The Week Ahead: David Potts to set out stall at Morrisons

 

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The Independent Online

Morrisons’ new man will set out his stall for the first time this week, while investors will be keeping a close eye on the supermarket’s dividend.

The Tesco veteran David Potts replaced Dalton Philips as boss of WM Morrison late last month, and he will go before analysts and investors for the first time when the grocer delivers full-year figures on Thursday.

Most feel Mr Potts won’t have had enough time to draw up a full strategy, so attention will be focused elsewhere – namely the dividend. Barclays says: “We expect the 5 per cent increase promised for 2014-15 to be delivered, but expect a significant cut for future years.”

The advertising giant WPP has its finals on Monday and Gemfields, the gem producer, and the biotech company Abcam have half-year results. Esure is expected to follow its rival insurer Admiral in posting a fall in annual profits tomorrow. Numis forecasts a 14 per cent drop, due to rate reductions.

Panmure Gordon is pencilling in a 7 per cent rise in profit for the insurer Prudential when it reports annual figures on Tuesday. The broker believes the final dividend will be raised by 5.6 per cent, saying: “We think there is scope for a much larger increase in the dividend, [but] we think it’s unlikely this year”.

Cairn Energy, Grafton, G4S, Hill & Smith, Inchcape, Menzies, SDL and Tyman all have annual figures tomorrow. Close Brothers and Craneware have half-year figures.

Wednesday brings finals from Bwinparty, Centaur Media, Ferrexpo, Foxtons, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Michael Page, Polyus Gold and Servelec. N Brown has a fourth-quarter update.

Manufacturing and industrial production figures for January are also due, with HSBC predicting a slight rise in both.

On Thursday full-year figures are due from Cineworld, Computacenter, SIG, SOCO International, Stock Spirits and TT Electronics. Asos and Argos-owner Home Retail Group both have management updates.

The week comes to an end with finals from JD Wetherspoon and a management update from recruitment firm SThree. January construction output numbers are also due.

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