The Week Ahead: Morrisons set to impress but future looks stormy

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It may be lagging in the battle for supermarket supremacy, but WM Morrison Supermarkets is expected to post impressive profits in its interims next week. Analysts are predicting a bullish pre-tax profit consensus range of £187m to £234m despite weakening sales, but some are predicting storm clouds ahead.

Evolution Securities, which is backing a 50 per cent bump in returns, said the group had long-term strategic issues. It said the company was a distant fourth to Tesco in a sector that will only become more challenging. "First-half profits might surprise on the upside because of good management of costs and margins, but management is likely to flag a more difficult trading environment," it said.

TODAY: It has been a volatile summer for Burren Energy. The oil group hit a year peak of 878p in July before slumping to 725p weeks later. The subsequent rally saw it close up on Friday at 853p. The group put out a trading statement in July, flagging a first-half production increase of 14 per cent, and analysts are expecting solid numbers. Evos expects pre-tax profits of $156m. "Burren is an ideal mix of self-financing production and exploration upside. Either the market recognises this or a predator will take advantage," it said. Investors will be eager to hear updates on four exploration wells planned for the second half of the year.

There was welcome news for Silverjet last week as it took delivery of its third airplane. The business-only carrier's shares have taken a beating this year, and the market is not overly confident of its interims. Since the summer the shares have tanked after the company delayed the launch of a second service between the UK and the US and announced it was to drop its charter operation next month. The group could update the market on the rumoured tie-up with one of the bigger European carriers to break into the Heathrow to New York market.

Results: Full year – Ricardo, Silverjet. First half – ACP Capital; Burren Energy; CLS Holdings; Dragon Oil; Econergy; Energetics Group; Gyrus; Lighthouse Group; Raven Mount; Unite Group.

TOMORROW: Altium Securities hopes positive momentum indicated at the AGM will be reflected in Bloomsbury Publishing's interims. The indication is that the last Harry Potter book will drive a "substantial profit spike," and, despite reservations, Altium concluded that the share price had fallen too far given the possibility of further earnings momentum and its cash pile.

Takeover chat means that most brokers are conflicted out of commenting on Resolution's results, but they are not expected to provide too many surprises. Keefe Bruyette & Woods forecasts operating profit of £277m, and unsurprisingly expects merger talk to dominate the results presentation.

Results: Full year – Albemarle & Bond Holdings; Allergy Therapeutics; Finsbury Foods; Macro 4; Sirdar. First half – Arbuthnot Banking Group; Atrium Underwriting; Babcock & Brown; Bloomsbury Publishing; Hochschild Mining; Independent News & Media; Resolution; SCIS; SMG; Telit Communications; Venture Production.

WEDNESDAY: The wet summer has been a thorn in the side of much of UK plc this year, but one unexpected beneficiary could be Woolworths Group. It has updated the market that sales were up in July, although it added that the comparatives with last year were soft, what with the World Cup and extremely hot weather. Apparently in cold weather, people stay in and eat sweets. The interims, which will cover the half year to 4 August, are expected to show a boost in like-for-like sales, although it admitted that the company still faces a period of "considerable operational change and challenge for the business".

Moneysupermarket.com is reporting its maiden results next week. Since listing in the most high-profile flotation of the summer, the stock has yo-yoed violently. It settled at the end of last week pretty much at the price it listed.

There was little indication of expectations, but when it initiated coverage UBS said it expected structural trends to continue to drive revenue growth. The broker forecast at the time that revenue growth would be 47 per cent for the year.

Results: Full year – Ascribe; Dunelm; Just Retirement; Ultimate Leisure Group. First half – ArmorGroup International; Atlantic Global; Autoclenz Holdings; Capital & Regional; Climate Exchange; Concurrent Technologies; Development Securities; FDM Group; Ferrexpo; Global Energy Development; Inion; Moneysupermarket.com; Whatman; Woolworths Group.

THURSDAY: While Kingfisher is expected to reveal a slight increase in pre-tax profits, Evos predicted disappointment ahead for the group. It downgraded its pre-tax forecasts, citing a weakness in the UK DIY market. It added that questions should be asked of the management and strategy.

Results: Full year: Amstrad; Primary Health Properties. First half – Acertec; Cineworld; Huntsworth; Kingfisher; WM Morrisons Supermarkets; Premier Oil; Real Good Food Company; Skypharma; Speymill Group; Velti.

FRIDAY: Results: Full year – Centaur Media; Wilmington Group. First half – Cape; Corac Group; Inspicio.

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