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UK WINNERS & LOSERS SUMMARY: AstraZeneca Rises On Vaccine Optimism

Mon, 20th Jul 2020 10:37

(Alliance News) - The following stocks are the leading risers and fallers within the main London indices on Monday.

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FTSE 100 - WINNERS

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AstraZeneca, up 2.5%. Shares were higher as investors look ahead to the results of Anglo-Swedish drugmaker's partnership with Oxford University to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Results of the Oxford/AstraZeneca trial - which is now in its third phase of human trials in Brazil - are expected to be released on Monday, with high expectations over its efficacy. "Investors have warmed to AstraZeneca both on hopes that it will successfully develop a treatment for Covid-19 and the fact the company is making progress with other drug developments. Early-stage trial data is set to be published today on its coronavirus vaccine so the shares could be in even more demand if the news is encouraging," said AJ Bell's Russ Mould.

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Berkeley Group, up 1.5%, Barratt Developments, up 1.3%, Taylor Wimpey, up 1.0%, Persimmon, up 0.8%. The housebuilders were in the green following upbeat house price data from Rightmove. House prices in Britain hit a record high this month, with the country seeing a "mini-boom", according to listings site Rightmove. The average price of property coming to market is GBP320,265 this month, up by an average of 2.4%, or GBP7,640, compared to March before the housing market was put on hold. Rightmove noted the 3.7% annual growth is the highest since December 2016. According to listings site Rightmove, the average asking price in England during June was GBP337,884, up 1.9% from March. The June figure represented a 2.9% annual rise. Analysts at Citigroup said rising demand levels are set to get a boost from the UK government's stamp duty cut. "Demand strength shows no signs of abating. Mortgage availability still remains below normal levels. Land values have yet to reflect the impact of disruption as construction costs moderate but the trends are still evolving," the US bank said.

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FTSE 100 - LOSERS

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British American Tobacco, down 2.5%. Jefferies downgraded the Dunhill, Kent and Lucky Strike cigarette maker to Hold from Buy.

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DCC, down 2.0%. RBC Capital cut the Irish support services firm to Sector Perform from Outperform.

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Standard Life Aberdeen, down 1.8%. Barclays cut the fund manager to Underweight from Equal Weight.

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FTSE 250 - WINNERS

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Future, up 6.5%. The magazine publisher said trading for financial 2020 will be at the top end of market expectations due to strong digital audience numbers, cost controls, and acceleration of synergies following acquisition of TI Media. The current consensus range for adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year ending September 30 is GBP86.3 million to GBP91.0 million, according to the company. In financial 2019, adjusted Ebitda totalled GBP54.5 million. The Bath, England-based company also said that the integration of TI Media is progressing in line with expectations, with annual cost synergies of over GBP9 million already secured. The company expects the acquisition to generate GBP15 million per annum in cost synergies within 24 months.

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OTHER MAIN MARKET AND AIM - WINNERS

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Gamma Communications, up 6.5%. The communications services provider said despite challenging conditions, its performance in the first half of 2020 is expected to result in earnings for its full-year above expectations. Gamma said it expects adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization for 2020 to be above GBP373.2 million and earnings per share ahead of 46.5 pence. For comparison, adjusted Ebitda for 2019 was GBP63.5 million, EPS was 36.1p, and adjusted EPS 40.8p. Gamma said its UK and Europe business has remained robust as 93% of its revenue is recurring and cancellation of existing contracts have remained minimal. Looking ahead, the company said it has continued to invest in its digital transformation program, through the launch of its Dealer Hub. It remains on target to launch Release 2 of the platform in the second half of 2020 which "significantly optimises customer order delivery and provides customers with an online community for support and digital engagement with Gamma".

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OTHER MAIN MARKET AND AIM - LOSERS

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Amigo Holdings, down 20%. The guarantor loans provider swung to an annual pretax loss on the costs of addressing customer complaints and named its incoming chair. Amigo said the last 12 months have been a challenging and difficult period, which is reflected in its annual results. For the financial year ended March 31, revenue was GBP294.2 million, up 9% from GBP270.7 million in financial 2019. However, Amigo swung to a pretax loss of GBP37.9 million from a profit of GBP111 million the year before. Amigo said the cost of complaints in the year increased to GBP126.8 million with a remaining balance sheet provision of GBP117.5 million as at March 31. Amigo said it will monitor the macro environment and UK government announcements when considering when to lift its temporary pause on new lending. The company added that its strategic review is ongoing, after a potential sale fell through earlier this year. In addition, Amigo said it hired former Vanquis Bank chair, Jonathan Roe, as a non-executive director and chair-designate.

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By Arvind Bhunjun; arvindbhunjun@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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