The Week Ahead: Essar must answer coal source questions



The week begins with full-year results from the power giant Essar Energy, but more interesting for the Square Mile than the numbers should be the latest on how it plans to fuel its power stations. Although recent signs regarding its aim to start development at its Mahan mine in India have been positive, Deutsche Bank's James Brand points out that "in the interim, the company will need to obtain alternative coal from other sources".

Meanwhile, Kier Group's trading update is not expected to be too surprising following the construction firm's interim management statement last month when bosses said it was on course to meet expectations for the financial year.

Results/Updates: Bango, City of London Group, Cohort, Essar Energy, Immunodiagnostic Systems and Kier Group.


Ocado has already said sales over the second quarter will have jumped 13 per cent, so investors will be looking for further detail from the online grocer when it announces its interims on Tuesday.

Jefferies' James Grzinic is expecting the modest rise in sales growth to be accompanied by "an appreciable improvement in profitability", thanks partly to a reduction in manual picking of customers' orders at the company's Hatfield warehouse.

Also in focus will be Carpetright, and Peel Hunt's John Stevenson is predicting the floor coverings retailer will reveal pre-tax profits for the year of £3.1m, towards the bottom end of the range the group has given.

The analyst does not believe there will be any new detail on current trading, but says he will be looking for further feedback from its store makeovers, pointing out this has already provided a major boost to sales.

A major week for the transport companies sees Stagecoach's full-year results on Tuesday followed by a trading update from National Express two days later. According to Shore Capital, the former will post a pre-tax profit of £197.6m, and the broker adds that it should "provide further comfort on the group's ability to offset subsidy pressure" in the UK bus sector.

Results/Updates: Carpetright, Domino Printing Sciences, IDOX, Lo-Q, Ocado, Petrofac, Porvair, Serco and Stagecoach.


Standard Chartered's update this Wednesday should show the emerging markets lender enjoyed revenue growth during the first half of around 9 per cent, according to JP Morgan. However, the broker warns it is cautious over short-term expectations, thanks partly to "slowing economic growth in a number of the group's geographies".

Results/Updates: CPP, Northgate, Safestore Holdings and Standard Chartered.


Back in April, Greene King was licking its lips with anticipation ahead of the Jubilee, Euro 2012 and the Olympics, and although the period covered by Thursday's final results won't include any of these events, the pubs group could give some comments on the boost it has got from the first two.

Bosses have already said retail like-for-like sales will have risen 4.6 per cent, and Deutsche Bank is expecting profits growth from the division to be in the mid-teens while forecasting an overall pre-tax profit of £153m.

Results/Updates: Debenhams, DS Smith, Greene King, Mountview Estates, National Express and ReNeuron.


According to the experts, it has been a good Euro 2012 for the bookmakers so far, and ahead of the final on Sunday the online gambling group Betfair releases its full-year results. Numis' Ivor Jones warns, however, that the period covered by the figures did see some race meetings cancelled in April because of the rain, while he adds that it will also have been knocked by the current eurozone crisis.

Results/Updates: Berkeley, Betfair, Keller and Wood Group.

Economics diary

TODAY US new home sales.

TOMORROW Public finances data; US consumer confidence.

WEDNESDAY British Bankers' Association mortgage approval figures; Confederation of British Industry realised sales; German preliminary consumer price index; US crude oil inventories; US durable goods orders; US pending home sales.

THURSDAY Bank of England credit conditions survey; Current account; European Union leaders summit begins in Brussels; Eurozone economic sentiment; First-quarter GDP (final); German unemployment data; US first- quarter GDP (final); US unemployment data.

FRIDAY Eurozone M3 money supply; GfK consumer confidence survey; Services index; US Chicago purchasing managers index; US University of Michigan sentiment data.

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