Ad giant WPP (LON:WPP) has fallen to the bottom of the FTSE 100 leaderboard this Friday, suffering on the back of results at rival Publicis. Blue-chip broadcaster ITV (LON:ITV) is also among today’s UK share prices to watch after announcing that it had signed an agreement with the BBC to launch their joint streaming service BritBox in the fourth quarter of the year.
WPP down, ITV rises on Friday
WPP is in the doldrums this Friday after French rival Publicis cut its annual revenue growth target. Reuters notes that the company has been struggling to revive sluggish sales in the United States amid increasing competition for ad dollars from Facebook and Google. The update has fuelled concerns over the FTSE 100 ad giant which is scheduled to update investors on its interim performance on August 9, which will come amid the ongoing overhaul at the company under chief executive Mark Read. Earlier this month, WPP inked a deal to sell 60 percent of its Kantar business. WPP’s has given up more than three percent in early afternoon trade as compared with about a 0.1-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
ITV meanwhile is outperforming the market as it announced that it had signed an agreement with the BBC to launch BritBox in the UK in the fourth quarter of this year. The new streaming service, which is set to compete with Netflix and Amazon Prime, will be priced at £5.99 per month in HD and across multiple screens and devices, and will include what the companies referred to as “the nation’s favourite programmes” along with original series made for BritBox. ITV’s shares are about 1.4 percent better off.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) is also among today’s UK share prices to watch, with the shares sliding as the company, which remains part-owned by the UK government, reminded investors that it is still searching for a successor to outgoing chief executive Ross McEwan who has been appointed to the top job at the National Australia Bank.
“We note today’s announcement that Ross will take over as CEO of National Australia Bank and congratulate him on this appointment,” RBS’ chairman Howard Davis noted in the statement, adding that the lender’s “search for a successor remains ongoing and the effective date of Ross’ departure will be confirmed in due course”. RBS’ shares are about one percent down this Friday.
In smaller London-listed companies, ASOS (LON:ASC), whose shares tumbled yesterday following the group’s latest profit warning, has regained some ground in today’s session, even as Barclays lowered its recommendation to ‘equal weight’ from ‘overweight’.
“We are still of the view that there is a big opportunity in the US. If inventory issues are fixed, consumer demand is there,” the broker said, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “Management could still conceivably deliver on the promise of a return to a four-percent margin, with growth accelerating to 20% in FY20/21/22. We are still inclined to see this as an achievable scenario – but we lack confidence.” ASOS’ share price is currently about 1.8 percent higher.
Close Brothers (LON:CBG) has fallen more than three percent even as it said that it remained “well positioned for the long term” despite mixed trading conditions. Acacia Mining (LON:ACA) is rallying as it agreed to an increased buyout offer from Barrick Gold. Shares in Acacia are changing hands about 18 percent higher.
UK share prices to watch next week
With the earnings season having started, investors will have lots of UK share prices to watch next week, starting with Tungsten Corp’s (LON:TUNG) finals a trading announcement from Petra Diamonds (LON:PDL) on Monday, and continuing with Pz Cussons (LON:PZC) on Tuesday.
ITV will stay in next week’s notable UK share prices, with interims due out on Wednesday. IG reports that Robert Stephens of Investomania believes that the broadcaster’s second-quarter revenue may have increased because of investment in digital entertainment.
Vodafone (LON:VOD), which secured EU approval for the Liberty Global deal this week, is set to post its first-quarter update on Friday. IG’s financial writer Aaran Fronda notes that in the wake of the telco’s disappointing full-year results its share price tumbled more than 11 percent, hitting 123p a share, and is capable of falling below that level next week if the group proves unable to deliver a strong performance in its Q1 results.
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