walmart’s (LON:NYSE:WMT) on the other side of the Atlantic for any updates regarding the US supermarket giant’s Asda business in the UK following the collapse of the division’s merger with Sainsbury’s (LON:SBRY) earlier this year.