The Week Ahead: Smiths Group's results could be unpleasant for its new boss

This week has a political feel to it in the wake of the Greek election

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The Independent Online

Given the pain that the oil price slide has inflicted on the oil services sector, engineer Smiths Group’s annual results on Wednesday could be an unpleasant affair for its new boss, Andrew Reynolds Smith, the former boss of GKN Automotive. In March, the FTSE 100 company warned that trading at John Crane, the oil division which makes up a third of revenues, would be slower in the second half, but that cost-saving plans would help to keep profit margins robust.

After the most keenly awaited week for markets in months, which turned out to be a damp squib as the US Federal Reserve held interest rates, it is back to normal for traders – looking at US data for clues on the timing of an inevitable interest rate rise and back to the China slowdown story.

This week has a political feel to it in the wake of the Greek election, with UK party conferences in action and finishing with the election in Catalonia, which Investec says will double up “as a quasi-independence referendum” for the Spanish region.

On the corporate front, there are half-year results tomorrow for the breakdown provider AA and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr.

Card Factory’s first-half results on the same day follow a strong update from the greetings card retailer earlier this month, with analysts expecting underlying earnings to rise 6 per cent to £32m.

Peel Hunt analyst Jonathan Pritchard, who rates Card Factory’s stock “buy”, said he has been surprised at how investors seem to be missing the potential of the shares. He said: “Its market-leading position is understood, but the positive (if low) growth nature of the market is not appreciated, nor the barriers to entry that the company has built with its vertical integration.”

Trading updates are also scheduled tomorrow for spreadbetter IG Group, Cathedral City Cheese maker Dairy Crest and cruise ship operator Carnival.

On Wednesday, United Utilities is set to report on trading, while shareholders of Conviviality Retail, the owner of the Bargain Booze off-licence chains, vote on the proposed takeover of rival Matthew Clark on Thursday.

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