Top UK Stocks to Watch: Pearson shares rise after solid start to 2021

Pearson delivers a much-improved performance, Tate & Lyle considers selling its primary products division, IMI ups its guidance and launches a replacement share buyback, Draper Esprit smashes expectations, and reports emerge that Darktrace is preparing to chop the worth of its London IPO.
Top News: Pearson expects to return to growth in 2021
Pearson said it expects to report revenue and profit growth in 2021 after the tutorial media business delivered 5% topline growth within the half-moon , driven by its shift to online learning during the pandemic.

Global online learning reported 25% underlying growth during the quarter, offsetting 2% declines in its global assessment and its international divisions, which both still suffer as a results of coronavirus restrictions. Its North American courseware business posted 1% growth.

Pearson said its virtual schools were the most driver behind the expansion in global online learning, while North American courseware benefited grew as Canada started buying more digital courseware and from a rise in class funding, offsetting a fall in demand education courseware within the US.

The return to growth are going to be welcome news to shareholders after Pearson saw underlying revenue fall 10% in 2020 as its digital businesses struggled to counter the disruption caused to the remainder of its business by the pandemic.

‘It’s been an honest start to the year for Pearson, delivering 5% sales growth within the quarter. this is often despite a extended period of disruption from COVID-19 within the quarter compared to last year. I’d wish to thank colleagues for his or her ongoing dedication and diligence ,’ said chief executive Andy Bird. ‘We are building pace and momentum. We are making good strategic progress in our ongoing shift to digital, we are within the advanced stages of preparation for the forthcoming launch of our new college app and our organisational redesign is on target .’

‘We still expect to deliver revenue and profit growth in 2021 and for our performance to be in line with our 2021 outlook as we enjoy improving trading conditions as COVID-19 restrictions ease. We are focused on executing our new strategy and believe that it’ll create sustainable and significant value for all of Pearson’s stakeholders,’ he added.

Where next for the Pearson share price?
Pearson share price has been trending higher since early November and trades at pre-pandemic levels. It trades above its multi-month ascending trendline, its 50 & 100 EMA showing a longtime bullish trend.

The RSI is pointing higher and above 50 but below 70 suggesting that there might be more upside on the cards. That said the long wicks on the candles around might be a seen of weakness at the more elevated levels.

Immediate resistance are often seen at 838p the March high. Beyond here buyers could look to focus on 878p high January 28 and a pre-pandemic level.

On the downside, support are often seen at the 788 – 778p contention zone made from the ascending line support and therefore the 50 EMA. Beyond here horizontal support at 760p might be tested. an opportunity through here could see the sellers gain traction.

Tate & Lyle considers selling primary products division
Tate & Lyle said it’s considering separating its food and beverage solutions and first products divisions.

Tate & Lyle intends to sell a controlling stake in its primary products business to a ‘new long-term financial partner’. The division supplies commodities like sweeteners and starches.

It booked annual revenue of $1.8 billion last year and an operating profit of £158 million, with analysts forecasting it might be valued at around £1.2 billion. The statement on Monday morning was responding to reports within the Telegraph over the weekend.

‘Tate & Lyle continues to successfully execute its strategy and remains confident within the future growth prospects of the corporate . However, the board believes that if a transaction of this nature was completed it might enable Tate & Lyle and therefore the new business to focus their respective strategies and capital allocation priorities and make the chance for enhanced shareholder value,’ said Tate & Lyle.

‘Discussions with potential new partners within the Primary Products business are at an early stage and thus there are often no certainty that a transaction are going to be concluded,’ it added.

Tate & Lyle shares were up 6.9% in early trade at 808.7.

IMI ups expectations and launches share buyback
Specialist engineering firm IMI raised its guidance for the complete year and launched a replacement share buyback programme after performing better than expected during the primary quarter.

The company said organic revenue rose 7.7% year-on-year to £421 million within the first three months of the year. Notably, that was also 2.6% above the primary quarter of 2019 before the pandemic hit.

‘We are pleased with the progress that the business has continued to form through the primary quarter of 2021 as we accelerated our strategy to deliver sustainable profitable growth. Our increased specialise in adding value for our customers by solving key industry problems, along side initiatives to scale back complexity and accelerate growth, are delivering tangible benefits,’ said chief executive Roy Twite.

‘This momentum not only gives us the arrogance to boost our guidance for the complete year and announce a share buy-back programme, but also underpins our belief that IMI can deliver sustainably higher margins going forwards, at an equivalent time as investing fully for growth,’ he added.

IMI now expects to report annual adjusted EPS of 81 pence to 87p in 2021, up from its previous range of 75p to 82p. IMI also said it’s now targeting a sustainable margin of over 20% over time instead of the 18% to twenty it had been previously pursuing.

IMI is additionally launching a replacement £200 million share buyback programme to utilise surplus cash while leaving enough to stay investing within the business.

IMI shares were up 5.6$ in early trade at 1480.0.

Draper Esprit to stay up the pace because it smashes expectations
Draper Esprit said it plans to continue scaling the business by investing extra money into new and existing investments after delivering stellar growth during 2020 that came in well before expectations.

The tech-focus VC has made a reputation for itself by providing exposure to major tech companies that are privately hands and said it’ll report a net asset value of ‘no less’ than 728 pence when it reports annual results covering the 12 months to the top of March. that’s up from 555p a year ago and well before the 643.65p forecast by analysts.

The value of its portfolio jumped to £955 million from £703 million. Draper Esprit said it’ll report a gain of a minimum of £330 million for the year compared to only £59 million the year before. That 47% rise in value is considerably better than the 20% annual gross portfolio returns that the corporate targets through the cycle.

The company said its performance has encouraged it to intensify its investment activity within the last half of the year, having invested £96 million compared to only £32 million within the first. That was boosted by the £107 million equity raise it completed in October. Draper Esprit said the increased level of investment has continued into the New Year , with £50 million of deals already agreed and another £75 million worth into account .

‘The marketplace for tech company investments has been exceptionally strong since the pandemic, highlighting the importance of technology to several aspects of our future. Our impressive fair value increase reflects that, also because the ability of our Partners to spot companies with potential for top growth. the character of risk capital means investments must be made throughout the cycle. Today’s strong returns are partly right down to investments made when things were less buoyant,’ said chief executive Martin Davis.

Draper Esprit will release its annual results on Flag Day .

Draper Esprit shares were trading 0.7% lower in early trade at 848.0.

Darktrace to chop IPO valuation
Cybersecurity firm Darktrace is reported to possess cut the worth of its London IPO to make sure it avoids a calamitous listing following Deliveroo’s poor performance since going public, consistent with Sky News.

The company is reported to be targeting a valuation of £2.4 billion to £2.7 billion, far below the £3.6 billion that has been touted in recent weeks. The move is assumed to be a part of plans to make sure its shares perform well after listing after seeing Deliveroo shares collapse by quite 1 / 4 on their first day of trading last month.

It is also expected to assist address a number of the concerns around its first investor Mike Lynch, who is currently at the centre of a dispute over the sale of a business within the US back in 2011.