The Week Ahead: Morrisons in focus on shares buy-back hopes

With expectations high that it will unveil a share buy-back this week, investors in Morrisons have a reason to look forward to the supermarket group's full-year figures on Thursday, despite the downcast sentiment surrounding the wider sector.

Evolution Securities believes "a shares buyback is likely (£1bn over two years has been mooted)", but warns that it sees "little room for any major positive surprise in the numbers, as the ... consumer environment remains subdued and the food retailers remain under pressure".

Noting that "competition is intensifying, the consumer environment is tightening and space additions are accelerating", the broker's analysts say they are "more cautious on the sector than any time in the last 20 years, but Morrisons has the greatest capacity for self help".

In terms of how the supermarket plans to weather the storm, they are expecting any news on strategy to be "incremental rather than game-changing", and that it should include "further news on Project Liberate (freeing of space in store) and on systems development and roll-out".

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Cazenove is expecting "solid results", predicting total sales of £16.6bn and a pre-tax profit of £875m. However, it is fairly bearish on the outlook, noting that Morrisons "remains solely reliant on the UK for its growth and consumer trends do not look favourable". Saying it believes the shares deserve to be at their current cheap level, the broker adds that although "a large capital return may buoy the shares on the day, fundamentally growth is harder to come by in the medium term".



Today

Results/Updates: Inmarsat, Intertek, Michael Page, Petrofac, SDL and Stagecoach.



Tomorrow

Tuesday sees Pace update the market with its preliminary results, and there is expected to be a focus on the set-top box manufacturer's $475m acquisition last year of 2Wire.

Jonathan Imlah, of Collins Stewart, notes that the purchase of the US broadband technology company "met with a very mixed response" at the time, but he is "increasingly convinced that it was a very sensible strategic move" and he expects the original guidance of cost synergies totalling $30m to turn out to be "conservative".

Elsewhere, Mr Imlah believes its year-on-year revenue will have grown by 17 per cent, adding that although in the second half "guidance was for flat revenues and margins following the pull forward of the World Cup ... we would not be surprised to see sequential improvement".

Also updating tomorrow is the copper miner Antofagasta and, after Kazakhmys' forecast-beating figures last week, it is expected to have benefited from the recent gains in the copper price.

Evolution Securities thinks it will reveal sales of $4.47bn and pre-tax profits of $2.18bn, while for the year ahead its analysts see the new Esperanza mine as providing a big boost.

Results/Updates: Antofagasta, Ashtead, AZ Electronic Materials, Inchcape, Old Mutual, Pace, Spirax-Sarco and Weir.



Wednesday

Recent months have been positive for Prudential, whose shares have risen by about 25 per cent since the end of November, but JPMorgan Cazenove believes it is now fully valued.

The broker says that among the points of interest to look out for in the insurer's full-year figures is the top line of its Asian arm, where Cazenove is predicting that year-on-year growth will have slowed in the final quarter with "India being a drag".

Results/Updates: F&C Asset Management, Interserve, Melrose, Prudential, The Restaurant Group, Tullow Oil and Yule Catto.

Thursday

Results/Updates: Aggreko, Computacenter, Derwent London, Dignity, IG Group, Punch Taverns, Schroders, Standard Life and Wm Morrison.



Friday

JD Wetherspoon finishes the week off for investors with its interim results on Friday, but those hoping for a similarly strong update to a year ago – when it revealed record first-half profits – are likely to be disappointed, Altium Securities believes.

Analyst Greg Feehely predicts lower margins and an increased debt cost, but he remains positive on the company, saying it has still got an impressive openings programme.

Also updating on Friday is Home Retail, with Royal Bank of Scotland expecting both trading and margin pressure to be in evidence at its Argos business. Happily for investors, the broker is more bullish on the Homebase chain, predicting "positive like-for-like sales and a robust gross margin performance."

Results/Updates: Home Retail and JD Wetherspoon.

Today

Eurozone Sentix investor confidence index.



Tomorrow

BRC retail sales monitor; Rics house price survey.



Wednesday

BRC shop price index; Visible trade balance.

Thursday

BoE's Monetary Policy Committee announces interest rate decision; Industrial production; ECB's Monthly Bulletin; Manufacturing output; NIESR GDP estimates; US monthly budget statement.



Friday

Producer price data; University of Michigan consumer sentiment index.

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Network Engineer (CCNA, CCNP, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£40000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNA, CCNP, Linux, OSPF,...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice