The Week Ahead: Greene King hopes to give cheer to investors

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Investors will be hoping they can raise a glass to Greene King today after the pubs group announces its pre-close trading update. With like-for-like sales in its managed estate having risen 4.7 per cent during the first nine months of the year, Numis Securities' Douglas Jack is predicting that this part of the group will have seen no growth over the fourth quarter due to tough conditions, as well as the same period 12 months ago being particularly impressive.

The analyst also believes Greene King's own-brewed volumes, as well as earnings from its tenanted pubs, will have remained strong, while overall he expects pre-tax profit for the year of £152m, a rise of 9 per cent.

Results/Updates: Greene King and Imperial Innovations.


The sugar side of its operations, and not its Primark clothes chain, will be the focus of Associated British Food's interim results on Tuesday, according to Deutsche Bank. The broker's analysts are expecting profit from the business to be up more than 60 per cent from the same period a year ago, although they warn that the company's "other divisions are likely to show margin deterioration".

Results/Updates: ARM Holdings, Associated British Foods, Carpetright, Filtrona, Lidco, Next Fifteen Communications, Reed Elsevier, Smiths News and Surgical Innovations.


The Square Mile is already braced for Talvivaara's first-quarter figures on Wednesday, with the Finnish miner admitting last week that disappointing production coupled with lower nickel prices meant it would post an operating loss for the period – an announcement which saw the stock slump 15 per cent in just one session.

Results/Updates: Bodycote, Capital Shopping Centres, DS Smith, Fenner, GlaxoSmithKline, International Ferro Metals, Johnston Press, Polymetal International, Premier Foods, Sports Direct International, Stagecoach, Standard Life, Talvivaara, UBM and Virgin Media.


Consumer goods giant Unilever will reveal how its financial year has started on Thursday as it releases its first-quarter figures. JP Morgan Cazenove's analysts note they are among the more bullish in the Square Mile with their prediction that like-for-like sales will have jumped 7.7 per cent, and they expect both volumes and pricing to be strong.

The transport firms received a shock last month after FirstGroup warned its UK bus margins were on course to drop by over a third. The market will therefore be eager to hear Go-Ahead's comments on the issues suffered by its rival when it announces its third-quarter update this Thursday.

The scribblers from Deutsche Bank – who believe the problems of FirstGroup are "incremental and unique" – are not too worried however, saying that while Go-Ahead is likely to "paint a cautious outlook, we think the continued roll-out of smartcard initiatives will keep volume growth sufficiently strong for there to be minimal change to consensus earnings".

Results/Updates: Admiral, ASOS, AstraZeneca, Barclays, British American Tobacco, Camellia, Cobham, Colt Group, Croda International, Fortune Oil, Go-Ahead, Howden Joinery, Kazakhmys, McBride, Mecom, Meggitt, Royal Dutch Shell, Segro, Senior, Shire, Taylor Wimpey, Unilever and Whitbread.


The advertising sector is set for a busy rest of the year, with the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the US presidential election all coming up. Before that, rivals WPP and Aegis both release first-quarter figures on Friday, and the former is expected to announce organic sales growth of at least 4 per cent, says UBS's Tamsin Garrity.

She argues that the City believes Aegis's organic growth will be up7.8 per cent, adding that its outlook statement could result in upgrades to full-year forecasts.

Pearson is also releasing figures for the same period, which – notes Numis's Paul Richards – "is seasonally a very small quarter" for the publisher. As a result, the analyst points out it is "highly unlikely we will get any change to guidance or forecasts at this early stage".

Results/Updates: Aegis, AZ Electronic Materials, Pearson, Ultra Electronics and WPP.

Economics Diary

TODAY Eurozone PMI.

TOMORROW Eurozone industrial new orders; Public sector finances; US consumer confidence; US house price index; US new home sales.

WEDNESDAY CBI industrial order expectations; First-quarter GDP (first estimate); Services index;US durable goods orders;US FOMC interest rate decision;US MBA mortgage applications.

THURSDAY BBA mortgage approvals; CBI Realised Sales;GfK Consumer Confidence;US pending home sales;US unemployment claims.

FRIDAY Eurozone retail PMI;US final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index;US GDP (advance).