UK share prices watch: Kingfisher rallies
Kingfisher (LON:KGF) has been among today’s most notable UK share prices, rallying as the company announced that it had appointed a new chief executive. An executive change meanwhile has pressured shares in specialist insurer Hiscox (LON:HSX).
Kingfisher rises, Hiscox drops
Shares in Kingfisher have been in demand as the company appointed Thierry Garnier as Chief Executive Officer, to replace Véronique Laury who said that she would step down at an unspecified future date. Garnier has spent 20 years in senior roles at Carrefour, and is currently a member of the French retailer’s Executive Committee and the Chief Executive Officer of Carrefour Asia. The appointment comes with the company continuing to experience difficulties in France.
“In what was a rigorous recruitment process, Thierry stood out for the Board from a strong list of candidates due to his recognised operational know-how at a multi-national retail business, his delivery of long-term value creation, and his experience in driving leading edge digital innovation, most recently in China,” Andy Cosslett, Chairman of Kingfisher, commented in a statement. Kingfisher’s share price has added more than three percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.4-percent fall in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Hiscox meanwhile is underperforming the broader UK market as it reported that Richard Watson has informed the Board of his decision to retire from his role as Chief Underwriting Officer after 33 years. Hiscox’s shares are have given up more than two percent of their value so far this Thursday.
In smaller London-listed companies, Serco (LON:SRP) is rallying after reporting 20-percent growth in underlying trading profit for the first half of the year and revenue growth of about six percent, with organic growth driven by the Americas and Asia Pacific divisions. The company further said that its full-year revenue is expected to be around the top end of the group’s previously stated range of between £2.9 billion and £3 billion.
Proactive Investors quoted Russ Mould at AJ Bell as commenting that the return to growth represents a “significant milestone in the repair job Rupert Soames has done” since taking over in 2014.
“The latest update represents a significant achievement when you consider the dire position Soames inherited,” he pointed out. “However, a strategy of growth for its own sake is not a healthy one and investors must hope further opportunistic M&A activity is balanced against the need to not over-extend the balance sheet.” Serco’s shares are changing hands more than four percent higher this Thursday.
Pendragon (LON:PDG) has fallen deep into the red as the company said that its chief executive would step down because of a ‘difference in priorities’.
“We maintain our view that Pendragon’s problems are multiple and deep-rooted and that any management team will face an uphill challenge in the current trading environment,” Liberum analysts wrote, as quoted by Reuters.
Engineering firm Senior (LON:SNR) is also in the doldrums in today’s session, having given up more than 10 percent in early afternoon trade as Barclays downgraded its rating on the stock to ‘equal-weight’ from ‘overweight’. Proactive Investors quoted the broker as citing the mid-cap group’s exposure to Boeing’s 737 Max troubles with the London-listed company supplying the US giant directly with parts for the aircraft and further dealing with Spirit AeroSystems, which makes the fuselage for the plane.
Elsewhere in the London market, Greene King (LON:GNK) is advancing as it reported like-for-like sales ahead of the market at 2.9 percent. Pub Company’s operating margin was flat year-on-year at 15.2 percent.
“The business delivered good results last year, regaining trading momentum in Pub Company and returning to market outperformance while fulfilling a strong cost mitigation programme,” the group’s chief executive Nick Mackenzie commented in a statement. Greene King’s shares are up by nearly three percent in early afternoon trade.
UK share prices to watch on Friday
Friday is likely to provide little excitement on the corporate front, with no blue-chips scheduled to update investors on their performance. Smaller UK share prices to watch will include commercialisation company Allied Minds (LON:ALM) which is set to hold its annual general meeting tomorrow after recently announcing management changes to reflect its revised strategy to focus on maximising shareholder returns from monetising the existing portfolio, while ceasing investments into new companies.
Irish-based oil and gas exploration company Providence Resources (LON:PVR) meanwhile is scheduled to announce its full-year results for the year ended December 31. The group’s shares are trading more than one percent higher in the run-up to the results.