The Week Ahead: Well-targeted advertising pays off for M&S

High Street bellwether Marks & Spencer promises to hog the headlines with a second-quarter trading update, due on Wednesday.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, forecasts a 2 per cent rise in sales at the retailer, with UK sales up 1 per cent. It also expects to hear of market share gains in clothing, as the improved product offer and what Merrill terms a "well-targeted marketing spend" begin to pay off. "We think M&S's Portfolio brand has performed very well, Per Una is now in better shape and we expect [the group] to benefit from a more balanced price architecture, and from a gradual improvement in older shoppers' consumer confidence."

Analysts also expect some good news about M&S's gross margins, with Deutsche Bank saying the retailer is on track to deliver a much smaller gross margin decline (minus 70 basis points) this year than its current guidance (minus 125 to minus 175 basis points). "We expect management to change this guidance," Deutsche added, saying that it expected the revision to come either this Wednesday or in early November, when M&S posts its half-year results.

Today: This morning's final results from the building materials company Wolseley should hold no surprises, according to Panmure Gordon. Any strategy-related comments from Ian Meakins, appointed to the board as chief executive in July, are likely to be in focus, the broker said, retaining its "sell" stance on the group's shares.

Results/updates: Origin Enterprises and Wolseley.

TOMORROW: The newspaper group Daily Mail & General Trust's pre-close trading update should show some easing in the rate of decline in advertising, albeit largely owing to improved comparatives, predicts Deutsche Bank. "The balance of risks with DMGT is, in our view, now the reverse of recent patterns and against the recent case for owning the stock – that is, we now see more upside risks to newspaper forecasts but see more downside risks in [the] non-newspapers [business]," the broker said. "In sentiment terms, downgrades to non-newspapers, even if offset in newspapers, might be negatively received."

Also tomorrow, Numis expects news of £100m in pre-tax profits and 54.2p in underlying earnings per share when Close Brothers posts preliminary results. Numis said however that there could be some upside to these numbers: the banking impairment rate may turn out lower than the 2.9 per cent forecast, and the Winterflood business "appears to have experienced another record half year in trading volumes," the broker said.

It added that any upgrade to the future forecasts will depend on how reassuring the company is that impairment is now at a peak, whether Winterflood volumes can be sustained, the continued performance of the asset management division, and lastly the completion of rumoured corporate transactions, if they are earnings enhancing.

Results/updates: Diary Crest, Future, Compass, TUI Travel, Close Brothers and Daily Mail & General Trust.

WEDNESDAy: The software group Misys is due to post an interim management statement. While it is likely to evidence continued weakness in initial license fee sales, the outlook should be positive, according to Panmure Gordon, which expects the company to confirm estimates for the current year.

"Misys is likely to suggest that, whilst trading remains tough, it has seen a recent improvement in the sales pipeline at its treasury and capital markets and banking divisions," the broker said. "The turnaround has been dramatic ... and Misys is configured to deliver a positive earnings surprise in an improving [macroeconomic] environment, yet operationally the short term remains uncertain and Bankfusion delivery is dragging."

Results/updates: Motivcom, Thomas Cook, Man, Smiths Group, Misys and Marks & Spencer.

THURSDAy: Numis expects a strong update from Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland, which is due to post a third-quarter interim management statement. Like-for-like sales (up 7 per cent in the first half) and margins are likely to remain resilient. "The risk to forecasts for 2009 should be on the upside, given that they assume just 5 per cent like-for-like sales growth and a 90 basis point margin reduction in the second half," the broker said.

"At present, we are forecasting 16 per cent earnings per share growth in 2009, but believe around 25 per cent growth could be achievable."

Results/updates: Trading Emissions and Domino's Pizza UK & Ireland.

FRIDAY: Results/updates – Helphire.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?