The Week Ahead: Intercontinental to find room for optimism

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The Independent Online

Analysts have their fingers crossed ahead of tomorrow's quarterly update from Intercontinental Hotels Group, with the hospitality specialist expected to report improving trends in Asia and the US.

Credit Suisse expects IHG's Asian revenues per available room (revpar) to be "well up" on the year, while its American hotels should be "performing better than the wider US market". Panmure Gordon is also hopeful, noting that recent updates from IHG's US peers Marriott International and Starwood Hotels "have been extremely favourable".

"In addition, weekly industry revpar ... has also suggested a strong occupancy-led recovery in North America from mid-February," the broker said. "Although this has been [driven by the luxury sector] we still expect IHG to have participated in this recovery, particularly towards the back end of the first quarter."

Barclays, though slightly cautious about this week's update, expected IHG to gather steam as the year progresses. "First-quarter revpar trends are likely to have been considerably weaker than those of Marriott and Starwood," the broker said. "We expect IHG's revpar to really begin to gather momentum in the second half of the year, but we expect the shares to perform ahead of this."


The funeral director Dignity is due to issue an interim management statement this morning, and Goldman Sachs expects the update to reflect "another solid trading result". Numis is slight cautious, though, highlighting the tough comparatives over the first quarter. Given this, the broker said it would "expect the growth trends to fall temporarily into negative territory for the first quarter".

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 listed platinum producer Lonmin is due to issue half-year results. Panmure Gordon expects the market to focus on the status of the company's Number One furnace, which was shut down at the end of March. Beyond that, the broker is forecasting $105m (£71m) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, with $602m in revenues and $47m in pre-tax profits.

Results/updates: Diploma, Interserve, Lonmin, Dignity.


Numis anticipates news of strong earnings growth from the defence support services group Babcock, which is due to issue full-year results. "Attention is likely to be on the shape of the new government and its plans for expenditure in general and defence spending in particular," the broker said in a preview published last week.

Results/updates: Aviva, Enterprise Inns, Inmarsat, Southern Cross Healthcare, Serco, TUI Travel, Easyjet, Babcock International, Intercontinental Hotels.


Deutsche Bank expects to hear of $2.2bn in revenues when the technology firm Dimension Data, a global partner of America's Cisco Systems, posts half-yearly results. That would be in line with management's guidance of flat revenue growth over the first half. On margins, Deutsche is looking for 4.7 per cent, which would imply a year-on-year improvement of 10 basis points.

"Dimension Data's fortunes are directly linked to that of Cisco and hence, the business tends to mirror Cisco's performance," Deutsche said. "Cisco's recent commentary has been very positive, with the chief executive calling the second phase of the economic recovery, a recovery in capital expenditure, and across-the-board improvement across business areas."

Also on Wednesday, the housebuilder Barratt Developments is due to issue its interim management statement. The update is likely to evidence in-line trading, according to Numis, which also expects to hear of stability in selling prices. Elsewhere, the market is expected to focus on the group's progress in paying down debt and on the prospective increase in margins in the second half of the year. "We remain of the view that Barratt's discount to the wider market is too large and [that] it offers good value," the broker said, repeating its "buy" stance.

Results/updates: Barratt Developments, Greggs, Compass, Chime Communications, Kesa Electricals, Micro Focus International, Tullow Oil, Wood Group, Dimension Data.


Results/updates: DSG International, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, 3i, Old Mutual, Tullett Prebon, Trinity Mirror, J Sainsbury.


The long-term savings provider Hansard Global will post its interim management statement, with Panmure anticipating new business figures, along with commentary on the new business margin. "Given recent comments, we anticipate that new business volumes, particularly single premiums, will have recovered in the last four months and that new business margins will have been maintained at market leading levels," the broker said.

Results/updates: Computacenter, Unite, Renishaw, Hansard Global.