UK share prices watch: ITV and Informa shine
ITV (LON:ITV) and Informa (LON:INF) are among today’s most notable UK share prices, with investors reacting positively to their respective updates. With the earnings season in full swing, tomorrow is also set to provide some corporate excitement, most notably results from AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) and Unilever (LON:ULVR).
ITV and Informa rally on Wednesday
ITV has been one of today’s most prominent risers as it posted a smaller-than-anticipated decline in half-year revenue as it benefitted from strong performance of its reality show Love Island. The BBC notes that according to Monterosa, which developed the Love Island mobile app, as of July 2018 the app had more than 3.5 million users and had generated sales of in excess of £5 million.
“The Love Island App […] has more active users than other apps like Uber, Deliveroo, BBC News, Asos, Amex, and British Airways,” mobile technology marketing experts Ogury Research wrote in its Mobile Marketing July 2018 report, as quoted by the BBC.
The blue-chip broadcaster, however, cautioned that economic and political uncertainty continued to impact advertising demand, with total advertising forecast to be in a range of -1% to +1% in the third quarter of the year. ITV share price has added more than six percent in early afternoon trade in London, as compared with about a one-percent fall in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Informa (LON:INF) is also among this Wednesday’s UK share prices to watch following its half-year report as the company reported 47.1 percent growth along with 48 percent reported profit growth. The blue-chip group further hiked its payout to shareholders by 7.1 percent to 7.55p. Informa’s shares are up by about 6.3 percent.
Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) is up for a second session, outperforming the market with a 0.4-percent gain, as it agreed a final settlement with Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) which will see it continue to manage approximately one third of the total assets under management on behalf of the bailed-out lender until at least April 22. In addition, the FTSE 100 asset manager will receive an upfront payment of £140 million from Lloyds as final settlement. Shares in the blue-chip bank meanwhile are about 0.2 percent down.
GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) is marginally higher in afternoon trade as it hiked its full-year earnings guidance. The company now expects its earnings per share to decline between three and five percent, as compared with a previous forecast for a fall of between five and nine percent. The group’s second-quarter free cash flow, however, came in lower, partly on account to generic competition in the US to the group’s flagship respiratory drug Advair.
“GSK delivered continued good operating performance in Q2 despite the loss of exclusivity of Advair,” the pharmco’s chief executive Emma Walmsley commented in the statement. The blue-chip pharmco separately confirmed that it had appointed HSBC Holdings’ (LON:HSBA) deputy chairman Jonathan Symonds to succeed Sir Philip Hampton as chairman from September 1. GSK’s shares about 0.1 percent better off.
UK share prices to watch tomorrow
Unilever (LON:ULVR) is one of the companies set to post results tomorrow and Proactive Investors reports that UBS has lowered its forecast for second quarter sales growth to 3.2 percent from 4.2 percent previously following weak data from market research firm Nielsen for the group’s ice cream business, particularly in Europe due to unfavourable weather compared to last year’s prolonged heat wave.
“In addition, we do not expect an improvement in Argentina volumes (-10% in the first quarter); the softening in the Indian market does not help; and Unilever is still losing share in some of its key US categories (dressings, hair),” the broker pointed out.
AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) will also be among tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch, with its interim update to follow strong first-quarter results.
“AstraZeneca and its investors are expecting more of the same in its half-year results, with the drug maker anticipating strong and sustainable product sales growth to be accompanied by operating leverage, leading to an improvement in profitability,” Aaran Fronda at IG commented in a note last week.
Diageo (LON:DGO) is also reporting tomorrow and Proactive Investors reports that UBS expects the Johnny Walker owner to announce additional cash returns ‘over and above’ its progressive dividend at the full-year results. It estimates £3 billion in share buybacks in fiscal year 2020. The broker further estimates organic sales growth of 4.4 percent for the second half and expects the company to reiterate its guidance for ‘mid-single digit’ organic sales growth and operating profit up five percent to seven percent in fiscal year 2022.