The week ahead: House prices put focus on builders


This week housebuilders take centre stage from the retailers who dominated last week. There are still a few retailers in the pipeline but it's time to concentrate on house prices. Last week Persimmon, Galliford Try and Bellway Homes told us that new homes are still being snapped up despite a drop in house prices and this week Taylor Wimpey, Barratt and Bovis Homes give us their take. Taylor Wimpey had a good 2012 – shares jumped more than 80 per cent since the start of January last year and Panmure Gordon rates them a hold.

Results/Updates: Greene King, Evraz.


The luxury goods sector has our attention tomorrow when British brand Burberry tells us how trading is going. The group's shares had a bumpy ride last year. They lost nearly 20 per cent in September after a profits warning and fears of a slowdown from lucrative Chinese shoppers. But the shares picked up in November when it issued forecast-beating results. Analysts at Nomura think Burberry is "one of the highest return-on-capital operators within the luxury space" and they think it still has plenty of scope for global expansion. Investors used to view the brand as expensive in valuation terms but Nomura's followers of fashion think that now the group is trading at 17 times its March 2014 estimates it is "beginning to drive a more attractive valuation of the shares". Nomura predicts it will report a small uptick in sales with revenues at £599m in the third quarter, up 4.3 per cent on a year-on-year comparative basis.

Results/Updates: Ashmore, Charlemagne Capital, Energy Assets Group, Dragon Oil, Halfords, Intermediate Capital Group, IG Group, Michael Page, Ocado, Rio Tinto, Smiths News, Spirit Pub Group.


After Greene King's update today, and Spirit Group's tomorrow, we can carry on contemplating pubs on Wednesday when it is JD Wetherspoon's turn to update the market. Liberum Capital's Patrick Coffey is buying a round at Greene King but calling time at Wetherspoon. He likes Greene King's London exposure and food-led growth and he rates it a buy with a 709p target price. But Wetherspoon's is a sell, with a 449p share-price target as Mr Coffey is concerned about "margin-pressure, high-street footfall decline, high-operational gearing" and its focus on drinks, rather than food. More than 60 per cent of the analysts who cover Wetherspoon's rate the stock a hold, so a weak update on Wednesday will push more toward recommending selling.

Results/Updates: Barratt Developments, Bloomsbury Publishing, N Brown, Diploma, Ebiquity, Experian, C&C Group, Fenner, Jupiter Fund Management, Majedie Investments, Stobart Group.


African Barrick Gold's shares were hammered last week when talks between parent company Barrick Gold to sell its 75 per cent stake to China National Gold ended. Shares fell 20 per cent. Bank of America Merrill Lynch thinks the sell-off has been overdone and the "valuation is too cheap", adding that in the long term there is scope for mergers and acquisition growth. On Thursday it posts fourth-quarter numbers which Bank of America thinks will be an improvement on the previous quarter.

Results/Updates: Associated British Foods, Aberdeen Asset Management, Asos, Booker Group, Computacenter, Dixons Retail, Home Retail Group, Mothercare, NCC, Premier Oil.


Analysts expect Bovis Homes to report strong levels of new sites for housebuilding and analysts at Panmure Gordon rate it a buy with a share-price target of 622p. Results/Updates: Record.

Economics Diary


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors House Price Balance


Bank of England Inflation Letter, Consumer Price Index, PPI Input, Retail Price Index, CB Leading Index.


UK Retail Sales, US Housing Market Index, US Crude Oil Inventories, US Beige Book.


US Inflation Report Hearings, US Building Permits; US Unemployment Claims; US Housing Starts.


UK Retail Sales Index, 30-year, UK bond auction.

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