Tesco’s Share Price Stalls As Investors Await Bids for Asian Chains

Tesco’s share price, which had been on the uptick after data showed that its Christmas sales outstripped that of its competition, has stalled after the proposed sale of its Asian chain is starting to face increased scrutiny.
Tesco, which is the UK’s largest retail supermarket chain, had announced in December that it was proposing to sell its Asian supermarket chain. At valuations of $7bn, the precious Asian supermarket chains in Thailand and Malaysia immediately became the subject of interest from at least three Thai billionaires, giving a boost to the Tesco share price.
Bids for the first round are due to open this week, but the Thai Office of Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) has indicated that it would not approve any deals that put too much market share in the hands of one player.
Shareholders have reason to be wary, as the OTCC has a two-step approval process which means that any bids that pass the first stage of the approvals may not necessarily make it beyond the second. This may explain why investors and traders may have adopted a “wait-and-see” approach and decided to take some profits off the table as they await the outcome of the bidding process.

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Technical Outlook for Tesco Share Price

After breaking out of the symmetrical triangle, Tesco share price hit a high of 260.40, approaching lows seen in Q3 2018 when the Tesco share price was at its highest levels in 3 years. The recent Tesco share price surge marks the 2nd highest level the company’s stock has been since 2015. 

The pullback from the multiple role-reversed price levels that form the current resistance touched off the upper border of the triangle in the week ended Jan 13, 2020. However, the broken triangle border held well in its role-reversed function as new support. Price is now trading above that border at 247.0. 

This week could see muted price action as investors await the outcome of this week’s bidding process. Positive signals from the Thai OTCC could prompt renewed interest in the stock, which may take it back to the recently tested resistance. However, only a successful sale would see the stock price accelerate beyond the resistance levels at 254.8 and 267.1 to aim for the April and June 2014 lows at 277.8. Further resistance lies at 319.90 (previous Q4 2013/Q1 2014 lows and the prior high of the week ended May 19 2014). 

On the flip side, negative signals from the OTCC (i.e. failure to approve the bids or the entire sales process) could impact the Tesco share price negatively, with a selloff that could push price all the way down to 219.5 or even the Jan 2018 and Dec 2018 lows of 194.1.  

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Tesco share price chart

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