The Week Ahead: Flybe investors hope for an end to turbulence

  • @greentoby


Punters in Flybe have been hit by a run of profit warnings recently, with the last one coming in January. They will therefore be hoping there is no more bad news today when the small-cap regional airline announces a pre-close update ahead of its full-year results, which are set for release in June.

While the group's third-quarter numbers were given a boost by the launch of its Flybe Finland joint venture with Finnair, its UK passenger revenues dipped 0.3 per cent during the period, although Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes the slowdown will have abated over the following three months.

Results/Updates: Ferrexpo, Flybe, RWS Holdings and Vedanta Resources.


Dunelm will be in the spotlight on Wednesday as the rapidly expanding home furnishings retailer unveils its figures for the third quarter, with Panmure Gordon's Jean Roche forecasting like-for-like sales to have risen 2.5 per cent over the period.

Looking further ahead, the scribe is bullishly expecting the homewares sector in the UK to return to growth during the second half of 2012, pointing out that the high street giant Next is investing a lot of cash into that side of its business over the next couple of years.

After Robert Walters released first-quarter figures last week, it is Michael Page's turn tomorrow to continue the run of updates from the recruiters. At the time of its final results in March the group said gross profits had risen by roughly 10 per cent during the first two months of the year, and Oriel Securities' analysts – noting March tends to be its most important month – say they "are looking for growth to have picked up".

In terms of Michael Page's performance on the continent, they believe strong growth in Germany and France should more than offset "pressure from the relatively small exposure in southern Europe".

Few surprises are expected from WS Atkins' pre-close statement following the engineer's third-quarter update in February, in which it said that, despite tough market conditions, it was still on course to meet forecasts. Numis Securities' Will Wallis believes the group will not "say anything materially different" about trading during the rest of the financial year, although the analyst will be looking out for Atkins' comments on expectations going forward.

Results/Updates: Dunelm, Matchtech, Michael Page, Porvair and WS Atkins.


Times have been tough for Mothercare recently, with the baby products retailer's share price around half of what it was before last October's profits warning. That sparked the resignation of its long-time boss Ben Gordon, and in February it was announced that Simon Calver had been poached from Amazon's LoveFilm to take the top job.

Before Mr Calver starts his role at the end of this month, the small-cap firm announces its fourth-quarter figures on Thursday. Panmure's Jean Roche is expecting like-for-like sales to have dropped 11 per cent over the three months, which would be a significant deterioration from the 3 per cent fall that Mothercare suffered during the third quarter.

The scribbler also thinks there is a 50 per cent chance the update will include the results of its UK review, adding that parts of its turnaround plan are seemingly already being implemented, such as gathering feedback from shoppers at the till.

At the same time, Hays will become the latest in the recruitment sector to unveil its numbers for the third quarter. Oriel fears net fee growth will have fallen to around 4 per cent, after the company managed 8 per cent the previous three months and 15 per cent the quarter before that.

Results/Updates: Ashmore, Elektron Technology, Escher, Hays, JD Sports, Mothercare, Networkers International, Punch Taverns and XP Power.


The week is brought to an end by Norcon, the AIM-listed communications consultancy which is announcing its final results. Punters are already braced for bad news following February's warning from the group that its pre-tax profit for the 12 months would miss market forecasts thanks to foreign exchange, financial, recruitment and relocation costs all being higher than expected.

Results/Updates: Norcon and Polar Capital.

Economics Diary

TODAY CB leading index; French industrial production; German trade balance; Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors house price balance; US wholesale inventories.

TOMORROW British Retail Consortium retail sales monitor;US beige book; US crude oil inventories; US Federal budget balance; US import prices.

THURSDAY French consumer price index; Trade balance; US producer price index; US trade balance;US unemployment claims.

FRIDAY Construction output data; German consumer price index; Producer price index; US consumer price index; US preliminary University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.