Tesco (LON:TSCO) has unexpectedly made today’s list of UK share prices to watch, with its banking unit planning a sale of its mortgage portfolio. Tomorrow meanwhile promises to deliver excitement with full-year results from high street retailer Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS) and privatised postal operator Royal Mail (LON:RMG).
Tesco and Severn Trent up
Britain’s biggest grocer Tesco has been one of today’s notable blue-chip movers as it reported that its banking unit had ceased new mortgage lending and was actively exploring options to sell its existing mortgage portfolio. Tesco’s shares are up by about 1.2 percent. Reuters reports that the move has also fuelled demand for shares in blue-chip lenders, with Lloyds (LON:LLOY) trading about 1.66 percent higher.
Severn Trent (LON:SVT) is also marginally outperforming the broader market as it posted its preliminary results, disclosing a 4.2-percent rise in turnover and a 6.3-percent gain in underlying profit before interest and tax. The water utility proposed a final dividend of 56.02p, in line with policy, and announced that it was on track to exceed the 50-percent renewable energy self-generation target in FY19/20.
Reuters meanwhile reports that the company had said that a re-nationalisation of the UK water industry could raise customer bills and lower investment. Severn Trent’s shares are about 0.8 percent up in intraday trading, compared with about a 0.6-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Silver miner Fresnillo (LON:FRES) is trading in positive territory as it issued a statement ahead of its annual general meeting, saying that it remained ‘very confident’ in the long-term outlook for the company. The silver miner further reaffirmed its full-year guidance despite a drop in first-quarter output as it expects to realise the benefits from investments it has made into its operations. Fresnillo’s share price is up by about 0.5 percent in early afternoon trade, having jumped more than one percent earlier in the session.
Coca-Cola HBC (LON:CCH) is rising after the previous session’s losses when the shares came under pressure as The Coca Cola Company scrapped its plans to refranchise its Africa bottling business CCBA. The FTSE 100 group’s shares, which lost more than five percent yesterday, are now up by nearly four percent.
British Land (LON:BLND) is underperforming the market with a 0.2-percent drop in the shares as it amended its cash flow statement in the wake of its preliminary results last week.
In sector movers, airlines remain under pressure in the wake of the oil price rise which spells higher fuel costs. easyJet (LON:EZJ) is about 0.3 percent down, while shares in British Airways parent IAG (LON:IAG) have given up about 1.4 percent so far this Tuesday. The selloff in Thomas Cook’s (LON:TCG) has finally halted and shares in the troubled tour operator are changing hands more than 17 percent higher.
UK share prices to watch on Wednesday
Marks & Spencer is set to be in focus tomorrow as it reports its preliminary results, which will come after the company recently inked a £1.5-billion joint venture deal with Ocado (LON:OCDO). Reuters reports that analysts on average expect the high street retailer to report a pre-tax profit before one-off items of £519 million for the financial year ended March 31, 2019, down from the £581 million which the high street retailer reported for the prior-year period.
Analysts are further forecasting a 1.4-percent fall in like-for-like clothing and home sales, while like-for-like food sales are expected to have fallen 2.4 percent, partly reflecting M&S’ management’s move to make the business more competitive by cutting prices. Investors will also eye an update on the company’s joint venture with Ocado.
Blue-chip utility SSE (LON:SSE) is also reporting tomorrow, while copper miner Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting.
Outside the FTSE 100 index, tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch will also include privatised Royal Mail which will post its results for the financial year to the end of March. IG reports that the mid-cap company is expected to report pre-tax profit of £342 million, down from £565 million a year earlier, while revenue is expected to have climbed to £10.5 billion, from £10.2 billion a year earlier.
“A 60-percent decline in the shares of Royal Mail since the peak in May of 2018 confirms that investor sentiment towards the firm is not exactly buoyant,” Chris Beauchamp at IG commented in a note last week, adding that while the shares are now ‘undeniably cheap,’ the company’s “earnings are expected to decline sharply in the coming year and remain low until 2022”.
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