International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:IAG) has been one of the most notable UK share prices to watch on a quiet corporate Friday, which, however, has seen the benchmark FTSE 100 hold steady in the face of new US tariffs on China. AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) meanwhile is trading in the red with an update over one of its new treatments disappointing investors.
IAG outperforms in resilient FTSE 100
Shares in IAG have been in demand this Friday even as the British Airways and Iberia parent disclosed a fall in profits for the first quarter of the year. The group’s chief executive Willie Walsh, however, reassured investors that the company, which also owns Aer Lingus and low-cost carriers Vueling and Level, had remained profitable “in a quarter when European airlines were significantly affected by fuel and foreign exchange headwinds, market capacity impacting yield and the timing of Easter”.
Proactive Investors reports that Richard Hunter, analyst at Interactive Investor, had said that “in the context of its financial year, the first quarter will probably be one which IAG will want to forget”. Reuters, however, quoted analysts at RBC as commenting that the results were good, especially against the backdrop of losses for other airlines and a lack of clarity over Britain’s final exit date from the European Union. IAG’s shares are more than two percent higher in early afternoon trading in London, compared with about a 0.4-percent gain in the benchmark FTSE 100 index.
AstraZeneca, however, is suffering in the last trading day of the week as it revealed that a prospective treatment for anaemia had failed to show meaningful difference in risk of major adverse cardiac events against Pfizer’s approved drug, as reported by Reuters. AstraZeneca’s shares are changing hands more than one percent in the red.
Elsewhere on the index, Informa (LON:INF) is trading higher as it said that it was hosting an investor day ahead of its trading update and annual general meeting later this month. Shares in the information services company are up by about 0.5 percent.
Bunzl (LON:BNZL) is in the doldrums with investors reacting negatively to news that the company’s group finance director Brian May was stepping down after 25 years with the support services group. He will be succeeded by Richard Howes, CFO of Inchcape. Bunzl’s shares are down by more than two percent intraday.
UK share prices to watch next week
Next week’s UK share prices to watch include British Gas owner Centrica (LON:CNA) which is set to post a trading update on Monday as it prepares to hold its annual general meeting on the same day. The results will come after the blue-chip group warned earlier this year that the energy regulator’s price cap will impact its cash flow and earnings this year. Last month, Proactive Investors quoted JPMorgan as commenting that Centrica’s earnings were likely to miss market forecasts and that a dividend cut was imminent.
Kingfisher (LON:KGF) will post results on Wednesday, in the wake of its announcement in March that its chief executive Véronique Laury would step down. Wednesday will also see TUI (LON:TUI) post its half-year results after flagging a €200-million hit to its underlying EBITA in connection with the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, assuming flight resumption with the aircraft by mid-July. As a result of the one-off impact, the tour operator expects an underlying EBITA rebased for FY19 of about minus 17 percent, from expectations for ‘broadly flat’ previously, compared with FY18 of €1.78 billion.
“There will be considerable interest in this first quarter trading update given that spring is usually a strong period for DIY activity and the Easter bank holiday weekend enjoyed exceptionally good weather this year,” Proactive Investors quoted UBS as saying. Burberry’s (LON:BRBY) finals will follow on Thursday.
“With the new collection from Riccardo Tisci hitting the shelves only at the end of fiscal Q4, we expect another relatively muted set of results,” UBS said, as quoted by Proactive Investors. “The market will likely be closely watching out for any commentary on the performance of Tisci’s collection in store and any further signs of the turnaround being successful.”
Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) will hold its annual general meeting on Thursday amid prospects for an investor row over pension allowances for executives.
easyJet (LON:EZJ) will be among Friday’s highlights, with investors eyeing its half-year results. In January, the low-cost airline posted ‘a good start’ to the year, adding that for the first half of the 2019 financial year, “booking levels currently remain encouraging despite the lack of certainty around Brexit for our customers,” while second-half bookings continued to be ahead of last year.
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