The Week Ahead: February 25 - March 3

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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.

Monday – February 25

● The civil trial over the Deepwater Horizon accident is due to start in New Orleans, nearly three years after the disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, writes Guy Chazan.

BP has said it is prepared to defend itself against claims by the US government, the Gulf states and private plaintiffs over the disaster, which occurred when a well it was drilling blew out, killing 11 men and triggering the worst oil spill in US history and a huge clean-up operation.

It has argued that the penalties it is likely to face should be far below the $20bn or more that some estimates have suggested.

The first phase of the trial will focus on the causes of the disaster, who should be held responsible and to what degree.

The second, which is scheduled to start in September, will determine how much oil was actually spilled in the Gulf. This is key to establishing the scale of penalties BP faces under the Clean Water Act, which are calculated on a per-barrel basis.

Earnings

Bovis Homes
FY 28.54p (17.50p)

Bunzl FY 70.23p (68.10p)

Dialight FY 40.90p (30.90p)

Domino’s Pizza Group
FY 21.29p (19.24p)

Hiscox FY 44.39p (5.30p)

Lowe’s Companies
Q4 $0.23 ($0.29)

Pearson FY 84.11p (86.50p)

Persimmon
FY 53.67p (35.04p)

PostNL Q4 €0.23 (€0.14)

Thorntons H1 (full year estimate) 3.40p (2.65p)

Trading and sales update

Associated British Foods

Tuesday – February 26

Earnings

BASF FY €5.35 (€6.25)

Croda International
FY 126.50p (120.40p)

Fresenius Medical
FY $3.69 ($3.51)

Goals Soccer Centres FY 14.07p (13.90p)

GKN FY 24.24p (20.78p)

Home Depot
Q4 $0.64 ($0.50)

Provident Financial
FY 101.03p (89.40p)

Redrow H1 11.13p (10.80p)

Robert Walters
FY 6.42p (12.70p)

Saks Q4 $0.15 ($0.17)

Vivendi €2.01 (€2.29)

Trading and sales update

Whitbread

Wednesday – February 27

●As Boeing copes with technical problems on the 787 Dreamliner, its European rival’s parent, EADS, will be updating the market on the extent to which Airbus has reduced losses related to its own wide-body woes – namely, the wing cracks on the A380, writes Rose Jacobs.

When full-year results are released, investors will be keeping a close eye on the A380 costs as well as the commercial jet division’s volume growth, given both are key to the parent company hitting its 2015 operating margin target of 10 per cent.

Analysts are forecasting a 4.5 per cent margin for 2012. Consensus forecasts show earnings outpacing revenues, with net income rising nearly 80 per cent to €1.48bn compared with sales increasing 12 per cent to €55bn.

The dividend is forecast at 62 cents, paid out of earnings per share of €1.90, nearly double 2011’s €1.02.

Earnings

Anheuser-Busch InBev
Q4 $1.30 ($1.18)

Ambev Q4 n/a (n/a)

Barratt Developments
H1 (full year estimate) 13.62p (8.00p)

Bouygues FY €2.11 (€2.95)

Capital Shopping Centres FY n/a (n/a)

Carillion
FY 41.48p (42.70p)

Centrica FY 26.94p 25.60p

Dollar Tree Stores
Q4 $0.99 ($0.80)

EADS Q4 €0.69 (€0.61)

Esprit Holdings
H1 HK$3.97 (HK$4.72)

Henderson Group
FY 12.02p (12.40p)

Holcim Q4 SFr0.86 (-0.07)

Interserve
FY 45.04p (48.00p)

ITV FY 8.68p (7.90p)

Oxford Biomedica
FY -0.93 (-1.01)

Petrofac $1.85 ($1.57)

Synectics FY 23.40p 16.20p

Target Q4 $1.48 ($1.43)

TJX Cos Q4 $0.81 ($0.62)

Weir Group
FY 147.76p 132.20p

Trading and sales update

Chemring Group

Shareholder meeting

Gooch & Housego

Thursday – February 28

Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms group, is expected to report group fourth-quarter revenues of €14.6bn and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of about €4bn, writes Daniel Thomas.

It is expecting falls in both owing to worsening economic conditions, pressures on its US business and the need to make domestic investments in its mobile operations.

The US is likely to be a weakness in its results given aggressive competition from the country’s largest rival groups, with the lack of an iPhone 5 on the books of its T-Mobile USA unit making it hard for it to compete during the year.

The weakness in reported earnings is not expected to cause any material changes to guidance for 2013 at the group level, however, and there is likely to be news on a deal to sell Apple products at T-Mobile USA and an update on progress on the MetroPCS merger.

Royal Bank of Scotland has perhaps already put the most difficult headlines it will make in 2013 behind it, writes Jennifer Thompson.

This month the bank paid £390m to regulators in the UK and US in a
high-profile settlement over the bank’s manipulation of interest rates.

Analysts at Credit Suisse forecast a pre-tax loss of £4.4bn when the bank reports its full-year results.

But the big question behind the numbers is the progress the state-backed bank is making in its huge restructuring, a programme involving retrenchment in investment banking and the rundown of assets deemed “non-core”, as a precursor to the UK government disposing of its 82 per cent stake.

A recent call by David Cameron, the UK prime minister, for reform to be accelerated at the bank highlighted the government’s desire to reduce the state’s involvement in RBS.

Earnings

ACS Q4 €0.79 (€0.68)

Ahold Q4 €0.25 (€0.25)

Bayer FY €5.44 (€4.83)

Barnes & Noble Q3 $0.54 ($0.99)

Best Buy Q4 n/a (n/a)

British American Tobacco FY 206.7p (194.60p)

Capita FY 51.46p (48.38p)

Deutsche Telecom FY €0.65 (€0.66)

Direct Line Insurance FY 14.80p (n/a)

Erste Group Bank FY €1.44 (€0.86)

Gap Q4 $0.71 ($0.44)

GDF Suez FY €1.56 (€1.59)

Hays H1 (full year estimate) 4.69p (5.37p)

Keir Group H1 (full year estimate) 128.91p (154.00p)

Kohl’s Q4 $1.63 ($1.81)

Luxxotica FY €1.26 (€0.98)

MAN Group
FY $0.08 ($0.11)

National Express
FY 23.83p (26.90p)

Reed Elsevier
FY 49.98p (44.77p)

Royal Bank of Scotland
FY 17.38p (57.00p)

Tesco Q4 16.86p (17.55p)

Thales FY €2.69 (€2.47)

Repsol FY €1.59 (€2.18)

Telefónica Q4 €0.29 (€0.41)

Veolia Environnement
FY €0.41 (€0.58)

Xchanging FY 9.38p (7.99p)

Trading and sales updates

Iliad

Kazakhmys

Friday – March 1

●It will not be just shareholders in WPP, the world’s largest advertising group by revenues, who will be closely watching the company as it reports its full-year results, writes Rob Budden.

As a bellwether for the health of the global economy, investors from well beyond the advertising sector will be looking for positive signs for economic growth. For the full year, consensus analyst expectations are for revenues of £10.4bn – up 3.6 per cent over the year – with the group’s heavier exposure to Europe offsetting faster growth in Asia and Latin America.

In October, WPP cut its full-year like-for-like sales growth expectations from 3 per cent to 2.5 per cent following a downturn in the third quarter. The company cited reduced advertising spending by clients concerned over the US budget deficit and the global economic slowdown. Operating profits will come in at £1.41bn, according to consensus expectations.

Earnings

Hammerson FY 19.81p (19.30p)

Laird FY 18.68p (16.30p)

Lloyds Banking Group 2.54p (5.02p)

Old Mutual FY 17.34p (17.94p)

Rightmove FY 60.09p (48.86p)

Taylor Wimpey FY 4.03p (3.31p)

UBM FY 57.57p (56.78p)

William Hill
FY 28.25p (23.90p)

WPP 72.65p (67.70p)

Trading and sales update

Stagecoach Group

Shareholder meeting

Sage Group

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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