The Week Ahead: Kingfisher set to enjoy bank holiday boost

The recent run of bank holidays, together with plenty of sunny weather, means Kingfisher's first-quarter results, due out on Thursday, should be encouraging.

Aurelie Caspar, of Bank of America, believes the DIY retailer's B&Q business will have seen its like-for-like sales rise 1.5 per cent over the three months. However, she predicts there will be a divide between the performance of its seasonal products and its big ticket items, sales of which she expects to have been "subdued".

UBS, meanwhile, is a touch more bullish, forecasting a sales growth of 2 per cent. Its analysts also highlight data from France showing the continuing strength of the DIY market there, and they feel its Casto and Brico chains in the country should see their sales figures rise 4 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

There will also be a focus on China, where the company has been working on reshaping its presence. These measures – which include the closure of a number of stores – should result in its losses from the country falling yet again, says UBS.

Ms Caspar agrees, expecting them to have been halved to £5m. This will contribute, says the analyst, to a retail profit across the whole group of £174m – up 19 per cent – while UBS predicts a profit of £180m.


Results/Updates: Majedie.


Wolseley releases its third-quarter interim management statement on Wednesday. The plumbing supplies group has suffered recently from its exposure to the US, which contributes roughly 40 per cent of its turnover. Recent data has not provided much reason for optimism, so its performance across the Atlantic over the period will be closely watched.

In terms of its outlook, any signs of a jump in activity in the US housing market will be good, although Deutsche Bank believes "a recovery of sorts is now in part priced in and as such a better than expected recovery will now have to ensue."

The broker expects its organic growth to have slowed by 1 per cent to 6 per cent for the third quarter, with the company revealing a gross profit of £929m.

The water groups' reporting season continues this week, and after recent updates from Pennon, United Utilites and Severn Trent, Northumbrian Water takes its turn tomorrow. Royal Bank of Scotland's Iain Turner predicts the utility's pre-tax profit for the year will rise to £185m from £170m thanks to positive changes in the prices it can charge, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch only expects it to reach £176m.

Also announcing figures is Intermediate Capital, with the private equity group releasing its preliminary results. Investors will be hoping the company will carry on from its positive update in January, when it announced its asset management and investment portfolio units were both performing well and enjoying growth.

James Hamilton, of Numis Securities, expects the former to contribute almost £35m in pre-tax profits and the latter to bring in nearly £165m, totalling £198.6m – an increase from the year before of 88 per cent.

Results/Updates: Intermediate Capital, Northumbrian Water, Telford Homes and Wolseley.


Asos has been one of the major success stories of the last few years:the Alternative Investment Market-listed online retailer's share price has jumped 500 per cent in the last 24 months. Such performance means tough expectations in the market, however, and Nick Raynor of the Share Centre says that, with hopes high before Thursday's preliminary results,"anything less [than positive] will not please the market."

Nonetheless, the analyst remains hopeful. "Other major retailers have noted that internet sales have improved significantly and a change in consumer trends means traditional browsing has been replaced by shoppers staying at home and only buying what they want," says Mr Raynor. "Asos should therefore be a main beneficiary as it has been in this business for years."

Also in focus on Thursday will be WPP, with the world's largest advertising group releasing a trading update alongside its annual general meeting. UBS feels that, taking into account recent comments made by its management, organic growth for the second-quarter will have stayed at around 6 per cent.

However, the broker does say that the potential impact on advertising from the recent tragedy in Japan and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have led it to be cautious in its outlook.

Results/Updates: Asos, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher and WPP.


Results/Updates: International Consolidated Airlines.

Economic Diary


US Conference Board consumer confidence; US Chicago purchasing managers' index; US S&P/CaseShiller home price index.


M4 money supply; Manufacturing purchasing managers' index; Mortgage approvals data; Net consumer credit; US ISM manufacturing purchasing managers' index.


Construction purchasing managers' index; US factory orders.


Services purchasing managers' index; US ISM non-manufacturing index; US nonfarm payrolls; US unemployment rate.

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