The Week Ahead: ITV pulls in viewers but needs a commercial break

 

The X Factor may not be quite so many people's cup of tea this year, but the phenomenon of Downton Abbey has certainly left ITV with a warm glow this autumn. Moreover, the headline hit shows are only part of the success story at ITV under its new management team, lead by the former Post Office boss Adam Crozier. A newemphasis on content has begun to bear fruit for the company.

Analysts at UBS are expecting ITV, which unveils its interim management statement today, to point to "strong audience trend data", with the Rugby World Cup having been a particular bonus for the channel in October, the disappointing ends met by the home nations notwithstanding.

UBS is also looking forward to hearing more about progress made on the transformation plan laid out by Mr Crozier for the business, which includes a cautious foray into pay television and a greater focus on online.

Against all that, ITV is facing some tough headwinds from the wider economicenvironment, which are likely to hit itsadvertising revenues, for which it is due to give updated forecasts. UBS predicts flat revenue growth for 2011, reflecting a gain of 0.2 per cent in the third quarter but a slump of 2.7 per cent during the final three months of the year.

UBS still regards ITV as undervalued, trading as it does on a forward earnings multiple of nine times for 2012 compared with 10 times in the wider sector.

 

Today

Results and updates: Catlin Group, Charter, Electrocomponents, ITV, Kingspan, Lonmin.

 

Tuesday

Burberry's interim results ought to provide some relief from the gloom that has been predominant in the retail sector in recent weeks. Western economies may be feeling the squeeze, but luxury goods sales have remained strong. Switzerland's Richemont reported a 29 per cent increase in revenues last week, for example.

Analysts expect Burberry to continue to perform well. Numis said: "With strong sales progression through the first half and clear full-year margin guidance, we expect a strong interim profit before tax figure."

Results and updates: Afren, Aveva, British Land, Burberry, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, CRH, Drax Group, easyJet, MicroFocus, Premier Oil, TalkTalk

 

Wednesday

Trading will be dominated by economic news, with the Bank of England due to publish its quarterly Inflation Report. The Bank is likely to stick to its previous guidance that inflation, currently well above the 2 per cent target, will fall sharply during 2012. That view was given some credence by Friday's factory gate inflation figures, which indicated pressures in the supply chain beginning to ease off.

Just as critical, however, is what the Bank has to say about the outlook for the economy. It is likely to downgrade its growth forecasts once again, following weeks of turmoil in the eurozone, adding to the pressure on George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is due to present his autumn statement at the end of the month

Results and updates: Barratt Developments, Icap, London Stock Exchange, Meggitt, Melrose, Reed Elsevier, Speedy Hire

 

Thursday

Analysts at Deutsche Bank have praised the emerging markets exposure of SAB Miller, which reports interim results today, but point out that its takeover of Foster's of Australia will dilute that effect, cutting the percentage of profits it generates from such markets to "around 70 per cent from around 80 per cent". Deutsche also warns that "recent news flow is, if anything, slightly disappointing" and predicts slightly lower earnings than expected because of tough trading in the US.

Results and updates: Amec, Amlin, Atkins, Capita Group, Centrica, Close Brothers, Dunelm, Glencore, Mothercare, National Grid, Rexam, SAB Miller, Serco.

 

Friday

The engineering company Rotork had a strong first-half and UBS analysts expect further positive news in today's trading statement from the company. "With order input in the second quarter alone up 28 per cent year-on-year, we would expect growth rates to moderate given tougher comparisons," UBS said. "We forecast orders of £121m, fractionally ahead of the second quarter [and] 16 per cent year-on-year.

Results and updates: Chemring, Derwent London, Intertek, Regus, Rotork, Tullett Prebon.

Economics Diary

TODAY Bank of England Project Merlin bank lending third-quarter data.

 

TOMORROW UK CPI & RPI inflation figures; eurozone GDP, with separate figures for France, Germany, Netherlands.

 

WEDNESDAY UK ILO unemployment, claimant rate, Bank of England Inflation Report; eurozone final inflation report; US: Consumer prices.

 

THURSDAY UK retail sales data from ONS.

 

FRIDAY No significant data expected.

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