The Week Ahead: Positive update expected from WM Morrison

The supermarket chain WM Morrison is due to publish a first-quarter trading statement on Thursday and analysts are expecting a positive update.

"Although we expect a slight slowdown since Christmas, Morrison's like-for-like sales continue to lead the industry," said Citigroup, whose analysts forecast 6.5-7 per cent like-for-like growth, excluding petrol, for the 13 weeks to 4 May. "This is doubly impressive when one considers the minimal benefit from store extensions and from maturing space," the broker added.

Elsewhere, fuel sales account for around 20 per cent of the company's total sales, and the hike in the cost of petrol should help overall growth rates. The impact on profits, however, is expected to be minimal – as Citi points out, "petrol generates wafer-thin margins, so the boost to the bottom line will likely be limited".

TODAY: Results/Updates: RWS, Detica, Acal and E2V Technologies.

TOMORROW: United Utilities is due to publish preliminary results and the consensus from analysts is for full-year underlying pre-tax profits before exceptional items and IAS39 fair value adjustments of £462m. Consensus also forecasts 48.9p in earnings per share and 46.6p in dividend per share.

Also tomorrow, the aerospace, defence and automotive group Umeco is due to publish full-year results, and UBS expects the company to report revenue of £391m, compared to £334m last year, pre-tax profits of £25.1m, compared to £22.5m last year, and earnings per share of 35p, compared to 32p in 2007.

Beyond the figures, the broker is hoping management will clarify the impact of the Boeing 787 delays. The company is also expected to provide an update on how the Rolls-Royce contract extension has progressed.

Results/Updates: Delling, Hamworthy, Umeco and United Utilities.

WEDNESDAY: Kingfisher, the company behind the B&Q retail chain, is due to publish first-quarter results, with UBS forecasting £80m in group retail profits, compared to £89m last year.

"This year, a cold, early Easter is likely have negatively affected sales," the broker said. "Pressures on disposable income and the housing market have also intensified and thus the performance of non-seasonal lines will be a key area of focus," UBS added.

Sportingbet, the online gaming company, is due to publish third-quarter results and, beyond the numbers, the market will be keen for an update on the situation in Turkey. Last week, the company said some people related to its Turkish business had been detained by the local authorities, who also held two of its UK-based employees on vacation in the country. At the time, the company had not received any formal clarification on the matter. Management will no doubt be quizzed about the progress of events since.

Results/Updates: FKI, Wolfson Microelectronics, China Biodiesel, Sportingbet and Kingfisher.

THURSDAY: The chemicals group Johnson Matthey is due to publish preliminary results, and consensus figures drawn from 11 analyst estimates predict £258.7m in pre-tax profits, with 88.3p in earnings per share and 36.5p in dividend per share.

The equipment rental group VP is due to publish final results and Panmure Gordon is anticipating a "decent set" of figures.

"We expect most areas of the business to deliver significant progress from last year, with the possible exception of Torrent Trackside, which has been well flagged to investors," the broker said. "Following a reasonably robust outlook statement from Speedy Hire ... we would expect the same from VP."

Also on Thursday, Premier Farnell is due to publish first-quarter results and UBS is forecasting £200m in sales, up 9 per cent, £24.6m in earnings before interest, tax and amortisation, up 11 per cent, and earnings per share of 3.85p, up 18 per cent.

"Unlike peer Electrocomponents [or ECM], we do not expect [Premier] to be quite so cautious on recent trading, mainly because [its] UK business is more correlated to the electronics cycle, while ECM's is more correlated to UK manufacturing output," the broker said.

Results/Updates: WM Morrison, Severn Trent, Halfords, Pennon, Premier Farnell, VP and Johnson Matthey.

FRIDAY: The recruitment specialist SThree is due to publish a trading statement for the first half, and, as Panmure Gordon points out, "all eyes will be on whether there has been any weakness in its key metrics [such as drop-out rates, time to hire and interview to placement ratios] since [the company's 28 March update]".

The broker said: "We believe the demand for IT staffing ... should perform better than the last downturn, given the absence of a bubble market ... this time around. That said, investment in IT still depends on business confidence and is still susceptible to budget cuts."

The Griffin brewery owner Fuller Smith & Turner is due to publish final results and, despite the pall of economic slowdown spread over the sector, Panmure Gordon expects the company to prove more resilient that its peers.

The broker's 2009 forecasts allow for a slowdown in managed pub like-for-like sales as well as lower profit growth elsewhere. But, Panmure said: "The company should still generate strong positive net cash flow, adding more firepower that could be used for either acquisitions or share buy backs".

Results/Updates: Signet, Fuller Smith & Turner and SThree.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate