The Week Ahead: Greene King tipped to shake off snow

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The big pub fight between landlords and their tenants saw Vince Cable wading in last week. The Business Secretary revealed rules to prevent giant pub companies from abusing their power over their tenants. Greene King is one of the pub groups covered by the new code. But today's interest will be in how well Greene King is performing rather than on its relationship with tenants. Douglas Jack at Numis expects the full year to see brewing profits fall 14 per cent, in line with the half-year results. After the trading statement today Mr Jack predicts he will hold his forecasts, which he thinks is a "positive result under the circumstances" of "snow in January and cold weather in February and March". He rates the shares an add with a 710p price target.

Results/Updates: Aberdeen Asset Management, Egdon Resources, Williams Grand Prix, Greene King, Jazztel.


The online fashion group Asos can do no wrong. It trades on a whopping multiple of 45 times 2015 earnings but its growth appears unstoppable. The UK business is mature but the real excitement is about its overseas expansion and new initiatives. Its half-year update tomorrow should reveal more detail of its expansion into Russia and China. Numis's retail expert Andrew Wade expects it to report a pre-tax profit of £27m, up 18 per cent.

Results/Updates: Asos, Imperial Tobacco, Harvey Nash, Media Corporation, Puricore, Whitbread, BP, Carphone Warehouse, Ensco, Lloyds Banking, National Express, Stagecoach, Willis, Wolfson Microelectronics.


Home Retail's Argos and Homebase brands are all about offering their shoppers value for money, but the group's shares have failed on this front, according to Numis' scribbler Matthew Taylor. He "views the stock as expensive at 16 times 2013 earnings versus the sector on 14 times". Argos has been boosted by the sale of tablets and "white goods and core electricals". But Mr Taylor thinks Argos will struggle again "once the tablet boom fades". He gives it a reduce rating with a 125p price target.

The Glasgow-based oil services engineer Weir Group is not letting the falling oil price faze it. It has been upping its exposure to the mining and minerals market with agreements of £750m. Jefferies analysts rate it a hold with a 2,500p price target.

Results/Updates: Antofagasta, Avon Rubber, Carillion, Daisy Group, Delphi Automotive, Henderson, Home Retail, Kerry, Kofax, Meggitt, Novae, Seagate Technology, Weir.


When it comes to the oil and gas player BG Group all you need to know is the difference between the US Henry hub natural gas price and the price of cargoes sold linked to the Brent oil price. Bank of America Merrill Lynch's oil experts think that this is the "driver of BG's profitability in liquefied natural gas". They think the fact the LNG spot price in Asia has come down and the risks in Egypt means the "consensually bullish view on the LNG market" should be questioned. They have cut their earnings per share estimate by 2 per cent and reduced the price target to 1,250p. It rates it neutral ahead of its first-quarter results on Thursday.

Results/Updates: Avocet Mining, BG, British Sky Broadcasting, Howden Joinery, Lancashire, Legal & General, Millennium & Copthorne, Randgold Resources, Rolls-Royce, Royal Dutch Shell, RPS, RSA Insurance, Schroders, Shire, Smith & Nephew, Sopheon.


Last week the big bank updates began with Barclays. On Wednesday, Lloyds will update on its first quarter with the City expecting it to talk about its cost cutting and analysts expecting the bank to return to modest profitability in the first quarter.

On Friday it is Royal Bank of Scotland's turn. The perennial bear Ian Gordon at Investec thinks that "despite five years of heavy losses between 2008-2012" he still only expects "a weak attributable profit of £0.1bn" for the first quarter at the state-owned bank. He forecasts the core pre-tax profit of £1.8bn but non-core to have lost £0.6bn. Mr Gordon retains his hold rating for the bank with a 300p price target.

Results/Updates: Capital & Counties, Direct Line Insurance, Inmarsat, Laird, Man, Mondi, Phoenix, Rentokil Initial, Royal Bank of Scotland, Smurfit Kappa.