Diary commentary from FT reporters; data and company announcements, unless otherwise stated, from Thomson Reuters. Company announcements are of information publicly available before last week.
Cranswick H1 (FY estimate) 79.16p (78.70p)
Essar Energy H1 (FY estimate) $0.18 (-$0.13)
UBC Media H1 (FY estimate) -0.60p (-0.56)
Trading and sales update
● Hewlett-Packard investors will be hoping the PC maker sticks to its forecasts when it announces its earnings, with memories of last quarter’s stumble still fresh in their minds, writes Hannah Kuchler.
Meg Whitman, the chief executive charged with turning around the US technology conglomerate, abandoned her forecast for a return to revenue growth at the last earnings announcement, disappointing the market that has sent shares up almost 100 per cent in the past year.
But she said at an analyst meeting in October that falling sales should at least stabilise in 2014 and offered up a sweetener by promising to return more money to shareholders.
Nearly halfway through a five-year turnround, revenue is predicted to fall 7.6 per cent to $111bn this year, according to the average analyst estimate.
HP is expected to report full-year earnings per share of $3.55, compared with a net loss per share of $6.41 last year.
● There has been a changing of the creative and commercial executive guard at Tiffany & Co, writes Elizabeth Paton.
The September appointment of new design director Francesca Amfitheatrof was swiftly followed by the promotion of Frederic Cumenal to president, who also took up a newly created seat on the board.
These moves came amid Tiffany’s shift to consolidate its global operational and expansion strategies after particularly buoyant sales in Asia and the Middle East. Both came to the brand with extensive international experience from premium luxury rivals.
However, the exit last week of company veteran and chief financial officer Patrick McGuinness in the run-up to Tiffany’s latest results was more unexpected, and the hunt for a successor is now on.
Still, with the share price soaring 43 per cent this year and sustained growth across markets and product categories, analysts seem confident of a better than expected quarter. Management raised its full-year forecast in August after beating both sales and profits estimates, and few believe that the recent executive musical chairs indicate unforeseen pressures or concerns.
The real challenge for Tiffany now will be generating sparkling returns from the critical forthcoming holiday period. Wall Street will be keen to hear more on their seasonal outlook.
Barnes & Noble Q2 -$0.04 (-$0.04)
Britvic FY 33.62p (26.50p)
Hewlett-Packard Q4 $0.99 ($1.16)
Mitchells & Butlers FY 33.73p (30.20p)
Severn Trent H1 38.29p (47.20p)
Tiffany Q3 $0.58 ($0.49)
Topps Tiles FY 4.95p (5.07p)
● The remaining investors in Punch Taverns will be hoping for an update in its long-running spat with its bondholders when it reports its first-quarter update, writes Duncan Robinson.
The restructuring of its £2.3bn net debt has overshadowed the underlying performance of the group over the past 18 months.
The UK’s second largest pubco, by number of pubs, is expected to reveal flat net income growth, according to Panmure Gordon, with tenanted pubs continuing to struggle as the industry evolves away from the wet-led boozers that dominate Punch’s estate.
But last week rival Enterprise Inns returned to net income growth in the final quarter of its full-year results, as analysts suggested that the sector’s miserable period of trading was coming to an end.
Analysts at Panmure Gordon said that “there is too much risk to warrant owning the shares”. Punch’s market capitalisation of about £63m includes a £49m stake in drinks distributor Matthew Clark, leaving £14m of value for the owners of its two securitisation structures.
Compass FY 46.91p (42.40p)
Findel H1 (FY not available) 21.57p (0.77p)
Raiffeisen Bank Q3 €0.41 (€0.72)
Sberbank of Russia Q3 Rbs4.56 (Rbs4.05)
Shaftesbury FY 12.24p (12.10p)
United Utilities H1 43.14p (20.90p)
Trading and sales update
● Investors will focus on whether Kingfisher needs to spend more on discounting when the parent company of B&Q releases its third-quarter numbers, writes Duncan Robinson.
“One of the key controversies for the stock is to what extent further price investment will be necessary,” said Jamie Merriman, analyst at Bernstein.
Competition is intense in the UK as discount retail rivals such as B&M and The Range take pot shots at B&Q.
Mr Merriman said that a lack of overlap in terms of products meant that these discount retailers will not pose much of a threat.
A jump in UK house moves should aid the DIY retailer, although moves are still 25 per cent below the historic average, according to Deutsche Bank.
Kingfisher will also reveal what effect sluggish macroeconomic conditions in France have had on the DIY store’s performance. After a jump in French spending on DIY in July and August, DIY sales fell in the country during September, according to Bernstein.
Accordingly, France is expected to show slow growth. Deutsche Bank expects like-for-like sales to rise 0.3 per cent to £1.2bn.
By contrast, the UK and Ireland should post like-for-like sales growth of 1.6 per cent to £1.1bn, according to Deutsche Bank.
● This has been a year of transformation for Thomas Cook – a new strategy, a refinancing package and a new brand, writes Roger Blitz.
The tour operator’s strategy is based around two simple maxims – cut costs and streamline the business. Last week, there was further progress towards its £100m-£150m target from disposals, announcing it had sold its Airline Group stake for £38m and its forex business for £4.5m, and was outsourcing its escorted tours business.
So far so good. Next on chief executive Harriet Green’s agenda is a second wave of cuts, and more detail on the kind of tour business it will become. What, for example, does it say about the balance of package holidays and independent travel, how does it tackle the competition online, what new products will it unveil?
There may be more to say about capacity, brand consolidation, dynamic packaging, and targets from new product sales. Ms Green may also give some guidance on bond repayment schedules.
Consensus underlying operating profit is £245m against last year’s £156m, and underlying pre-tax profit is expected to come in at £103m (£12.7m in 2012).
Shares are off the year-high of 170p in August, but are still in a place unthinkable from this time two years ago and the nadir of bank renegotiations and near-collapse.
Marstons FY 12.40p (12.20p)
Pennon Group H1 25.28p (26.00p)
Thomas Cook Group FY 5.55p (-3.21)
Trading and sales updates
Results forecasts, from Thomson Reuters, are for fully diluted, post-tax EPS in local currency for the stated fiscal period. The comparable period of the previous year is bracketed. Non-UK reporting periods are broken by quarter: Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4. UK periods are designated: Q1, H1 (first half), Q3 and FY (full year). Thomson Reuters calculates mean earnings estimates based on a majority policy where the accounting basis used for each company estimate is that used by the majority of contributing analysts
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