Sheridan Admans, investment research manager at The Share Centre, gives his thoughts on what to expect from companies announcing results w/c 27 February 2012.

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Monday

Pearson (full year results)

Pearson raised profit guidance for the third time in January, so investors will be expecting a confident statement, especially from emerging markets, digital services and recent acquisitions. Its US business, which is the group’s largest, remains vulnerable to cost cutting from state education, so management thoughts on its future performance there will be key.

We currently list Pearson as a BUY

Companies also reporting today include Associated British Foods (trading statement) – BUY, Bunzl (full year results) – BUY, Essar Energy (interim management statement) – HOLD

Tuesday

Companies reporting today include Whitbread (trading statement) – HOLD, GKN (full year results) – SELL, CRH (full year results) – HOLD, Serco (full year results) - HOLD

Wednesday

International Consolidated Airlines Group (full year results)

As the group battles to keep its market leading position from no-frill rivals, investors will seek a progress update on the launch of the new budget carrier, Iberia Express, which was hindered by pilot strikes in Spain. Recent challenges to the proposed takeover of BMI are also key in the group’s strategy for tackling competition.

A challenging 2011 for consumer and business confidence is likely to be reflected in International Consolidated Airlines Group’s full year results. Investors will be looking for some indication of when the company might expect to start paying a dividend.

We currently list International Consolidated Airlines Group as a HOLD

Standard Chartered (full year results)

Comments on the health of emerging markets will be of interest for investors. The market will be hoping for improvement in Korea and India, which were poor in the last figures. There has also been concern over its growing cost base. The group had been hinting that it was benefitting from the European situation, so further signs of this will be worth noting.

We currently list Standard Chartered as a BUY

Companies also reporting today include Carillion (full year results) – BUY, ITV (full year results) – BUY, Weir (full year results) - HOLD

Thursday

Man Group (full year results)

Long suffering investors will be keeping their fingers crossed for signs of optimism from management. They will also be hoping that the recent trend of a slowing in funds leaving the group is maintained. Comments on the dividend policy are another item to focus on.

We currently list Man Group as a BUY

Spirent (preliminary results)

Investors will be looking for further evidence that Spirent continues to capitalise on its total accessible market, strong revenue and profit growth, as a result of growth in the network equipment, satellite navigation and mobile handset markets. Spirent’s geographic diverse customer base should have helped to steer it though a tough trading year in 2011 and support it well into 2012. Demand should also see support from newer technologies such as Cloud Computing.

We currently list Spirent as a BUY

Companies also reporting this week include Kazakhmys (trading statement_ - BUY, Howden Joinery (full year results) – HOLD, WPP (full year results) - HOLD

Friday

Companies reporting today include IMI (full year results) – HOLD

Economic Diary

Economic announcements for the w/c 27 February 2012

28 February, US Consumer Confidence, February – Conference Board

Last month the US consumer confidence index dipped, falling from 64.8 to 61.1. The fall was greeted with disappointment by the markets and went against the grain of otherwise quite promising data on the US economy. However, the index was much lower last autumn, falling to just 40.9 in October. Did the February index improve, confirming the positive developments seen elsewhere?

1 March, Manufacturing PMIs for February, for UK – Markit/CIPS

Last month the PMI for UK manufacturing covering January was promising. The index rose from 49.7, passing the critical no change mark of 50, hitting 52.1, the highest reading in eight months. The output balance was 55.8, consistent with a growth rate of 1% in UK manufacturing. Unfortunately, the new export index fell sharply, dropping from 53.4 to 51. It seems unlikely UK manufacturing’s recovery will continue if new export orders remain weak for very long. What tale will today’s data tell?

Other economic announcements include:

28 February

• Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey – CBI

• US Advance Report on Durable Goods, January – Census

• US Consumer Confidence, February – Conference Board

29 February

• US Gross Domestic Product, Q4 (preliminary) – BEA

• Lending to Individuals, January – Bank of England

• Sectoral Breakdown of Aggregate M4 and M4 Lending, January – 2012-02-22

• EU inflation (HICP), January – Eurostat

1 March

• US Personal Income, January – BEA

• EU unemployment, January – Eurostat

• Flash Estimate Euro area inflation, February – Eurostat

• Manufacturing PMIs for February, for UK – Markit/CIPS, US – ISM, euro-area – Markit

2 March

• Construction PMI, February – Markit/CIPS

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