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Ride-hailing firm, Uber, has seen its stock hit an all-time low after its IPO lock-up period ended this week. Its share price is now down to $27.11, a 45% plunge from its opening price when it was listed in a flurry of optimism in May. Investors have taken the opportunity to make a speedy exit from the taxi firm as soon as the IPO expiration came around, after a rocky few months which has seen share prices falling.
The last quarter had been testing for Uber – while its ride-sharing business revenue rose by almost a fifth to $2.9bn, UberEats which makes up 17 per cent of the business reported substantial losses. So, has Uber lost its traction or could it still get back on the right road? Many analysts are sticking with ‘sell’ ratings but there was a glimmer of optimism from Barclays which called Uber’s latest results reassuring and suggested the ride-sharing sector in general could reach a turning point in 2020. Analysts at Wedbush also have a 12-month target for the stock to return to its IPO level of $45, so it’s not all doom and gloom.
It’s not only retailers who have been hit by the demise of the high street – shopping centre operator, Intu saw a 20 per cent share price plummet this week as it warned it may need to seek extra cash from shareholders. The property firm, which owns six UK shopping centres, including the Trafford Centre and Lakeside, warned that like-for-like rental income is likely to fall 9 per cent this year and its net external debt stood at £4.87 bn at the end of June. Share prices had fallen to 34.72p at the time of writing and some analysts estimated the company would need to raise between £1bn and £2bn, which could inflict serious losses on existing shareholders.
So, what’s the long-term outlook for Intu – could the retail slowdown continue to take its toll or is a recovery on the horizon? Chief Executive, Matthew Roberts, says fixing the balance sheet is a priority and Intu are looking at offloading assets in Spain as a first step. He has also highlighted the challenging conditions and large volume of CVAs that have affected the firm as some retail tenants folded. According to Roberts, there has been a pickup in letting activity in recent weeks, including a signup by Harrods at Lakeside, and footfall for the firm rose 0.9%, improving upon the Springboard monitor for shopping centres average which was down 2.4%. Analysts are not convinced though with DeustcheBank, Liberium and JP Morgan all downgrading or reiterating ‘sell’ ratings and slashing target prices.
Is Marks and Spencer regaining its style following a 5% share price rise after the retail stalwart reported progress in its turnaround plan and an upturn in October sales. Its first half figures showed pre-tax profit was down to £176.5m but an encouraging performance last month, even in clothing and home – traditionally the retailer’s weakest sectors, led to full-year profit guidance remaining unchanged.
Chief executive, Steve Rowe, offered upbeat analysis on the retailer’s turnaround plan, describing it as ‘running at a pace and scale not seen before’, and Marks and Spencer’s food business is outperforming the market with like for like sales for the first half of the year up 0.9%. Opinions from analysts are mixed, while many think the performance of the food sector and the uplift in October sales is promising, the consensus seems to be that its too soon to tell if Marks and Spencer’s turnaround plan will be enough to shoot it back into the FTSE 100.
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