The Week Ahead: After Morrisons’ disastrous results, investors will be watching Sainsbury’s closely


George Osborne’s fifth budget on Wednesday will dominate financial news this week, but there’s also a strong crop of companies reporting.

The first big numbers come from Sainsbury tomorrow, in the form of fourth-quarter trading figures. After Morrisons’ disastrous results last week, investors will be watching Sainsbury’s closely to see if Morrisons was a straggler or an indication of broader supermarket health.

Jefferies is expecting a 2.5 per cent fall in Sainsbury’s sales and warns that it is most vulnerable to competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl.

Spirit Pub Company serves up its first half trading numbers on Tuesday. Last time we heard from the pub group it reported strong Christmas trading and Numis is predicting more good news, pointing to a 4.3 per cent rise in sales in the first 20 weeks of the period.

Chilean-based copper miner Antofagasta will also deliver its full-year report tomorrow. Investec predicts earnings before exceptional costs of $2.7bn (£1.6bn).

The Aim-listed fashion retailer Asos will update investors on trading tomorrow. Sheridan Admans at The Share Centre highlights US sales figures and news on expansion in China and Russia as the key things to look out for.

Wednesday sees second-quarter figures from the engineer Smiths Group. Shareholders will be looking to see if divisions such as defence and healthcare have been hit by government cuts and hoping for more news on the sale of its medical devices business.

The retail goliath Next will lift the lid on how it’s been trading in the past three months on Thursday. Merrill Lynch expects good news, predicting pre-tax profit above consensus thanks to online strength and benefits from the recovering housing market.

The advertising group M&C Saatchi’s full-year figures come out on Thursday. The house broker, Numis, is bullish, predicting a pre-tax profit of £18.5m.

The up-market estate agent Savills and stylish high-street regular Ted Baker will both deliver preliminary numbers on Thursday.