Premier Inn owner Whitbread (LON:WTB) has been among this Monday’s UK share prices to watch, tumbling to the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard after wrapping up its capital return programme. Broader market sentiment meanwhile remains upbeat, with a fall in the pound lending support to equities.
Whitbread and Centrica deep in the red
Whitbread has tumbled at the start of the week as it said that it had completed its £2.5 billion capital return programme, and that it is not planning any further returns of capital.
The Telegraph separately reported over the weekend that Jane Street Global Trading, a specialist high-frequency trading firm based in Manhattan, had the biggest short position against the Premier Inn owner amid warnings that it is poised for a stock market sell-off. The newspaper quoted data by IHS Markit as showing that in total, some 17.6 percent of the FTSE 100 company is on loan to those betting against the company. Whitbread’s shares have given up about 3.7 percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.4-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
British Gas owner Centrica (LON:CNA) is also out of favour with investors as The Sunday Times reported that the company is set to slash its dividend and put its oil and gas business up for sale as chief executive Iain Conn attempts to revive the struggling company. The report comes ahead of the FTSE 100 group’s upcoming half-year results on July 30. Centrica’s shares have given up about 1.7 percent so far today.
In smaller UK share prices to watch, Ted Baker (LON:TED) is rallying as a report in The Times suggested that the group’s founder Ray Kelvin was believed to be considering plans to back a private equity buyout of the company, four months after he quit following allegations of sexual harassment. The former chief executive, who owns about a third of the FTSE 250 company, has reportedly indicated that he would support a buyout that would take the company private under the existing management. Ted Baker’s shares are up by more than 13 percent intraday, lending support to the mid-cap benchmark which is about 0.3 percent better off in early afternoon trade.
Metro Bank (LON:MTRO) has been another notable riser this Monday as it confirmed that discussions about the potential sale of a loan portfolio were taking place.
The confirmation came after Sky News reported over the weekend that the challenger bank was in talks about an agreement to sell a mortgage portfolio to Cerberus Capital Management, from which it has bought more than £1 billion of assets in recent years. A source with knowledge of the matter told the newswire that the deal could be announced as soon as Wednesday, when the British bank will update the market on its half-year performance. Metro Bank’s shares are nearly six percent up.
Overall, equities have been in demand today, boosted by higher oil prices and a weaker pound with Boris Johnson expected to win in the Conservative leadership race. Proactive Investors quoted Joshua Mahoney at IG as commenting that that investors were now “facing up to the fact that a no-deal Brexit cannot be ruled out despite parliament’s clear disdain of such an event.
“Johnson is likely to win, and with just three months until the Brexit deadline, he is unlikely to find any means to avoid either taking us out without a deal, or going against his word to extend the deadline.”
UK share prices to watch on Tuesday
IG Group (LON:IG) is scheduled to post its full-year results tomorrow after saying in a strategy update in May that it will be targeting revenue growth in its core markets at around three-five percent per year over the medium term, as well as an increase in revenue of around £100 million, to around £160 million in 2022. Operating expenses, excluding variable remuneration, meanwhile are expected to be around £257 million in FY19, and to increase by around £30 million in FY20.
Segro (LON:SGRO) is reporting its interims tomorrow after saying in April that it had secured £21 million of new headline rent.
Vodafone (LON:VOD) will also be among tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch as it is set to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) ahead of its results later in the week. The AGM will come after the company secured EU approval for its deal with Liberty Global.
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