UK share prices watch: HL rallies on Thursday
Blue-chip asset manager Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:HL) has been among today’s most notable UK share prices, soaring to the very top of the FTSE 100, with investors cheering the asset manager’s full year results, which come in the wake of the suspension of Neil Woodford’s flagship fund which put pressure on the stock earlier this year. Tomorrow meanwhile is likely to see investors focus on advertising giant WPP (LON:WPP), whose results will come amid the ongoing overhaul at the company.
Hargreaves Lansdown shares rally
Hargreaves Lansdown is rallying as it posted its full-year results, reporting a rise in full-year assets under administration. The blue-chip group further saw its profit before tax rise five percent to £305.8 million, and lifted its total dividend by five percent to 42.0p. Investors have also reacted positively to the announcement that its chief executive Chris Hill and its chief financial officer, Philip Johnson, had decided not to take a bonus award for the current year on account of the recent problems around the Woodford Equity Income Fund.
“Chris believes this is the right thing to do. He recognises the impact that the gating [of the Woodford fund] has had on our clients,” a source at the investment group told the Guardian, which reported yesterday that HL’s boss and his senior team had waived their annual bonuses. “This demonstrates his and Hargreaves Lansdown’s continued focus on putting clients first.”
“We think Hargreaves Lansdown has likely successfully defended its reputation with consumers,” Jefferies analysts wrote, as quoted by Reuters. Hargreaves Lansdown’s share price has added a little over nine percent in early afternoon trade in London today, as compared with about a 0.3-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Aviva (LON:AV) has also been among this Thursday’s UK share prices to watch, outperforming the market with a 0.7-percent gain, with investors digesting what the company’s chief executive Maurice Tulloch referred to as ‘mixed’ performance.
“Aviva has strong foundations to build upon but there is much to do to improve our performance,” Tulloch pointed out. The company further announced that had decided to review strategic options for its Asian business as part efforts to refresh its strategy. The news follows a Reuters report which quoted sources suggesting that the FTSE 100 company was looking to sell its Asia business, valuing the unit at more than $2 billion.
Coca-Cola HBC (LON:CCH) meanwhile is in the doldrums as it revealed a 4.9-percent fall in operating profit, as well as a 37.5-percent dip in free cash flow for the six months ended June 28. The Coca-Cola bottler further noted that unseasonably wet and cold weather conditions in the second quarter of the year had been a headwind to revenue growth in all segments. The company, however, left its full-year expectations unchanged. Coca-Cola HBC’s share price is 3.5 percent down in London trading.
NMC Health (LON:NMC) is up by about five percent as the Gulf healthcare operator said that it had noted its recent share price weakness and confirmed that it expects to report that trading in the business remains in line with management expectations on all key metrics including revenue, EBITDA, net income, leverage, cash flow conversion and working capital. The update came after the shares suffered a selloff yesterday. Sharecast quoted a trade as commenting that when US research firm Muddy Waters tweeted on Tuesday that it would announce a new short position “on an accounting fiasco that’s potentially insolvent” the following day, many investors thought it was referring to NMC.
Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) has remained deep in the red for a second straight session, in the wake of its interims yesterday when the blue-chip asset manager sounded a note of caution on its outlook. SLA’s shares are changing hands about three percent lower.
UK share prices to watch tomorrow
WPP is likely to be in focus tomorrow as it reports its interims. The update will come after the advertising giant recently announced changes to its announced changes to its business sector reporting structure, having launched review of the matter in April. The company also recently moved to sell 60 percent of its Kantar business to Bain Capital Private Equity as part of new CEO Mark Reid’s efforts to simplify the group.
Other UK share prices to watch tomorrow include G4S (LON:GFS), William Hill (LON:WMH) and Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LON:HIK), all of which are due to post results.
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