The Week Ahead: US and Europe set to hold back SABMiller

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The Independent Online

With its attempted takeover of Foster's seemingly stalled, SABMiller's trading performance will be in focus this week when the world's second-biggest brewer releases its update for the first quarter on Thursday.

The group, whose range of beverages include Grolsch and Pilsner Urquell, had a A$9.5bn (£6.2bn) approach for its rival rejected last month. However, there have been few clues since over if and when it will make another play for the Australian company, which also owns Victoria Bitter, so any hints from the company on its next step will be closely examined.

In terms of its figures, which are being released at the same times as its AGM, the company raised its forecasts earlier in the month for its biggest market, Latin America, thanks in part to price cuts. JPMorgan Cazenove believes SABMiller will reveal that its operations in Africa have also continued to impress, but fears this will be overshadowed by tough trading in Europe and the States.

The broker's analysts say that in the former, its volumes are likely to have grown just 2 per cent against what they call a "very easy" comparative, adding that it "continues to suffer from intense competition from Carlsberg and Heineken".

Meanwhile, with regards to SABMiller's outlook statement, they feel it might "take the opportunity to reiterate its decision to pursue an 'affordability agenda' this year by being more selective in its price increases in certain regions to promote volume growth".


SThree starts the week by releasing its results for the first half of the year, with the recruitment company's figures coming after recent updates from a number of its listed peers. Although it admits the signs have been that "the UK is clearly still tough", Peel Hunt says "the read-across from European markets was much better".

The broker's analysts pick out the Netherlands – one of SThree's most important regions – as seeming particularly positive, while warning that "upgrades [are] unlikely at this stage in the year".

Results/Updates: SThree.


IG Group announces its full-year figures on Tuesday, with the spread-betting company having predicted last month that its profit for the twelve months will have increased 3 per cent. Espirito Santo believes that if IG's trading revenues do increase 7 per cent, as forecast, this would be "relatively robust" given such headwinds as the periods of volatility seen in the markets over the year.

Collins Stewart's Robin Savage, meanwhile, expects the group's forecasts for the next two financial years to be trimmed, predicting the results will "reveal cost pressures", and adds that IG's management are likely "to cool expectations of dividend growth above earnings growth".

Results/Updates: IG Group, Intermediate Capital and Land Securities.


Results/Updates: BHP Billiton, BTG, International Personal Finance, the London Stock Exchange and Severn Trent.


With the soft drinks group's share price having plummeted nearly 15 per cent since the start of June, Britvic will be hoping its third-quarter interim management statement on Thursday can provide some fizz. However, Citigroup believes it will not contain "anything materially different" from its update for the previous three months, saying it "is unlikely to provide better visibility on [the next financial year's] earnings".

The broker's analysts predict the group, whose brands include Robinsons and Tango, will announce revenues of £354m for the period, and they expect its stills unit to maintain its improvement while saying its carbonates business will have seen a slowdown. They also add that, although the company will have benefited from the good weather enjoyed at the start of the quarter, the recent rain will have neutralised any of the positive effects from this.

Also in focus on Thursday will be Capita as the outsourcer releases its half-year results, and Shore Capital's Robin Speakman expects it to show that last year's "tough trading environment" has continued. "New contract wins thus far in [the financial year] have been disappointing to our minds," adds the analyst, who said he believes its outstanding order book will have shrunk by as much as £1bn.

Results/Updates: Britvic, Capita, De La Rue, Great Portland Estates, Halfords, Howden Joinery, Kingfisher, Mitchells & Butlers, Petropavlovsk and SABMiller.


Results/Updates: Beazley, Cable & Wireless Communications, Close Brothers, United Utilities and Vodafone.



Nationwide consumer confidence index; Rightmove house price index.


Eurozone construction output; Eurozone ZEW survey; US building permits; US housing starts.


Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee minutes; Eurozone consumer confidence; US existing home sales.


Public sector finances; Retail sales figures; US house price index; US Philadelphia Federal Reserve survey.


Eurozone industrial new orders.