Next week will see traders return to their desks in full-force following the long Thanksgiving Day holiday in the United States. Foremost on their minds will be two things, the most recent survey data for US retailers out over this past weekend and Monday evening's meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, the so-called Eurogroup. The former will help them gauge the health of the US consumer heading into the critical Holiday shopping season, while the latter may see a deal on Greece finally achieved. Certainly, that is the hope. In the UK, ONS will release its preliminary estimate of first quarter gross domestic product growth (Consensus: 1.0% quarter-on-quarter).
Meantime and on the corporate front, Utilities will be the flavour of the week, with first half results due out from Severn Trent (on Tuesday) and United Utilities (on Wednesday).
Analyst Tina Cook at Charles Stanley is forecasting a 4% increase in revenues, to £920m, for the former; driven by the regulated water business. Challenging market conditions at SVT Services (risk of further deterioration) and higher costs at SVT Water are expected to result in slightly lower profits before interest and tax (PBIT) of £267m (-3%). Profit before tax (PBT) is seen coming in broadly flat at £157m. Dividends per share (DPS) are seen growing at an 8% pace to 30.3p, in line with the current policy of 3% real growth per annum to 2015.
The next day will see United Utilities weigh in with its own half yearly figures. Revenue is expected to be around +5% higher at £835m as a result of allowed regulatory price rises offset by customer switching and lower commercial volumes. Here too profits before tax (PBT) are seen coming in broadly flat at £188m (+2%). DPS growth of +7% to 11.4p is expected.
Thursday will see Kingfisher release its third quarter interims, from which investors will try to glean information on the state of the UK economy. Ironically, the company's results may be more indicative of the state of affairs in the Eurozone, given its exposure to France.
Thus, analysts at UBS expect the company's third quarter profits before taxes to have reached £265m, down by approximately 3% on last year. The consensus estimate is for £255m. Group like-for-like sales (LFL) is expected to be -2%. UK profit is expected to be ahead by 10%, but France down 8% (all from currency) and International sales off by more-or-less 5%. Poland zloty profit is expected to be down modestly but with the last of the big currency hits.
Be that as it may, the broker does add that: "macro weakness in France suggests the near-term forecast risk remains on the downside. However, from here, gross margin gains should accelerate, especially if plans to reinvest close to 50% of supply-chain gains into the offer are reined back as a result of weaker market conditions and a general pull-back in competitive activity."
Also to watch out for in the Utilities sector, the long awaited Energy Bill is expected to be published next week, with a further announcement on 'gas strategy' in the Autumn Statement by George Osborne. While the main market impact is expected to be on stocks with electricity generating capacity (or plans to build it), analysts at Seymour Pierce think it will have little impact on shares -despite speculation in the press to the contrary. Amongst the potentially affected stocks are: Centrica, Drax Group, National Grid and SSE.
Monday November 26
GB Group, Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings, Quintain Estates & Development
Espirito Santo Financial Group SA
Aberdeen Asset Management, Infrastrata
Aisi Realty Public Ltd. (DI), Origin Enterprises, West Pioneer Properties Ltd. (DI)
Tuesday November 27
Caledonia Investments, De La Rue, Findel, KCOM Group, Naspers Ltd. ADR, Plastics Capital, Scapa Group, Severn Trent
Clean Energy Brazil, Inland Homes, JPMorgan Smaller Companies Inv Trust, St Ives, Thor Mining
UK ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
GDP (output, income & expenditure) (09:30)
Index of Services (09:30)
FINAL DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Close Brothers Group, Third Point Offshore Investors Ltd. EUR Shares, Third Point Offshore Investors Ltd. GBP Shares, Third Point Offshore Investors Ltd. USD Shares
Wednesday November 28
Advanced Computer Software Group, Assura Group Ltd., Creston, Daisy Group, Telford Homes, United Utilities Group, VP
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Konami Corp., Restore
INTERIM EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Amec, Anglo Pacific Group, Castings, Clean Energy Brazil, E2V Technologies, Hansa Trust, Hansa Trust 'A' Non Voting Shares, Helical Bar, Intermediate Capital Group, JD Sports Fashion, Johnson Matthey, Mckay Securities, MS International, National Grid, Sepura, Tate & Lyle, Telecom Plus, Young & Co's Brewery 'A' Shares, Young & Co's Brewery (Non-Voting)
QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
Anglogold Ashanti Ltd., Canaccord Financial Inc., Energy XXI (Bermuda) (Di), Molex Inc., Molex Inc. 'A' Shares, Premier Energy & Water Trust
AIREA, Allocate Software, Impax Asian Environmental Markets, JPMorgan Global Markets Emerging Income Trust, Kier Group
FINAL EX-DIVIDEND DATE
A&J Mucklow Group, Daily Mail and General Trust 'Ord' Shares, Daily Mail and General Trust A (Non.V), Diploma, Dunelm Group, Games Workshop Group, GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd, JPMorgan Japanese Inv Trust, Northern Venture Trust, Smart (J) & Co., St Ives, Standard Life Equity Income Trust, Utilitywise
Thursday November 29
API Group, Dixons Retail , Hogg Robinson Group, Mountview Estate, PayPoint, Pennon Group, Phoenix IT Group, WYG
INTERIM DIVIDEND PAYMENT DATE
Moss Bros Group, Prime People
QUARTERLY EX-DIVIDEND DATE
INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ANNOUNCEMENTS
Bloomberg Consumer Confidence (US) (14:45)
Business Climate Indicator (EU) (10:00)
Continuing Claims (US) (13:30)
Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU) (10:00)
GDP (Preliminary) (US) (13:30)
Initial Jobless Claims (US) (13:30)
Pending Homes Sales (US) (15:00)
PMI Retail (GER) (08:55)
Unemployment Rate (GER) (08:55)
Avia Health Informatics, Baillie Gifford Japan Trust, Berkeley Resources Ltd. (DI), BlackRock Greater Europe Inv Trust, Harbourvest Senior Loans Europe Ltd., Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI), Red Rock Resources, Victoria Oil & Gas, Wolseley
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