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|No. of shares out||1,267m|
|No. of shares floating||1,262m|
|No. of employees||61,100|
|Trading volume (10 day avg.)||1.7m|
|Profit before tax||5,242m USD|
|Earnings per share||1.86 USD|
|Cashflow per share||3.28 USD|
|Cash per share||2.79 USD|
AstraZeneca has turned a corner, says Hargreaves
AstraZeneca (AZN) had been ‘eating itself’ to pay its dividend but has now turned a corner and still has a successful pipeline of drugs to come, says Hargreaves Lansdown.
Full-year product sales rose 4% to $21 billion although less income from disposals meant total revenues fell 2%.
Analyst Nicholas Hyett said 2018 was the year the pharmaceutical giant ‘turned the corner - despite the fairly ugly drop in profits’.
‘In recent years Astra’s been slowly eating itself to keep the dividend going, while it waits for the pipeline to deliver,’ he said.
It is now reaping the rewards of its patience and ‘even after recent successes the pipeline of new drugs looks rich’, Hyatt added.
‘Meanwhile rolling more mature drugs into emerging markets also seems to be delivering results. Admittedly that’s been driven largely by growth in China, which has proven a volatile market of late, but a newly wealthy middle class is unlikely to see drugs as a luxury that can be picked up and dropped like an iPhone.’
The shares surged 7.9% to £61.75 yesterday.
|No. of shares out||492m|
|No. of shares floating||490m|
|No. of employees||14,799|
|Trading volume (10 day avg.)||0.5m|
|Profit before tax||£95m|
|Earnings per share||11.95p|
|Cashflow per share||25.20p|
|Cash per share||3.49p|
Restaurant Group takes another blow
Restaurant Group (RTN) shareholders have been dealt a devastating blow, as the chief executive steps down at a crucial point in its recovery story, says AJ Bell.
Andy McCue, boss of the group which owns Frankie & Benny’s, has stepped down for personal reasons.
Analyst Russ Mould said losing McCue ‘at such a crucial point in its recovery story is devastating for shareholders who have already gone through hell over the past few years’.
He said the news would ‘rock the ship once more’ and ‘there is a risk, or an opportunity, depending on how you view it, that McCue’s replacement will want to tear up the recovery plan and make some more radical changes’.
The shares fell 10.8% to 130.2p yesterday.
|No. of shares out||181m|
|No. of shares floating||175m|
|No. of employees||52,705|
|Trading volume (10 day avg.)||0.5m|
|Profit before tax||£691m|
|Earnings per share||188.37p|
|Cashflow per share||312.99p|
|Cash per share||49.37p|
Impressive market opportunities at Whitbread, says Numis
Premier Inn owner Whitbread (WTB) is scaling an ‘impressive’ market opportunity, says Numis, but there are still some questions to answer.
Analyst Tim Barrett retained his ‘add’ recommendation and target price of £54 on the shares, which were trading at £49.40 yesterday.
He said the recent company update was ‘a good showcase for Whitbread’s operational capabilities and impressive scaling of the ongoing market opportunities’.
‘Unanswered questions include releasing value from real estate - particularly pub restaurants - while the capital return of £2.5 billion is slightly underwhelming. Nonetheless, supportive of the investment case,’ he said.
|No. of shares out||713m|
|No. of shares floating||397m|
|No. of employees||253|
|Trading volume (10 day avg.)||0.9m|
|Profit before tax||£181m|
|Earnings per share||21.27p|
|Cashflow per share||22.27p|
|Cash per share||96.30p|
Shore Capital waiting for weakness to ‘buy’ Ashmore
Specialist emerging market asset manager Ashmore (ASHM) has been resilient in the market turbulence but Shore Capital is still waiting for a weaker period of inflows before turning more positive.
Analyst Paul McGinnis retained his ‘hold’ recommendation and target price of 400p on the stock after in line interims and news the chief executive is reducing his 39% stake in the company to a more ‘appropriate level’. The shares fell 3.4% to 399.2p yesterday.
McGinnis said the shares had been on a strong run and was ‘a lonely member of a club of asset managers whose share price is higher now than it was before the sharp market falls seen in the fourth quarter’.
‘The quality operator won’t quite drop to a level at which we feel we can adopt a more positive recommendation,’ he said.
‘We had speculated that such a “buy” opportunity may present itself if flows had turned negative on the back of negative emerging market sentiment. However, clients didn’t panic and were rewarded with a much more resilient asset class than global equities in late 2018, even though Ashmore’s own short-term relative performance versus benchmark was a little weaker.’
|No. of shares out||55m|
|No. of shares floating||40m|
|No. of employees||509|
|Trading volume (10 day avg.)||0m|
|Profit before tax||£38m|
|Earnings per share||55.15p|
|Cashflow per share||56.91p|
|Cash per share||75.68p|
No signs of Brexit slowdown at MJ Gleeson
House builder MJ Gleeson (GLEG) is showing no signs of a Brexit-related slowdown, says Peel Hunt.
Analyst Alex Stout retained his ‘hold’ recommendation and increased the target price from 630p to 715p. The shares rose 5.3% to 780p yesterday.
He said interim results were ‘good’, with revenue up 53% to £118 million and profits up 63% to £22 million.
‘The strategic land division performed well, with operating profit up... while the housing division continues to buck the trend, with no signs of a reduction in sales rates,’ he said.
‘Overall we make no changes to group profit forecasts. The shares are currently trading on a current year price/net asset value of 1.85 times versus the sector 1.54 times, with a dividend yield of 4.9%.’
He added that ‘while we like the defensive qualities of the business, we think the current valuation looks full’.