UK share prices watch: Barratt cautiously higher
Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) has been one of today’s UK share prices to watch, with investors digesting the company’s trading update. Broader market sentiment, however, has been subdued ahead of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s highly-anticipated testimony which will be eyed for clues over the US central bank’s monetary policy.
Barratt Developments cautiously higher
Barratt Developments’ shares have been little changed in London this Wednesday, as the blue-chip housebuilder reported that its full-year profit before tax is expected to be ahead of market expectations at around £910 million, compared with £835.5 million in the prior-year period, driven by continued strong progress from margin initiatives, a strong close to the year and additional contribution from joint ventures. The update comes ahead of the company’s full-year results due out on September 4. Barratt’s shares have added about 0.6 percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.06 percent fall in the Footsie.
Micro Focus (LON:MCRO) has remained in the doldrums for a second day in the wake of its interims which pointed to lower revenue and higher profit. Proactive Investors reports that Credit Suisse and Citi have both reiterated their ‘sell’ ratings on the software specialist, while traders have cited a fresh bearish signal. Keith Bowman at interactive investor meanwhile was more upbeat on the stock, commenting in a note yesterday that a forecast dividend yield of over four percent made Micro Focus attractive to income seekers, while cautioning that “sales are tipped to fall this year”.
London Stock Exchange (LON:LSE) has also been among this Wednesday’s UK share prices to watch as Berenberg reaffirmed its ‘buy’ rating on the shares. Sharecast quoted the broker as commenting the macro backdrop was ‘historically benign,’ with US interest rates at a cycle peak and European authorities set to relax monetary policy, while previous business models had changed. The analysts meanwhile conceded that shares of listed exchanges looked expensive and it was “understandable for investors to be concerned by the sector’s valuation”. LSE’s shares, however, have been little move by the analyst comments are changing hands about 0.07 percent higher.
In smaller London-listed movers, clothing company SuperDry (LON:SDRY) is underperforming the market as it reported flat revenue for the 52 weeks ending April 27. The company further revealed that it had made a full-year loss before tax of £85.4 million, versus prior year profit of £65.3 million. SuperDry’s shares are more than two percent worse off.
J D Wetherspoon (LON:JDW) is outperforming the broader London market as it reported that its like-for-like sales had increased 6.9 percent in the 10 weeks to July 7. The company meanwhile warned that it was expecting about £3 million of exceptional, non-cash losses, mainly a result of pub disposals which were below the value in our balance sheet. City A.M. quoted Shore Capital’s analyst Greg Johnson as commenting that the company’s market value was “elevated given the ongoing net reduction in the estate and peer comparatives,” adding that per pub, its enterprise value of £2.6 million is “at an all-time high”. J D Wetherspoon’s shares are up by more than three percent in early afternoon trade.
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UK share prices to watch on Thursday
While there are no blue-chips scheduled to update investors on their performance tomorrow, Kier Group (LON:KIE) is set to provide some excitement with its trading update which will come after the company recently said that a strategic review of the business had concluded that the group’s debt levels are too high. The company further unveiled plans to focus on its Regional Building, Infrastructure, Utilities and Highways units, and to simplify its portfolio selling or substantially exiting non-core activities, namely Kier Living, Property, Facilities Management and Environmental Services.
Proactive Investors reports that with Kier’s shares down 90 percent over the past year and a half to an all-time low, investors may be hoping to hear some early progress with the restructuring plan which also involves axing 1,200 jobs.
Workspace (LON:WKP) will also be among tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch, with the investors set to digest the company’s first-quarter results along with the company’s annual general meeting. The update will follow the group’s full-year update last month when the company reported a 16-percent rise in net rental income, and a fall in profit before tax from £170.4 million to £137.3 million.