UK share prices watch: Ocado shares rally
Online grocer Ocado (LON:OCDO) has expectedly been one of today’s UK share prices to watch, with the stock rallying even as the company posted wider losses for the first half of its financial year. Interims meanwhile have pressured shares in software specialist Micro Focus (LON:MCRO).
Ocado rallies on Tuesday
Ocado is outperforming the market this Tuesday even as it reported that its loss before tax had widened to £142.8 million in the 26 weeks ended June 2, from £43 million a year ago, as the company suffered the impact from the fire in its Andover customer fulfilment centre earlier this year. The online grocer, however, grew its retail revenues during the reported period and flagged growth for the remainder of the year.
“The shares have had something of a difficult ride of late, having dipped 17 percent over the last quarter, although over the last year they remain 15 percent ahead, as compared to a two-percent dip for the wider FTSE 100,” Richard Hunter, the head of markets at interactive investor, commented, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “The potential is clearly positive for Ocado, as evidenced by the initial share price reaction to the statement; however, with the true benefits yet to wash through and given the meteoric share price performance, the current market consensus comes in at a hold as the shares are seen as being up with events – for now.” Ocado’s shares have gained nearly 10 percent in early afternoon trade, lending support to the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is currently flat in percentage terms.
Micro Focus has also been among today’s UK share prices to watch, with the stock underperforming the broader market as the software specialist announced that its revenue had fallen 5.3 percent to $1.66 billion in the six months ended April 30. Micro Focus’ shares are changing hands about 0.4 percent in the red.
International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) has extended the previous session’s losses and is trading about 1.8 percent in the red. The stock came under pressure yesterday as the company disclosed that it was facing a hefty fine over a customer data breach at its British Airways unit last year. Hargreaves Lansdown analyst George Salmon commented in a note yesterday that while the penalty was an ‘unwelcome distraction,’ the FTSE 100 company, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and low-cost carriers Vueling and Level, should be able to withstand the impact.
Just Eat (LON:JE) has been another prominent faller as Berenberg trimmed its rating and price target on the shares. Sharecast quoted the broker as commenting that “Uber’s IPO and Amazon’s recent backing of Deliveroo (subject to approval) suggests competition is likely to get tougher rather than easier, and we question whether Just Eat’s board will approve the disposal of its best assets during the investment phase”. Just Eat’s shares are about 2.8 percent worse off intraday.
Broader market sentiment meanwhile has been subdued ahead of a testimony from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, which will come on the heels of a better-than-expected jobs report on Friday which has dampened hopes for a rate cut by the US central bank.
“This is the key period that will either see the Fed crystallise market expectations for a cut later this month, or gently nudge them back towards a more neutral position,” Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson commented, as quoted by Reuters.
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UK share prices to watch tomorrow
Tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch include Barratt Development (LON:BDEV) which is scheduled to post a trading update tomorrow, ahead of its full-year results on September 4. Proactive Investors reports that Hargreaves Lansdown reckons that shares in the blue-chip housebuilder have been held back by investor worries about the impact which a disorderly exit from the European Union could have on the company.
“That prompted a change in dividend policy from the Barratt board. The group intends to return the same £446.9mln of cash to investors, but now has the flexibility to split this between dividends and share repurchases,” the analysts pointed out in a preview, adding that while there have not yet been any buybacks, it would be “interesting to see whether the group plans on making any share repurchases in the coming months”.
Other London-listed companies reporting tomorrow include clothing company SuperDry (LON:SDRY), homeware retailer Dunelm (LON:DNLM) and no-frill pubs group J.D Wetherspoon (LON:JDW).