These UK shares are set to release fresh financial details over the next couple of weeks. Is now the time to buy in? Or should you give them a very wide berth?


Imminent third-quarter financials from FTSE 100 banking colossus Barclays are bound to attract plenty of attention. This is a reflection of the blue chip’s standing in its own right as well as its role as a barometer of the health of the British economy. And I have to tell you that I’m not too optimistic over what they’ll show.

UK banks have already been forced to suck up gigantic impairments resulting from the Covid-19 crisis. Barclays itself announced it had booked £3.7bn worth of credit impairments in its half-year trading update in July. Profits at the bank sunk to £1.3bn between January and June from £3bn a year earlier, too. I fear another shocking set of numbers when that quarter three statement comes out on Friday, October 23.

I don’t think there’s much incentive to buy Barclays shares today. Its forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 20 times fails to reflect the possibility of its current travails stretching well into 2021 and possibly beyond, too. As well as Covid-19, of course, the Footsie bank also faces a significant threat from a disorderly Brexit at the end of December.

On top of this, Barclays and its peers also face the prospect that the Bank of England will hold interest rates at rock-bottom levels for years to come to support the UK economy. The central bank might even introduce negative rates soon if very-public chatter from key policymakers is to be believed. In my opinion Barclays simply offers too much risk. I fully expect its long-term share price downtrend to continue.

Airline stocks are gaining on the FTSE 100 (^FTSE), with IAG (IAG.L) and Rolls-Royce (RR.L) among the leaders.

IAG shares were up as much as 11% on Thursday and Rolls-Royce had even more dramatic gains, up 22% at around 4:15pm in London.

“RR [Rolls-Royce] is set to post record gains for this week as investors are buying the stock as it is way too cheap, said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade. “As for the IAG, speculations are that there could be another support package for airlines as well just like the US.”

Markets have been buoyed in Asia and Europe as investor confidence grew overnight following renewed hopes for a US stimulus deal. US president Donald Trump said on Wednesday that he will resume talks after the election and further positive news came from House speaker Nancy Pelosi. She signalled that she was open to some form of partial measures, particularly for the airline industry.

READ MORE: Market pressure eases as US fiscal policy and a Democratic win appear in focus

“It’s partly just a short-term rebound as they’ve been so beaten down, but I think hints about a rescue package for US airlines have lifted the sector here, and also Rolls has been given a boost thanks to talk about British-made small nuclear reactors,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. “Also I think we are seeing a pile-in to beaten down sectors as risk appetite recovers, short-term money looking for a quick rebound.”

The UK government could spend up to £2bn ($2.63bn) on a project to design and build mini-nuclear power stations as the industry suffers from major setbacks that could leave a hole in the national electricity supply.

The project to build 16 sites by 2050 could help the beleaguered Rolls-Royce business, which is

By Shashank Nayar

Oct 6 (Reuters)A firmer pound pulled down UK’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 on Tuesday after three sessions of gains, while Restaurant Group surged after it forecast upbeat sales numbers.

The blue-chip index .FTSE dropped 0.5% and lagged its European peers, as the pound rose above $1.30 for the first time in three weeks with investors scaling back bets on UK interest rates turning negative. GBP/

Midcap stocks .FTMC rose 0.4% as gains in consumer and industrial firms outweighed losses in healthcare companies.

A survey showed Britain’s construction industry unexpectedly picked up speed last month, helped by a post-lockdown bounce in the housing market.

“The market is keeping trades on hold for now and is waiting out for more macro data, with traders also focussing on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech and a parliament vote to lift pub curfews due later in the day,” said Keith Temperton, a trader at Forte Securities.

Britain will prioritise trying to save jobs over tax rises while the COVID-19 pandemic batters the economy, though record borrowing and a $2.6 trillion debt pile cannot be sustained for ever, finance minister Rishi Sunak said.

A raft of stimulus measures and re-opening optimism have helped the FTSE 100 bounce from its March lows.

However, rising economic stress due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and a stronger pound have kept the index in a tight range, with investors hoping for more support as the economy faces its worst recession in more than 300 years.

Frankie and Benny’s owner Restaurant Group RTN.L gained 4.95% after it unveiled improved like-for-like sales numbers for the period since the start of July.

Premier Oil PMO.L jumped 10% after it reached an all-share merger deal with oil exploration and production company Chrysaor.

(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru;