Vodafone (LON:VOD) and Informa (LON:INF) are among the UK share prices to watch on a relatively quiet corporate Friday with analyst comments moving the former and a trading update lending support to the latter. Broader market sentiment meanwhile has improved after yesterday’s bloodbath which saw the benchmark FTSE 100 index tumble more than one percent, while Prime Minister Theresa May has expectedly announced her resignation.
Vodafone and Informa shine on Friday
Informa is the only FTSE 100 company to have updated investors on its performance this Friday as it holds its annual general meeting. The group’s Stephen A. Carter commented in the statement that the company had “performed well through the first four months of the year, with steady trading across” its brand portfolio, and was well placed to meet its targets for the year “and deliver a further year of growth in revenue, adjusted profit, earnings, cashflow and dividends”. Informa’s shares are changing hands about 2.6 percent higher in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.8-percent gain in the FTSE 100.
Vodafone is outperforming the market this Friday, climbing on the back of a rating upgrade at HSBC which now sees the blue-chip telco as a ‘buy’ despite the group’s recent update which saw Vodafone post a full-year loss and take the axe to its payout to shareholders. Proactive Investors quoted the broker as commenting that that the fall in the telecoms giant’s share price since the dividend cut had brought the yield on the shares down to 6.4 percent and presented ‘an attractive entry point’ for new investors. Vodafone’s share price has climbed about 2.4 percent higher so far today.
National Grid (LON:NG) is outperforming the London market with about a 1.1-percent gain as industry regulator Ofgem published an update as part of the regulatory process for a new price control starting in 2021.
Marks & Spencer Group (LON:MKS), whose results sent the shares tumbling earlier in the week, is on the mend today, even as JPMorgan reiterated its ‘underweight’ rating on the stock. Sharecast quoted the broker as criticising the company’s choice of strategy in a challenging market for retailers. While the analysts conceded that setting the foundations for a turnaround takes time, they further argued that there was ‘minimal tangible evidence of progress’ in the latest set of financials from the company. Marks & Spencer’s shares nevertheless are about 3.2 percent up.
Mid-cap Royal Mail Group (LON:RMG) has again made the UK share prices to watch list as Liberum lifted its rating on the privatised postal operator. Proactive Investors quoted the broker as pointing out that the postal operator’s new strategy had “brought clarity to how management intends to deal with the substantial structural challenges faced by the group”. The shares in the FTSE 250 company have gained nearly six percent this Friday, lending support to the FTSE 250 which stands about 0.6 percent higher.
Broader market sentiment has been upbeat today despite the lingering worries over the US-China trade relations. At home, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that she would resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday, June 7, saying in a statement that it was “and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit”.
“Theresa May’s announcement […] comes as no surprise, but it could lead to a chain reaction that will ultimately be negative for UK market sentiment,” said Seema Shah, senior global investment strategist at Principal Global Investors, as quoted by Reuters. “At this stage the extreme results of either no deal or no Brexit seem more likely than a negotiated managed Brexit.”
UK share prices to watch next week
With Monday a bank holiday in the UK, the markets excitement is due to start on Tuesday when mortgage lending figures from the British Banking Association are likely to impact London-listed lenders. The data will come after this week, Tesco’s (LON:TSCO) challenger bank announced that it had ceased new mortgage lending and was actively exploring options to sell its existing mortgage portfolio amid ‘challenging market conditions’.
On the results front, specialist chemicals group Johnson Matthey (LON:JMAT) is due to post finals on Thursday, while Wizz Air’s (LON:WIZZ) results on Friday will be closely watched after budget rival Ryanair (LON:RYA) posted a drop in profit this week, and cautioned that its outlook for FY20 remained cautious on pricing.
Blue-chip housebuilders, which are particularly sensitive to Brexit developments are also likely to be among next week’s UK share prices to watch amid the country’s ongoing political turmoil following Theresa May’s resignation.
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