FTSE favourites remain on track despite AstraZeneca slump
The Share Centre’s Sheridan Admans expects decent results from some of the most widely held UK companies next week.
While the unexpected resignation of AstraZeneca’s chief executive today following a slump in profits has grabbed the headlines, investors can expect good news from the rest of the fund favourites reporting this week, according to The Share Centre’s Sheridan Admans.
Shares in the UK pharmaceuticals giant fell by 6 per cent, wiping about £2.1bn from the company’s value, after quarterly profits fell by 38 per cent.
The company is a key holding in many UK funds, according to data from FE Analytics, which shows there are dozens of portfolios with over five per cent of funds invested there, including star manager Neil Woodford’s
multi-billion pound portfolios.
SJP Income Distribution
has the largest exposure with 10.10 per cent in the company, Invesco Perpetual High Income
has 8.65 per cent, and both SJP UK Equity
and SJP UK Equity Distribution
have 8.30 per cent.
However, according to Sheridan Admans, investment research manager at The Share Centre, the outlook for the large UK companies reporting next week is largely positive.
Hedge fund firm Man Group will report on Tuesday, with investors hoping that management can restore some confidence. Admans said there has been growing concerns that money has been moving out of its funds and Man Group's main AHL fund performance has continued to suffer.
“There is unlikely to be any significant news that will get the share price to head in the right direction, however if the news is better than expected it could establish a base for the shares,” Admans said.
The IFSL Blacksquare Diversified Absolute Return fund has 10.41 per cent of its assets invested in Man Group, Elite Hasley Diversifier has 8.6 per cent and Elite Hasley Best Ideas has 6.11 per cent.
BP also reports on Tuesday, and analysts expect the company to post decent production figures despite a temporary shutdown at one of BP’s fields. Investors will be keen to know if lower US natural gas prices, reduced European demand and increased cost of exploration for unconventional energy resources will have a material impact on profitability.
Admans said: “Unlike its peers, BP has faced additional costs relating to a restructuring program. Also, attention will turn to the ongoing fallout from the Gulf of Mexico disaster as investors will look for updates on US government litigations and settlements with other parties.”
Halifax Special Situations has 9.10 per cent in BP and Scottish Widows HIFML Special Situations
9 per cent.
On Wednesday attention will turn to Standard Chartered. Comments on Standard Life’s main Asian operations will be worth noting, says Admans, and further updates on its underperforming Indian and Korean businesses could steer the share price in the shorter term.
Next will also report on Wednesday and investors will be looking for an improvement to profit margins for its clothing range as cotton prices have been favorable in recent months. In addition they will be looking for signs of the Next Directory business continuing to grow to support slipping store sales.
Admans said: “Investors may find sales have been impacted by higher than expected inflation in the last reporting period and higher fuel costs, which continue to put pressure on consumers.”
On Thursday Legal & General reports. Admans commented: “Legal & General's bullish statement in its preliminary results suggests it should benefit from question marks over state reliance in the year ahead so investors will be keen to see the company making further head way into the pension, annuities, protection and savings plan market place.
“Investors should also be expecting a better performance from the company's asset management operation as market conditions have experienced some improvement since the European Central Banks allowed European banks to borrow from them at very favourable rates back in December.
Despite this week’s news the UK slipped back into recession in the last quarter the reaction from the markets remains muted.