UK share prices watch: Bunzl dips in muted market
Support services group Bunzl (LON:BNZL) is among today’s UK share prices to watch, dipping in the red as investors reacted negatively to the company’s trading update. With the G20 meeting ahead, investors are still in wait-and-see mode, while comments by Federal Reserve officials are weighing on broader market sentiment, tempering expectations for a rate cut.
Bunzl dips on quiet Wednesday
Bunzl has slipped lower this Wednesday as it said in a trading update that its expectations for the year ending December 31 remained unchanged with overall trading consistent with the slowing underlying revenue growth indicated at the time of the first quarter trading statement in April. The company meanwhile assured investors that its acquisitions pipeline remained ‘active,’ and that with ongoing discussions taking place, it expects to complete further deals during the remainder of the year. Bunzl’s share price has given up about 1.5 percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.05-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Elsewhere on the FTSE 100 index, Hargreaves Lansdown’s (LON:HL) shares have been steady this Wednesday, following their recent bruising, as Deutsche Bank lifted its rating from ‘sell’ to ‘hold,’ arguing that the fallout from the suspension of the Woodford Equity Income Fund was now reflected in the share price. Sharecast quoted the broker as elaborating that although the FTSE 100 group’s shares were still modestly above its unchanged 1,775p target price, they now trade slightly below their long-term average price-to-earnings. Shares in Hargreaves Lansdown are currently little changed with a 0.09-percent gain.
In smaller UK share prices to watch, Stagecoach (LON:SGC) is advancing even as it reported a drop in profits for the financial year ended April. The company meanwhile said that it had no plans to bid for new UK rail franchises after its operations end in November.
“Stagecoach’s rail division is slipping off the rails following the loss of several high-profile contracts and its exclusion from the tender process for a number of other key routes,” Julie Palmer, a partner at Begbies Traynor, said, as quoted by the Financial Times. “As a result, the transport provider will be pivoting towards coach and bus travel for the foreseeable future.” Stagecoach’s shares are up by nearly two percent intraday.
Professional services firm RPS Group (LON:RPS) is nursing heavy losses after warning in a trading update that its full-year results “will be materially below management and market expectations,” pointing to recent trading conditions in its Australia Asia Pacific segment, with the Australian economy experiencing its slowest growth since 2009. RPS’ shares have given up more than 34 percent of their value so far today.
Tullow Oil (LON:TW) is up by more than one percent as it reported ‘steady progress’ in the first half, while John Wood Group (LON:WG) is rallying, having gained more than six percent, as it reported half-year performance ahead of the prior year.
Broader market sentiment remains subdued ahead of the G20 summit, further pressured by comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his St Louis colleague James Bullard who have reined in rate cut expectations.
“Investors have been too keen to believe that the Fed has entered into full easing mode, even though policy makers have been very reluctant to confirm, the economy is still strong and trade war risks are yet to fully materialize,” commented Craig Erlam at Oanda, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “Powell and Bullard both sought to manage expectations on Tuesday, much to the disappointment of the markets and I’m sure, Trump.”
Thursday’s UK share prices to watch
While there are no blue-chips set to update investors on its performance tomorrow, smaller London-listed companies are set to provide some excitement on the corporate front. Greene King (LON:GNK) will post its preliminary results after saying in a pre-closing trading statement in April that Pub Company’s like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks to April 28 were up 2.9 percent ahead of the market.
“We have traded strongly this year and have returned to market outperformance,” Greene King’s outgoing chief executive Rooney Anand commented at the time.
Serco Group (LON:SCRO) is set to issue a pre-close statement ahead of its half-year results due out on July 31. The update will come after it recently emerged that Babcock (LON:BAB) had turned down an offer from the company to combine the two businesses.
UK share prices set to come under pressure tomorrow include British American Tobacco (LON:BATS), British Land (LON:BLND), Burberry (LON:BRBY), Experian (LON:EXPN) and JD Sports (LON:JD), with the companies scheduled to go ex-dividend.
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