The Week Ahead: Afren shrugs off the Nigerian oil worries

A mismanaged and corrupt Nigerian oil and gas industry doesn't sound like a great place to invest. A report last year commissioned by the country's oil minister in the wake of fuel protests found just that, and more than £20bn was lost in the country in the last decade from oil theft and gas price fixing. So not the best country to drill for oil perhaps? Afren begs to differ.

On a quiet day for reporting in the City, investors will focus on the hunt for African oil. Mid-cap index oil explorer Afren will update on trading.

It has been stepping up oil production offshore from Nigeria, and investors will want to know how this is going. But punters have been concerned about its operations in Kurdistan, a risky area in which to operate that has been hit by political quarrels over the export of oil. Despite this, Morgan Stanley rates the stock overweight, or buy, and earlier this month raised its target price to 220p.

The oil sector has been the subject of bid rumours for months, with BG Group said to be a target, and some deal-hungry advisers have also mentioned Afren as a possible recipient of interest. But for now the group will be concentrating on stepping up production volumes and adding cash to its pile, which stood at more than $780m (£487m) in November.

Results/Updates: City of London Investment Group.

Tomorrow

London's stock exchange might seem a funny place for a Mexican silver miner. But Fresnillo happily nestles in the benchmark index alongside Russians, Kazakhs, South Africans and Ukrainians. Tomorrow it will reveal its fourth-quarter output. Its shares were this month hit by a fall in the silver price, and analysts at UBS cut their rating of the stock. But the silver price picked up last week and experts suggest the global economic outlook should push the it up further. Fresnillo has previously said it is on track for an annual output of 41 million ounces.

Better economic conditions have been helping beer maker SABMiller too. Analysts at Berenberg Bank expect sales growth will "probably continue to be robust" at around 5 per cent.

Results/Updates: Cairn Energy, Optos.

Wednesday

Investors were unsettled when those cads at the Office of Fair Trading decided last week that they needed a bit longer to look at Britvic and AG Barr's £1.4bn merger. Did the OFT have a particularly heavy new year? Maybe it should have stuck to Irn-Bru. Rather than decide by the end of the month, it now has until 13 February. Britvic will report on its first-quarter trade, and investors will be hoping the pain caused by its Fruit Shoot recall and the wet summer will be behind it.

Results/Updates: Abcam, BHP Billiton, Biome Technologies, Close Brothers, Findel, Hochschild Mining, Land Securities, Sage, WH Smith, Unilever.

Thursday

Defence contractor Chemring has been through it all – a collapse in demand, a new chief executive, takeover talks that came to nothing and a share price that has been consistently travelling in the wrong direction. New broom Mark Papworth, who joined in October, will present his strategic plan at the results on Thursday. Shareholders are hoping for better news in 2013.

Some traders still think Chemring could be a takeover target – Carlyle walked away in November – but any new suitor will wait until after the results. Analysts at Investec Securities reckon underlying pre-tax profit will have slumped 41 per cent to £70.8m in the latest two-month trading period. But the market knows the numbers will be bad, so it will be all about what Mr Papworth has to say. UBS analysts call it an "exciting restructuring story", and rate the shares a buy with a 360p share price target.

Results/Updates: APR Energy, easyjet, Emis, Fuller Smith & Turner, First Group, Carphone Warehouse, Invensys, London Mining, London Stock Exchange, Paypoint, St James's Place.

Friday

There is a new boss and a new strategy at mining giant Anglo American. Chief executive Mark Cutifani will start in April but Anglo has already embarked on a plan. It has outlined ideas for a strategic review of its South African platinum mines. Analysts at HSBC described the move as "a pragmatic, detailed and courageous plan." The group will update on production on Friday, and some analysts think it could be time to buy the shares as they lost more than 7 per cent last week.

Results/Updates: Brooks Macdonald, William Hill.

Economics Diary

Today

CBI.

Tomorrow

UK public-sector borrowing, CBI trends – total orders, selling prices, CBI Business Optimism Survey.

Wednesday

World Economic Forum annual meeting, unemployment data, average earnings, Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

Thursday

British Bankers' Association house purchase loans, CBI reported sales, US unemployment claims.

Friday

UK fourth-quarter GDP.

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
VIDEO
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Sampling wine in Turin
food + drink...and abstaining may be worse than drinking too much, says scientist
Arts & Entertainment
Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin has been working on the novels since the mid-Nineties
books
News
Easter a dangerous time for dogs
these are the new ones. Old ones are below them... news
News
Brand said he
people
Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
Sport
Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters
sport
Arts & Entertainment
The monster rears its head as it roars into the sky
film
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Telesales & Sales Support Apprentice

£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...

Client Relationship Manager - SQL, Python

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...

**Financial Services Tax**

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit