Centrica is out of favour but has recovery potential longer term

Published 12 days ago

The past couple of years haven’t been great for FTSE100 stock Centrica (CNA), including the share price having halved during that time, but it could have recovery prospects from the current share price...

Enjoy your Bank Holiday Jezza raises the red flag

Published 14 days ago

All you can say about the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is that he is edging closer to power than even many of his supporters could ever have hoped for even in their wildest dreams.  Of course we live in strange times and almost anything currently seems to be a potential policy runner...including a completely mad plan to renationalise a bunch of different industries. 

Dividend Munchers – Easter 2019 update (and still beating Neil Woodford)

Published 29 days ago

I have been remiss in not updating on my little portfolio of FTSE-100 dividend munchers for a while: it is time to make amends. This was a small portfolio put together in the hope of beating bank interest, but from a point of view of being bearish on the market. It has been a bumpy ride, but at least I am still ahead of Neil Woodford!

Centrica – Iain Conn and the NEDs: if you think this is acceptable it is time for your P45s

Published 36 days ago

I am a patient investor and Centrica has had its fair share of problems. Some have been self-inflicted (losing customers), some imposed on it (the government price-cap) and some hark back to the previous regime and others are just a difficult market. As a shareholder, I’m sure the board will do what is necessary to get things back on track. Yet in the face of falling profits and the dividend under serious threat I see monster pay rises. That, in my view, is totally unacceptable.

If Royal Dutch Shell is going to be a utility has got to buy big

Published 56 days ago

So news today that Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) is going all vertically integrated and looking to expand its nascent utility arm by renaming its 2017 purchase of First Utility as Shell Energy and offering new customers a discount on their fuel bills. As part of an ongoing slow shift away from classic fossil fuels, this approach has some merit to it...but it leads to one very obvious question: how is Shell going to make this business even mildly relevant to its business?

Dividend Munchers – (almost) February update.

Published 78 days ago

Once again I am late with my monthly update. I could say that I was holding on for good news (or hiding the bad), but I can’t lay claim to anything as clever as that: my little portfolio of high-yielders  has slipped again and there wasn’t any good news to wait for. However, there was a hint of a silver lining this week from ITV (ITV) as it released its results.

Centrica tests my faith whilst Barclays rewards it

Published 88 days ago

I am often asked why I focus on larger cap shares when 'elephants cannot gallop' and 'surely all those brokers covering the stocks out there mean there is pretty efficient pricing'. Obviously the former is a more reasonable point than the latter, although judging by the way the shares of both Centrica (CNA) and Barclays (BARC) have moved around in recent months, there has been a decent amount of galloping too (mostly downhill to a lower share price)...

SSE - as went 2018 goes 2019

Published 101 days ago

Regular readers will know very well that I regard anyone who has a significant portfolio position in UK utility Scottish & Southern Electricity (SSE) as a hardcore dividend muncher with an effective stock market investor profile age of 85 years old…

Centrica's management are laughing after big regulator price cap fail

Published 105 days ago

I do not remember the various price caps employed by Ted Heath's government in the early 1970s...but the history books tell me all I need to know as to their impact which was a mega policy failure and contributed to the election of a Labour government (of course it also led to the monetarist/free market revolution that ultimately led to the rise of Mrs T). Price caps distort markets and give incorrect incentives, a point made multiple times over the last year by the management of Centrica (CNA), concerning the introduction of energy price caps by Ofgem following agreement by the government...

Dividend Munchers – (almost) January update

Published 106 days ago

OK, I’m a bit late with this update and the last one wasn’t at all pretty as total returns weighed in at a depressing -1.4%. So much for being immune to a dodgy market! But the dividends are still rolling in and I’m still beating Neil Woodford….every cloud, and all that!

Dividend Munchers – December update: a bad month, but still beating Neil!

Published 140 days ago

It has been a nasty month – and with New Year’s Eve still to come it could get nastier. So how is my little portfolio of high-dividend payers faring, and am I still doing better than cash in the bank (which is what I was, as a bear of almost everything, looking to achieve)?

Superdry & Centrica - stirring the pot ahead of 2019

Published 147 days ago

Well I did say to get the popcorn out on Superdry (SDRY) and the excitements continue with weekend reports observing that Julian Dunkerton - the 18% shareholding co-founder of the 'faux-Japanese' clothing retailer - is preparing to launch a proxy battle against the board in an attempt to secure a return to the company…

Seasonal embarrassment from SSE

Published 154 days ago

Just over a week until Christmas and no sign of an imminent end yet to sloppy RNS updates. The headlines are going to be taken by the profit woopsie from ASOS (ASC) after it too agreed with Mike Ashley's November retail omnishambles comments of a few days ago and pulled down its growth and margin hopes. Thematically, it is much more than a survivor due to its online focus but it goes to show that it’s not easy out there. Anyhow, for those of you tempted by Sunday's Next (NXT) related musings, the in-price available has got that bit naturally cuter... However it is Scottish & Southern (SSE) that I wanted to write about…

Dividend Munchers – November update: beating Neil!

Published 170 days ago

My small portfolio of high dividend payers took a couple of interesting turns last month. On the plus side, Vodafone (VOD) put in quite a recovery to close at 168p – quite a rise from the low point of 143p just a couple of weeks back. On the downside, Centrica (CNA) dropped on a trading update which showed continued loss of customers and projected earnings below the level of the dividend. Hmmm.

Dividend Munchers’ List – Full November update

Published 197 days ago

We’ve made November and the world didn’t end on the stock markets after all. Phew. Having noted that three of my four picks had been pretty resilient during the market squall of October, we have now seen a bit of a recovery across the markets (not that I think it will last). So how’s the performance?

Dividend Munchers – great stuff from BT, but time to trim?

Published 199 days ago

Fully listed BT (BT.A) is the largest holding in my small collection of dividend munchers by value, although for the purposes of the portfolio it is marked as one unit, along with Centrica (CNA) and ITV (ITV). Vodafone, the fourth member, is half a unit – thank goodness! Yesterday’s interims went down very well with the market, which marked the shares up to around 267p at the peak, and closed at around 260. The shares haven’t been this high since last January and you have to go back to last October before you see an extended period of higher prices than that.

Five large cap stocks I would buy now for capital growth despite market volatility

Published 218 days ago

Well what a last week with fear - for once in recent years - in ascendancy and lots of 'worst week since February' statistics being quoted.  As Tom Winnifrith noted in a recent bearcast the big honking issue is debt around the world, although tactically you can throw in a supporting cast of world trade angst, a bit of inflation bubbling up and a firm US dollar.  

Don't panic about the FTSE 100 being at a five-month low (part two)

Published 252 days ago

In part one yesterday, I talked about some of the complexities around the FTSE 100 today...but finished the piece by promising some stock picks. Before I get into these I have to highlight Nigel's piece yesterday, which absolutely nails the opportunities around names such as BT Group (BT.A), Centrica (CNA) and ITV (ITV).

My Dividend Muncher’s List – time for an update

Published 253 days ago

It is a while since I updated on my small portfolio of high-yielders from the FTSE100. The idea of the portfolio – perhaps somewhat contrary to expectations – is that I am bearish, but am struggling to find somewhere to park my cash. Bond yields are low and prices high, but interest rates are rising so my simple mind sees capital losses there. You still can’t get any meaningful interest at the bank and property prices look set to (at best) stall. And to cap it all, I am nervous that the market might sell off. So I am investing here as a bear.

Investor fear and Centrica, DixonsCarphone and McCarthy & Stone

Published 256 days ago

Time to talk about three badboys who are reporting today. I say 'badboys', but there is only one stock I would not touch out of the three...but more on that in a few paragraphs time...

RNS potpourri - my latest thoughts on three badboys: Greencore, Centrica & Thomas Cook

Published 293 days ago

There is nothing like a bunch of regulatory news statements in the morning to get your blood pumping...although I guess a profit warning or so is never good for the heart...or the bank balance. Anyhow the cardiac and fiscal resuscitation units were on standby earlier as three names that have disappointed me at various times in recent months updated the market.

Dividend Munchers List – all (more-or-less) going to plan

Published 295 days ago

It was interesting to listen to yesterday’s Bearcast Special, with Tom Winnifrith joined by Lucian Miers and Brokerman Dan – the last of whom sounded like a jolly good cynic to me. He described AIM as “all puff” and asked which company could go to zero he said any AIM company. Of course, I think there are a few exceptions but in general the cynic in me enjoyed hearing what he had to say. Perhaps that is partly why I’ve been looking to put a dividend muncher’s list together, as well as having some stocks I can invest my cash in to generate a return even if the general market keels over.

Dividend Munchers list: great stuff from ITV, some trimming and a new entrant.

Published 316 days ago

My little portfolio of big dividend payers seems to be doing quite nicely. Hurrah! It seems that all three are up, and the first tasty dividend has arrived. But I want to trim some holdings and buy a new share.

The Dividend Muncher’s List – Good ITV, not so good BT!

Published 365 days ago

It is just over a month since I updated on my trawl to find big dividends which might be safe in a market environment where I don’t see much upside and plenty downside. Having originally settled on BT (BT.A) at about 225p on a yield of just shy of 7%, I added ITV (ITV) at the last count, paying 143.7p. That puts its dividend at 5.4%, although it went ex-dividend before I bought. Meanwhile I finally succumbed to the attractions (as I saw them) of Centrica (CNA), paying 142.95p ahead if its final dividend. How are things looking?

How a New Army of Indy Suppliers Poses a Continuing Threat to Centrica

Published 399 days ago

Hello, Share Scoopers. An outfit I was once extremely loyal to, perhaps too much so, is Centrica (CNA), better known to most of us as British Gas. No longer. And if I still had the shares, they would be on my likely-to-sell-soon list.

ITV – another one for the dividend muncher’s list

Published 400 days ago

I’ve been wandering through my list of tasty-looking dividend plays identified HERE for further additions to my dividend muncher’s list. The first was BT (BT.A) which I bought at 225p and has since risen nicely to 241.5p. We’ll see how this plays out when its results are released early next month, but so far, so good. My second choice was Centrica (CAN), but I haven’t taken the plunge there yet. Working down my list of high yields, it has been too easy to rule out most of them but I alighted on ITV (ITV) and I wonder if now may prove a good time to climb on board.

Looking at another dividend muncher: Centrica

Published 413 days ago

I commented in the aftermath of the big sell off (which was just a correction at the time) that a good many companies had interesting yields. I subsequently bought a bit of BT (BT.A) at around 225p as I suspect at the next results I’ll be bagging a yield of 7% or a little more. Now I want to look for another nice payout: what will it be?

Most Shares Fall with the Thermometer, So Buy Stocks that Rise as the Snow Falls

Published 444 days ago

Hello Share Shiverers. At the risk of over-simplifying matters, it’s time to winkle out companies who’ll benefit from the icy weather. Some of the choices are obvious, but that’s no reason not to remind you of a few opportunities. And you’ll be surprised how very temporary events - like the current cold snap - can influence share prices. Though the effect is usually confined to a week at the most.

Centrica unveils an economic lesson for the Chancellor in Budget week

Published 546 days ago

It is going to be a week filled with economic rhetoric - as every UK Government Budget epoch tends to be. As an aside - and something to remember for this Wednesday - the way to spot a better than average budget is if it is generally slammed in the press the day after. Someone told me this rule too many years ago to recall and I have to say it has been pretty accurate since. Anyhow, back to stocks and specifically another bout of economic common sense from Centrica (CNA) today on the issues of why price caps do not work.

SSE - the FTSE-100's most boring company does something of interest

Published 558 days ago

The most boring company in the FTSE-100 by far is in my opinion SSE plc (SSE, Scottish & Southern Energy). Admittedly utility companies are not meant to be sexy but SSE with its lack of growth and grinding up dividend payment (which encompasses pretty much all of its free cash flow) is the ultimate tortoise. Don't worry I know the hare and tortoise fable and my own investment style is hardly rabid but shoot me now if I make this one a top ten portfolio position at any time before the age of 85. However...

Here's Why Centrica Shares May Not Hit the Gas This Winter

Published 579 days ago

Hello, Share Hearties. No mistake about it, Centrica (CNA) is a well-run company and a huge entity. Its market cap is £9.6 billion. But as we know, the expression ‘Too big to fail’ does not always work. Many of us will have lost money on British giants that went pear-shaped, like BT, British Energy, Northern Rock, RBS etc. And Centrica does not seem to me a rosy share to hold or buy at the moment.

Centrica gets shafted by the government getting down with the electorate

Published 592 days ago

After the omnishables that was Theresa May’s big cough-rence speech, mumblings from the Brexit transition Queen about the need for a price cap on the easy targets of the electricity and gas utilities spanked the shares of Centrica (CNA) and Scottish & Southern (SSE), with the former falling to a 14 year share price low. Whilst the latter bores me, the former does grab my attention as the current management team does have a sensible plan involving selling us energy efficiency related technology and services to complement our core gas and electricity bills.

Energy Caps Will Only Make Things Worse for Centrica

Published 739 days ago

Hello Share Squishers. It seems fairly obvious that gas and electricity supply companies may well see slimmer share prices after all this general election talk about capping energy bills. But so far, the market has not cropped shares by very much.

Why Centrica Is Not Centrical to My Share Buying Agenda

Published 959 days ago

Hello Share Screamers. It's quite a few years back now that I made a juicy packet out of my Centrica (CNA) shares, first bought in a government share-buy scheme. Seems centuries since we had those tempting offers, doesn’t it? Ever since I sold those shares, I can report that they have not done particularly well. The big problem with Centrica (CNA), which trades as British Gas, is the growing competition.


Why I'm Not Warming to British Gas: Ref: Centrica.

Published 1182 days ago

Hello Share Riders. As a long, but mild, winter gets set to change into Spring, I am going cold on Centrica (CNA). Time was when I was a great supporter. Much good did it do me. I made a lot of cash in my early years with them, but then the share price more or less flattened out. 

BG Takes the Road to Shell and Back.

Published 1272 days ago

Hello Share Trundlers.  The big Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BG (BG.) merger has been the elephant in the room at many a big discussion on current share trading.

BG Takes the Road to Shell and Back - the mega merger moves forward

Published 1277 days ago

Hello Share Trundlers.  The big Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BG (BG.) merger has been the elephant in the room at many a big discussion on current share trading. It was  nearly a year ago, or seems like it, that Shell said it wanted to take over BG. (We are not talking about British Gas here, which is really Centrica (CNA). Confused? You will be.)

Is Centrica the new Tesco’s?

Published 1551 days ago

It is always worth taking a look when there is a big fall in a well-owned FTSE-100 stock.  Today’s performance dog is Centrica (CNA) which probably supplies many of you via its British Gas brand with gas and electricity and which has blamed a combination of energy price moves, the weather and utility market competition for a 30% fall in earnings per share in 2014…and most strikingly a 30% fall in the dividend it is going to pay. 

My Blooming Big BG Bungle – and How To Avoid Similar Disasters.

Published 1575 days ago

Hello Share Truckers. One of my biggest ever killings came about by my having hardly any work to do. It was the amazing rise and rise of British Gas.

Centrica at 269p – sell

Published 1579 days ago

The recent downtrend in Centrica (CNA) shares (269p last seen) has found some resistance. They have bounced off a low 258p level where they were, on last year's dividend payout of 17p, on an historic dividend yield of 6.5%. Was the market assuming that a dividend cut was discounted or that the share was horribly oversold because there might be no dividend cut? 

BT Prepares Funding for EE Move

Published 1612 days ago

Money doesn’t grow on trees, and the money to fund BT’s (BT.A) £12.5 billion takeover of EE has to be found from somewhere. So BT is potentially preparing a raft of measure to find the money. There is speculation that this includes a £2 billion rights issue. A further £3 billion could be raised in the bonds markets.

How a Warren Buffett Attitude Will Make you into a Better Investor Part Three!

Published 1628 days ago

Following on from my last article, a useful way of investing in shares, especially if you are just getting started, is to participate in your company’s share scheme. These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but the overall message for most that I have researched is that if you intend to stay with the company for years you should probably go for it.

How a Warren Buffett Attitude Will Make you into a Better Investor Part Two!

Published 1629 days ago

I received a decent response to my first article on the Great man so I’m going to write another one! Let’s look at how Warren Buffett views work, and how your attitude should be towards it now. After all, for most people doing paid employment will be the main method of funding for purchasing shares. Here’s a quote from the Sage of Omaha. “The truth is, so few people really jump on their jobs, you really will stand out more than you think. You will get noticed if you really go for it.”

Attending the Albion VCT Seminar Series Part One

Published 1642 days ago

On Monday 10th November I attended the Albion Venture Capital Trust seminar in Harrogate.  I also attended last year but I do not know that much about Venture Capital trusts. I’m set to inherit shares in one eventually though so I have to learn about them at some point. I also thought that it could give some insight into the competition some of my other shares will face. For example, Albion is quite into renewable energy, and both Centrica (CNA) and SSE (SSE) produce this. 

Need Some Fast Cash? Here's What Shares to Sell.

Published 1663 days ago

Hello Share Plinkers. Many of my colleagues on this website, led by Uncle Tom, put the knife into companies. That is brilliant. Because you will have found, I'm sure, that most commentators on other sites extol shares to high heaven.

Trinity Exploration & Production looks cheap when compared to its peers

Published 1692 days ago

Trinidad and Tobago focused oil companies are popular with private investors, but it looks like many are missing the value in one of those. Trinity Exploration and Production (TRIN) looks very undervalued when compared to its peers, with a market cap currently around £55 million. 

A Labour Government Would be Terrible for British Shares

Published 1698 days ago

Please note that this article is not meant to be an attack on any individual Labour supporter, but I believe the consequences of a Labour government for British shares would be terrible. Ed Miliband delighted the United Kingdom with his 65 minute speech yesterday. The word ‘together’ was used 51 times. I guess it sounds better than socialism.

National Grid – On the Radar screen to buy

Published 1713 days ago

National Grid (NG.) shares are currently trading at 914.5p with a yield of 4.6% and a PE of 13.77. And that makes the stock look interesting.

SSE is worth putting on your Watchlist!

Published 1730 days ago

SSE (SSE) shares are currently trading at 1497p offering a yield of 5.79% and on a PE of 11.9. The dividend is covered around one and a half times, and the company has a good track record of consistently increasing its dividends. Many of SSE’s senior figures have said that dividend payment is one of their main priorities.

Spread Bet Pick: Look out for berries and buy Centrica at 312.8p!

Published 1736 days ago

I last covered Centrica (CNA) in early February. I suggested it was a buy at 311p. This proved to be a profitable trade more quickly than I anticipated. Now that the share price is recovering from its latest drop, I have a slightly alternative indicator for going long; the explosion of berries growing in trees!


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