The Week Ahead: Punters betting on a strong 888 update

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Investors in online-poker specialist 888 Holdings will be hoping for a strong update today.

Peel Hunt's Nick Batram thinks it is on track to come in ahead of forecasts for its full year in March.

Analysts think 888 Holdings' foray into Europe will pay off with recent regulation moving in its favour.

Panmure Gordon's analysts estimate revenues of $96.1m (£61m) in the fourth quarter, up 5.5 per cent year on year and think strong, "underlying trading combined with regulatory tailwinds and emerging growth opportunities" are all reasons to buy the stock.

Results/Updates: 888 Holdings, Anglo Platinum, Randgold Resources, Creston.


Is it time to take a look at BP's shares again? BP will report its final results tomorrow and Iain Reid at Jefferies has a gander at the group after its latest fine from US authorities as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Mr Reid thinks there is potential for new, profitable production growth, but the outcome of even a "reasonable" settlement is, he thinks, "not sufficient for a sustainable re-rating" of the oil giant. He prefers Shell's "certainty and solid dividend yield over BP's less-certain outlook, despite its potential for faster growth in its dividend".

Some speculation of mergers and acquisitions in the oil sector has been pushing prices up slowly. BG Group will also report tomorrow and has been the target of speculative bid chatter.

Results/Updates: Allocate Software, Alumasc, Arm Holdings, BG Group, BP, Delphi Automotive, Low & Bonar, St Modwen Properties, Qinetiq, Talktalk Telecom, Victrex.


The stock market has been on a bit of a winning streak in January which may have driven more punters to invest.

Broker Hargreaves Lansdown is expected to report strong inflows with Numis Securities predicting them to rise 16.7 per cent and Numis' James Hamilton said he expects to upgrade his forecasts.

Results/Updates: Hargreaves Lansdown, GlaxoSmithKline, Smurfit Kappa, Wolfson Microelectronics, Atkins (WS), Daily Mail & General Trust, easyJet, Eurasian Natural Resources, Quintain Estates & Development.


Sir Stuart Rose seems to have been collecting chairmanships since he stepped down as Marks & Spencer's executive chairman, adding the fashion chain Fat Face to a portfolio – which includes Ocado – last weekend. His dual role at M&S sparked corporate-governance concerns and now as chairman of the online grocer some wonder what he can do for the group that has never made a profit. The shares are still around half what they were when they floated in 2010. Clive Black at Shore Capital rates them a sell at 95p.

Investors are keen to know the progress on its £210m distribution centre in Warwickshire and how this has affected costs. Analysts will want to see evidence its consumer appeal is not being eroded by competitors.

Results/Updates: Ocado, Beazley, Smith & Nephew, Avon Rubber, Bellway, Compass, Dairy Crest, Icap, Playtech, SuperGroup, Thomas Cook, Tui Travel, Vodafone.


Platinum mining has been a pretty bleak place to operate for the past year. And just think about those miners. Their pay and conditions were so bad they risked their lives to strike and protest last year. The civil unrest led to 34 deaths at platinum miner Lonmin's Marikana mine.

However, Aquarius Platinum seems to be turning a corner. It is putting last year behind it and catching up with lost production. On Friday it will reveal its interim results and analysts think an upgrade in the company's forecasts will be required now it has reported four quarters of consistent improvement.

Results/Updates: Aquarius Platinum, Catlin, Cable & Wireless Communications, S&U, Scottish & Southern Energy, Shaftesbury, Workspace.

Economics Diary

Today Purchasing managers' index – construction.

Tomorrow British Retail Consortium sales figures, Purchasing Mangers' index – services, official reserves data.

Wednesday British Retail Consortium – shop-price index, New UK vehicle registrations, Monthly German factory orders.

Thursday Industrial-production data, manufacturing-production data, trade figures, Bank of England interest-rate announcement, Bank of England asset-purchase target, National Institute of Social & Economic Research, gross domestic product estimate for January, European Central Bank press conference.

Friday US trade balance and European retail-sales index update.