Home > UK share prices watch: SLA shines on glitchy Friday

UK share prices watch: SLA shines on glitchy Friday

August 16, 2019 By Tsveta Zikolova

Blue-chip asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen (LON:SLA) has been among today’s UK share prices to watch, trading higher as it launched a share buyback, despite getting a later start following a technical issue at the London Stock Exchange. Next week is set to bring some corporate excitement amid the summer lull with updates from companies including housebuilder Persimmon (LON:PSN) and building materials company CRH (LON:CRH).

SLA trades higher after late market start

Shares in Standard Life Aberdeen have been in demand this Friday as the company announced that it was launching a share buyback which will see it return up to £200 million to investors between now and January next year.

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The update follows the asset manager’s recent interims which saw the company sound a note of caution on its outlook, citing macroeconomic and political uncertainties. Standard Life Aberdeen’s share price has added more than two percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.7-percent gain in the Footsie. The blue-chip index has partially rebounded following two sessions of hefty losses, prompted by worries over the US-China trade relations as well as fears of recession.

ITV (LON:ITV) has also been among today’s UK share prices to watch, outperforming the market, responding to news that the broadcaster has won the rights to air three live matches at the start of the new season. The BBC reports that ITV will also show weekly La Liga highlights throughout the season on both ITV and ITV4, and that negotiations are ongoing between La Liga and ITV for the broadcast of live matches throughout the rest of the season. ITV’s share price has gained about 2.3 percent.

Both Next (LON:NXT) and Ted Baker (LON:TED) are underperforming the broader market as they announced that they had entered into a production licence agreement which will see the blue-chip retailer create and sell its smaller London-listed rival’s childrenswear products. Shares in Next are trading about 0.14 percent lower this afternoon, while Ted Baker’s share price is about 0.11 percent worse off.

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Prudential (LON:PRU) is also trading in the red as it disclosed that the High Court had declined o sanction the transfer of a portfolio of annuities from The Prudential Assurance Company, to Rothesay Life. The FTSE 100 company, however, assured investors that the move would have no impact on its demerger plans. The Pru’s shares are trading about 0.2 percent lower.

FTSE 350 stocks got a late start this Friday as the London Stock Exchange experienced technical issues. The Guardian reported that the LSE had revealed that that some buy and sell orders which should have expired this morning were still lurking on its trading platform.

“Investors would have been yearning for a quiet Friday after a week of turmoil for the markets driven by recession fears,” AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould commented, as quoted by the newspaper. “And it looked like just such a peaceful interlude was on the cards until technical issues at the London Stock Exchange delayed the start of trading in FTSE 350 stocks, delaying an expected rebound for the index.”

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UK share prices to watch next week

Persimmon is due to post its half-year results on Tuesday, after announcing in a trading update last month that its revenues had fallen and it had seen fewer completions as it moved to delay sales release to later stage of construction in higher demand locations.

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“Lower revenue and stable margins mean lower profits – but we’re not expecting a big hit,” said Hargreaves Lansdown, as quoted by Proactive Investors. The newswire further notes that UBS analysts have pencilled in a pre-tax profit of £509 million, down from the prior half-year’s £520 million, adding that the housebuilder’s sales and margin guidance will be ‘key’.

CRH (LON:CRH) will keep the housebuilding results theme in focus later in the week, with its interims due out on Thursday.

Proactive Investors reports that UBS is likely to announce another £350 million share buyback for the rest of the year. The analysts further expect the company to report sales of €13.15 billion, up 4.3 percent on a like-for-like basis, and earnings (EBITDA) of €1.56 billion, compared to €1.1 billion last year.

“We expect guidance for the second half to be for further EBITDA growth,” the broker pointed out, adding that it would “also look for more colour on the previously issued margin improvement targets by 2021”.

Other UK share prices to watch next week include Anglo-Australian miner BHP (LON:BHP) and Chilean copper miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) whose results are set to come against the background of strained relations between the US and China as well as recession fears.

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