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Business Analysis & Features

The Week Ahead: Phoenix reports as analysts back boss

It is not the busiest start to the week, but one company reporting today is Phoenix IT, the scandal-hit computing firm which last year admitted it had uncovered accounting irregularities. There was more bad news in February when the group warned that earnings for the full-year would be about 10 per cent lower than the market was expecting, but Numis Securities's Will Wallis says the "lack of any year-end statement implied continuing comfort with this guidance" so he isn't expecting any more surprises with its preliminary results. Meanwhile, analysts at Panmure Gordon note that Peter Bertram – who stepped up from chairman to executive chairman in October – "has a great track record in turnarounds" and have decided to stick to their "hold" recommendation.

Results/Updates: Phoenix IT, GB Group, GW Pharmaceuticals


It appears to be boom time again in the US, with the stock market reaching all-time highs. Recent data have shown an increase in consumer confidence stateside and US housing prices recorded their highest year-on-year increase since 2006. So companies with exposure to the States should be riding high. Building supplier, plumbing and heating products distributor Wolseley has already highlighted just how well its US arm has performed. At its half-year results in March, American subsidiary Ferguson was the star of the group, and is expected to account for about 67 per cent of trading profit in 2013. So the third-quarter results are expected to show the trend has continued. It will still be showing signs of difficulty for its French business but this should be more than offset by the US successes. The stock has an average rating of hold from analysts, with expectations its results will be in line with expectations.

Results/Updates: Acal, Assura, Air Partner, BP Marsh, Sepura, Severfield-Rowen, VP, Wolseley.


Tesco is expected to deliver a fall in UK underlying sales, as it updates the City on plans to sell its US business, Fresh & Easy. Panmure Gordon reckons the grocery giant will post a fall of 1 per cent in UK like-for-like sales over the three months to 25 May. Tesco is likely to blame weak demand for big-ticket electricals such as televisions for the downturn in its first-quarter trading but its core grocery business is thought to have performed better. Philip Clarke, pictured, the chief executive, will also have to defend sliding sales in many of the 11 countries it operates in overseas. Its joint house broker, Nomura, forecasts underlying sales in Asia, including China, South Korea and Thailand, will be down 4.6 per cent, and in Europe by 5.5 per cent as that region's economic woes continues to weigh on its operations in Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Results/Updates: Alternative Networks, Findel, First Property, RPC, Synergy, Terrace Hill, Tesco.


The chemicals specialist Johnson Matthey had a grim start to the year when it revealed a third-quarter update in January that was far worse than expected. But Numis's Charles Pick thinks it isn't all bad for the group and expects the final quarter will have been better. The chemical specialist makes catalyst converters and analysts have pointed to a rise in truck sales as a likely boost.

Results/Updates: EasyJet, Johnson Matthey.


Investors in the brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner will be hoping to raise a pint to toast the group's full-year results. Panmure Gordon reckons the company behind London Pride will unveil pre-tax profits of about £32m and increase it dividend by 7 per cent. The firm is set to undergo a transformation next month when Michael Turner calls time on his 11-year reign as chief executive. Toy maker Hornby will also report its full-year numbers on Friday when it will hope to put last autumn's profit warning behind it. Numis believes the company will break even after a tough few months.

Results/Updates: Bellway, Fuller, Smith, & Turner, Hornby, Kcom, SThree.