The Week Ahead: Stabilising housing is the foundation for Kingfisher

 

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Its strong presence in France has traditionally been seen as a major positive for Kingfisher, but the current shakiness of the country's economic situation means questions have been raised over how much of an advantage it really is.

About 50 per cent of the B&Q owner's earnings come from across the Channel, so it was always going to be hurt by fears France could be heading for a slowdown. As a result, the performance of the DIY giant's French chains – which include Brico Dépôt – will be of particular interest on Thursday when the company announces its third-quarter figures.

Despite the City's concerns, Liberum Capital's Simon Irwin is fairly positive. He says that although he is "increasingly cautious" about demand from consumers across the eurozone generally, the DIY market in France should avoid taking as large a hit as other areas.

The analyst, who expects like-for-like sales in the country to have risen 1.7 per cent, points out that in France both the number of new homes being built and house prices have managed to stay fairly stable, supporting his opinion that the amount of money spent by consumers on DIY is not "particularly vulnerable".

Back on these shores, Mr Irwin is expecting B&Q's like-for-like sales to have edged back 1 per cent. On the downside, he says the group will have been hit by the recent "adverse weather and deteriorating consumer" sentiment, although he adds that this will have been partially compensated for by a reduction in competition, with its rivals Focus and HomeForm both recently going into administration.

Today

Results and updates: No major companies due to report.

Tomorrow

Results and updates: ITE Group.

Wednesday

Although the Robinsons owner has already revealed a jump in its revenues over the full year of 1.4 per cent, Panmure Gordon still expects Britvic to announce a 2 per cent drop in pre-tax profits for the period on Wednesday. Analysts from the broker blame this fall on an increase in financing costs, although they are generally positive on the drinks company.

Noting that the soft drinks market "has continued to be resilient despite the challenging consumer environment", they expect operating profit margins to improve over the current financial year thanks to a slowdown in input cost inflation as well as "ongoing cost optimisation programmes and new product innovation".

Wednesday also sees Sage announce its preliminary results, when Espirito Santo predicts that the business software group will unveil "another resilient performance". Analysts from UBS, meanwhile, expect "few headline surprises", adding that many in the Square Mile will be eyeing comments on how the roll-out of its Sage One software in the UK has been going.

Results and updates: Britvic, Daejan, Marston's, RPC, Sage and Shaftesbury.

Thursday

Back in September, investors were raising a glass to Greene King after the pubs group saw its sales over the first 18 weeks of the years jump 4.2 per cent, despite the numerous pressures facing drinkers. There could yet be more joy ahead, as a bullish Douglas Jack from Numis Securities thinks he could end up upgrading his forecasts as a result. The analyst currently expects its profit-before-tax to have risen 7 per cent to £78m, thanks in part to a number of acquisitions, although he notes that these will have also increased its debt levels.

The update from Greene King comes the day after its peer Marston's reveals its full-year results. Given that a number of details over its performance were already released by the company back in October, Charles Stanley's James Dawson is not expecting any major shocks from the company on Wednesday.

Results and updates: Greene King and Kingfisher.

Friday

The week finishes with Berkeley releasing its interim figures, and Numis's Chris Millington is expecting a "strong update" from the housebuilder, believing good demand in the South East will have boosted the group. The analyst also expects much of the City's focus to be on its comments over whether the group has slowed its pace of land buying. If so, it will not only prompt fears over the sustainability of the London market but also spark speculation about whether Berkeley may quicken the pace of its £1.7bn planned capital return over the next decade.

Results and updates: Berkeley, SThree.

Economics Diary

TODAY CBI retail sales; US new home sales.

TOMORROW Net lending data; US consumer confidence.

WEDNESDAY Eurozone CPI flash estimate; eurozone unemployment rate; GfK consumer confidence; US ADP non-farm employment change; US beige book; US Chicago PMI; US pending home sales.

THURSDAY Manufacturing PMI; US ISM manufacturing PMI; US unemployment claims.

FRIDAY Construction PMI; US non-farm employment change; US unemployment rate.

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