Next (LON:NXT) has been one of this Wednesday’s UK share prices to watch, with investors cheering the FTSE 100 retailer’s move to lifts its profit and sales guidance following better-than-expected quarterly performance. Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) meanwhile is in the doldrums as it kicked of the banking reporting season with a hefty charge over the payment protection insurance scandal.
Next skyrockets, Lloyds tumbles
Next is skyrocketing after announcing that its full-price sales for the second quarter had climbed four percent as compared with the same period last year. The high street retailer said that the result was better than anticipated, and as a result moved to lift its full-year full-price sales guidance from 1.7 percent to 3.6 percent. The company further hiked its earnings per share guidance from 3.4 percent to 5.2 percent up on last year. Reuters quoted Liberum analyst Wayne Brown, who has a ‘buy’ recommendation on Next, as commenting that the company was clearly taking market share.
“Stock levels are very much under control and this has likely led to gross margin improvements,” the analyst pointed out. Next’s shares have added more than eight percent in early afternoon trade, as compared with about a 0.6-percent fall in the Footsie. The results have also given a lift to shares in blue-chip peer Marks & Spencer (LON:MKS), whose shares are outperforming the market with about a 0.6-percent gain.
Lloyds is also expectedly among today’s UK share prices to watch after reporting that it had booked a £550-million charge in the three months to June 30 over the PPI scandal as a result of a rise in information request volumes in the second quarter, ahead of a regulatory deadline on claims next month.
“[These were] a largely uninspiring second quarter has contributed to a half-year result which is for the most part forgettable, even if Lloyds itself is for the moment content with plotting a stable course,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, as quoted by Proactive Investors. Lloyds’ shares are changing hands about 4.6 percent in the red this Wednesday.
Just Eat (LON:JE) has been another prominent riser even as it failed to deliver profit growth. The online takeaway service’s profit before tax tumbled 98 percent in the first half of its financial year. The company, however, reassured investors that it remained on track for its full-year revenue and profit targets. The update comes in the wake of news that the company has agreed a merger deal in principle with Takaway.com. Just Eat shares are up by more than two percent so far today.
Results are also moving the shares of Rentokil Initial (LON:RTO) as the company reported that its interim revenue, profit and cash had exceeded its medium-term targets. The company further posted an increase in free cash flow.
“I am very encouraged by our performance in H1 and confident of delivering further progress in the second half,” the group’s CEO Andy Ransom commented in the statement. Rentokil’s shares have added more than 15 percent so far today.
BAE Systems (LON:BA) meanwhile is up by more than two percent after reporting a rise in half-year earnings, noting that its performance underpinned its guidance.
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UK share prices to watch tomorrow
Barclays (LON:BARC) is set to continue the FTSE 100 banking reporting tomorrow, and according to IG, investors will be “hoping for a strong performance that will help provide support for its share price which has steadily been in decline over the last two years”.
Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) will also be among tomorrow’s UK share prices to watch and Proactive Investors reports that UBS has forecast net income of $5.26 billion for the second quarter, representing a one-percent fall on the first quarter despite the higher oil price but up 12 percent this time last year.
“This result would still leave Shell by some distance the most profitable and cash generative of the oil majors,” the analysts pointed out. The newswire also quoted The Share Centre as commenting that Shell’s downstream operations, including refining, have found it tougher lately and investors will be keen to hear of some improvements in these markets.
London Stock Exchange (LON:LSE) meanwhile is due to update the market on its performance after announcing earlier in the week that it was in talks to buy financial data company Refinitiv.
Other blue-chip companies reporting tomorrow include RSA Insurance (LON:RSA), Standard Chartered (LON:STAN), Intertek (LON:ITRK), Capita (LON:CPI), British American Tobacco (LON:BATS) and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO).
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