The Week Ahead: Berkeley is tipped to keep building its sales strength


After a run of updates over the past few weeks from the property sector, it is Berkeley's turn on Monday as the housebuilder releases its trading statement. With the numbers covering the period from last November, Deutsche Bank's Glynis Johnson warns the update will be "short of detail" but believes forward sales will have continued to be strong.

He adds that its order book may have risen from the £937m it announced in November, and predicts Berkeley will "reiterate both the resilient local trading conditions and benefits of the company's land acquisitions in driving volumes and selling price".

Results/Updates: Berkeley Group, Nautical Petroleum and Xaar.


Debenhams reveals its first-half figures on Tuesday, with the department store – which has seen its share price climb close to 30 per cent since the start of 2012 – one of a number of retailers to have rallied recently. When the group issued an update in January, it said underlying sales for the first 18 weeks were flat, and Panmure Gordon believes this will have stayed the same.

However, the broker does claim the biggest risk is that Debenham's previous guidance of gross margins staying steady over the year could prove too optimistic, although Panmure adds that if this target is confirmed "the shares may see some of the valuation gap with the rest of the sector begin to close".

Results/Updates: Cairn Energy, Consort Medical, Debenhams, Mears, Regus, Severfield-Rowan and UTV.


Much of the attention in the supermarket sector has been focused on Tesco's issues in the UK recently, but on Wednesday it is Sainsbury's turn in the spotlight. The grocer is announcing its fourth-quarter trading figures, and Jefferies – noting recent industry data – believes it has enjoyed a strong end to the year. The broker's scribblers are forecasting like-for-like sales to have grown 2.2 per cent over the period, saying the group's Brand Match scheme "has certainly hit a chord with consumers". They also believe Tesco's woes will have given Sainsbury's a boost and forecast pre-tax profits for the year of £701m, just above consensus.

Results/Updates: Eurasian Natural Resources, IQE, Sainsbury's and Ted Baker.


Confidence has been rising ahead of Next's full-year results on Thursday, with the fashion retailer's share price jumping nearly 8 per cent last week to set a new all-time high. Panmure Gordon's Jean Roche is one bullish voice, believing the group will manage a pre-tax profit for the year of £572.6m which would be towards the top end of the predicted range.

There will be a particular focus on its outlook for the current financial year, and the analyst feels Next's previous guidance "is probably too conservative", citing "stable year-on-year selling prices and a very favourable input pricing environment".

Another big retail name, Kingfisher, is also updating the market. The owner of B&Q has already said it expects to post an underlying pre-tax profit for the year of £799m – a 20 per cent increase from the previous 12 months – but UBS's Andrew Hughes believes that the dividend has a chance of coming in higher than the 8.5p expected by the market.

In terms of the outlook, the analyst says the company will be "cautious" while adding that one of the talking points could be "how long management will persist in China before potentially downsizing further and seeking to extract some of the £300m asset value".

Results/Updates: Alliance Pharma, APR Energy, Kingfisher, Next, Portmeirion, Premier Oil, Signet, Tribal Group and United Utilities.


Phoenix Group, which last month pulled out of bid talks with the private equity firm CVC Capital after failing to agree a price, finishes the week with its full-year results. The life insurer is expected by JPMorgan to have generated £824m, which would beat its cash flow target of £800m, although the broker believes its operating profit for the year will have dipped from the £373m it managed in 2010 to £302m.

Results/Updates: Charles Taylor Consulting, Phoenix and Xcite Energy.


TODAY Eurozone current account.

TOMORROW CBI industrial order expectations; Consumer price index; Retail price index; US building permits; US housing starts.

WEDNESDAY Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee minutes; Budget statement by the Chancellor, George Osborne; Public finances data; US crude oil inventories; US existing home sales data.

THURSDAY Eurozone flash manufacturing PMI; Eurozone flash services PMI; Retail sales; US unemployment claims.

FRIDAY BBA mortgage approvals; CBI realised sales; Eurozone consumer confidence survey; US new home sales.

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