The Week Ahead: Asos is set to strut its stuff overseas

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The Independent Online


The appetite for steel, globally, has shrunk as China's strong growth stutters.

But the shine hasn't come off International Ferro Metals (IFL) yet. The Aim-listed miner of ferrochrome, one of the ingredients in the making of stainless steel, announced growth at its Sky Chrome mine project recently and scribes at Numis rate it a buy with a target price of 35p ahead of its full-year results today.

Cailey Barker, broker at Numis, thinks it "continues to deliver on production and cost reductions, positioning itself down the cost curve, and the next few quarters will be key for the company."

But it is certainly not plain sailing. The ferrochrome market continues to show weakness and the South African mining sector remains "gloomy."

Barker added: "In short, the timing isn't ideal for IFL to be getting things right, but we remain hopeful for the future."

Results/Updates: Brady, Waterlogic, Allergy Therapeutics.


The US-inspired town of Milton Keynes might not be most people's first choice for a location to show the City just how great your business is.

But it worked for department store Debenhams earlier this month. John Stevenson, broker at Peel Hunt, liked the store and praised the retailer's focus on multi-channel and new store openings. He gives the stock a buy rating.

Scribes at Espirito Santo Investment Bank, equally enamoured with Debenhams' Buckinghamshire outpost, also think it is time to buy, giving the shares a price target of 95p.

Debenhams' trading update tomorrow will give investors guidance about how the full year will turn out and analysts estimate a profit of around £156m.

Results/Updates: JD Sports, Surgical Innovations, Wilmington, Corac.


Handing out style advice and supplying cheap versions of the latest trends have helped make online fashion company Asos a winner.

Investec analysts think it still has significant growth opportunities, and should continue to gain market share. Investec rates it a buy and gives it a new, 2,450p share price target.

At its fourth-quarter trading update on Wednesday, it is expected to be upbeat on overseas growth, but Peel Hunt analysts have reduced their rating to hold as they think next year will be a year of consolidation rather than huge growth.

Its recent share price rally means it is time to hold, they reckon. Peel Hunt reduced its share price target to 2,100p.

Nigeria and ballet dancer Darcey Bussell will be on the lips of PZ Cussons directors at its trading update on Wednesday.

Charles Pick at Numis thinks the soap maker will focus on emphasising that outside troubled Nigeria, trading is in line with expectations. Ms Bussell is the face of its The Sanctuary Spa brand, and investors will be looking to see if there are improved sales across its cosmetics and soap brands in the UK and Europe. Better trading in Australia is expected.

Results/Updates: Anpario, Cello Group, French Connection, Highland Gold Mining, Instem, Optimal Payments, Galliford Try, Origin Enterprises, Redrow, Smiths Group.


On Thursday it is time for the Mad Men – advertising firm M&C Saatchi – to reveal just what a good job they are doing.

The London-based firm is becoming increasingly global with new clients across the Middle East, Australia and South Africa, while the US is also a big focus.

Paul Richards, broker at Numis expects a profit before tax for the year of £8.6m and gives it a buy rating with a share price target of 213p.

Results/Updates: BrainJuicer, Moss Bros, Sphere Medical, Tawa, Ricardo, Imperial Tobacco, Porvair, United Utilities.


Synthetic fuels specialist Oxford Catalysts is back in favour with analysts ahead of its half-year results on Friday.

Analysts at Peel Hunt reckon that although there is still risk, the fact it has won new clients puts it in a much better position.

Peel Hunt's Andrew Shepherd-Barron upgraded it to buy, from sell, and set his share price target at 69p.

Results/Updates: Globo, Gleeson.

Economics Diary


Rightmove house prices; ONS house prices for July.


Consumer Price Index; Retail Price Index; Bank of England inflation letter.


Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee meeting minutes; Inflation Report hearings.


August UK retail sales; CBI industrial order expectations; speech by ECB President Draghi; US unemployment claims update.


UK public sector borrowing update.