The Week Ahead: BP's figures to reveal effect of rising oil prices

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The Independent Online

It may be a severely curtailed week on the markets, but there are still plenty of updates for investors to get their teeth into, including the latest figures from BP. Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, so the oil giant will be hoping tomorrow's first-quarter results bring it some cheer.

Collins Stewart is expecting the group's volumes to have seen a year-on-year fall of 10 per cent, thanks mainly to the tragic explosion but also because of the disposals it has completed. With oil prices soaring during the period, the broker's analysts predict it will post an adjusted net income of $5.58bn (£3.42bn), nearly 30 per cent up on the previous three months.

Charles Stanley's Tony Shepard, meanwhile, is expecting a slightly higher figure of $5.7bn and a profit of $1.5bn – following $800m the year before – driven by "a stronger performance from the downstream operations on the back of better indicated refining margins and efficiencies".

There could also be news for the market on its attempted share swap with Rosneft, with the deadline for completion having been delayed to the middle of next month.

Its blue-chip peer Royal Dutch Shell is also set to release its figures for the first quarter this week, and Mr Shepard feels that after its update on the previous three months disappointed, Wednesday's release "will be quite an important staging post to see how [it] is performing financially against its growth plans."


Results/Updates: African Barrick Gold Group.


Associated British Foods (ABF) release its first-half results tomorrow, nearly two months since it issued a trading update on the period in which it said it expected to meet expectations. Credit Suisse believes it will be the performance of its Primark business that receives the most attention, especially on its outlook, and it predicts that the budget clothing chain will go on to see a flat second-half of the year.

The broker, however, says it is ABF's sugar division that is more interesting, although its analysts expect the issues that have hit its crop to be seen in the second six months. JP Morgan Cazenove agrees that the costs from the extreme weather will not be seen in these numbers, and says instead the unit's earnings will have risen year-on-year thanks to its performance in China and Spain.

Also announcing figures on Tuesday is Arm Holdings, with the Cambridge-based group issuing its results for the first-quarter. The chipmaker's rapid advance, which saw its share price increase over 600 per cent from 2009 to last January, seems to have stalled somewhat, and Matrix – despite calling it "one of the most solid stories in the semiconductor space" – believes it is overvalued.

Its analysts expect Arm to report total revenues of £108.2m, slightly below the general consensus, while they say the impact of the recent tragedy in Japan on the group will only have an effect from the third quarter of the year.

Results/Updates: Associated British Foods, Arm Holdings, Barclays, BP, Carpetright, Fenner, Senior GlaxoSmithKline and Premier Foods.


With GlaxoSmithKline's first-quarter results the day before, Thursday continues the big week for the pharmaceutical sector with both AstraZeneca and Shire updating the market. The former's numbers for the first three months are expected by Deutsche Bank to reveal a 1 per cent fall in revenues, given the company's recent comments that it sees its sales either staying flat or declining slightly.

Meanwhile the broker notes that Shire has come off a positive year of recovery, and says "its guidance for the current year reflects optimism that the underlying trends... will continue."

There has been a rush of positive sentiment around the consumer goods sector in recent weeks, as first Danone and then Nestlé announced some impressive results. On Thursday it is the turn of Unilever, with the Anglo-Dutch giant revealing its first-quarter figures.

JP Morgan Cazenove feels that "as the market worries that the tough consumer environment will limit Unilever's ability to raise prices and hence to cushion margins amid high input cost inflation, pricing should be key to sentiment". The broker expects emerging markets to prove the main driver in this area, with the mature markets hampered by some "high competition intensity".

Results/Updates: AstraZeneca, British American Tobacco, BSkyB, Colt, Howden Joinery Group PLC, International Power, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Segro, Shire, Standard Life, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Unilever, Whitbread PLC and WPP.



CBI industrial trends survey; US consumer confidence; US Richmond Fed manufacturing index.


BBA mortgage lending data; European Union industrial new orders; GDP; service sector figures; US durable goods data; US Federal Open Market Committee interest rate decision.


GfK consumer confidence survey; US GDP; US jobless claims data; US pending home sales index.


UK markets closed (Bank Holiday); US University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.