The Week Ahead: Intertek a winner in horse-meat stakes

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The Independent Online

Have you backed one of the winners following the horse-meat scandal? Beneficiaries include local butchers and vegetarian brand Quorn. But if you have shares in a certain safety inspector you are onto a good thing too. Intertek has been able to boast about its "state-of –the-art lab facilities" that are staffed by "world-class experts". Checking for equine DNA makes a change from tests on children's pyjamas or fire doors. Food testing is only 2 per cent of the business, but WH Ireland's analysts reckon the "horse-meat scandal is an example of the intense public concern about product integrity" which is helping Intertek perform so well. Today Intertek updates shareholders on its full-year results. Analysts at Berenberg Bank reckon it will report strong, organic growth with earnings of £335m – up 19 per cent on the previous year. They also predict an upbeat view about the "state of the industry and the structural drivers powering its growth".

Results/Updates: Advanced Computer Software, Amlin, British Polythene Industries, CLS, City of London Investment, FBD, Foreign & Colonial, Intertek, HSBC, Keller, Sagentia, Ultra Electronics.


Last week, the world's largest commodity trader confirmed its appetite for iron ore when it started stake building in Brazilian producer Ferrous. Tomorrow Glencore will report its full-year results. The long-awaited, $80bn (£53bn) merger with Xstrata will complete by 15 March. Liberum Capital's scribblers said they continue to favour it "given their sector-leading cash-flow generation and upside potential from cost synergies and … streamlining".

Results/Updates: Abcam, Ashtead, Breedon Aggregates, Cupid, Glencore, Johnson Service Group, Meggitt, Michael Page,, John Menzies, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Pace, Paddy Power, PPHE Hotel, Regus, Rotork, Serco, Standard Chartered, Wood Group, Xstrata, 4imprint.


Insurers are in focus for the next few days. Admiral will report its final results on Wednesday while Aviva's come on Thursday. The share price of insurers was hit last month when RSA Insurance announced it would slash its dividend. Its shares fell more than 13 per cent and temporarily dragged Aviva down with it. Some analysts had expected good news for the insurance industry this year but Investec's Kevin Ryan said: "We do not buy the idea that a ban on legal referral fees will lower claims costs. Claims costs move upwards continually, it is an immutable law of insurance." Mr Ryan expects Admiral's 2012 results to be in line with expectations. He rates the stock a sell with a 582p price target.

Results/Updates: Admiral, Belgravium Technologies, Cape, Chime Communications, Costain, Dignity, International Personal Finance, easyJet, Legal & General, James Fisher, Lookers, Management Consulting Group, Melrose Industries, Ophir Energy, Sportech, Tarsus, Unite.


A batch of popular new films are likely to have helped cinema operator Cineworld. Les Miserables, Django Unchained and children's film Wreck-it Ralph are thought to have boosted the UK box office. Canaccord Genuity's Wayne Brown rates Cineworld a buy ahead of its results on Thursday with a 350p price target for the shares. He estimates earnings will come in at £65.4m. He admits that while the preliminary results "will not contain much by the way of new information, all eyes will be on current trading" which is predicted to be good.

Results/Updates: Aggreko, Aviva, Avocet Mining, Balfour Beatty, Betfair,Cineworld, Clarkson, Cobham, DS Smith, Communisis, Futura Medical, Grafton, Hardy Oil & Gas, H&T, Hunting, IMI, Nichols, Novae, Petropavlovsk, Schroders, SIG, Spirax-Sarco, Standard Life..


Numis' Andrew Wade, advisor to AGA, thinks the groups' pension-deficit problem is still a major factor in determining equity value. He has put his rating under review ahead of the final results on Friday. But he thinks next year could be warming up for the group as it makes "further bottom line progress".

Results/Updates: AGA Rangemaster, Headlam, Marshalls, SThree.

Economics Diary


Hometrack housing survey; Lloyds busness barometer; purchasing managers' index – construction.


British Retail Consortium February sales; purchasing managers' index – services.


British Retail Consortium shop price index; new car registrations.


Bank of England's MPC interest rate announcement; asset purchase target; ECB press conference; US bank stress-test results.


UK 30-year bond auction; consumer inflation expectations; US non-farm employment change and unemployment rate.