The Week Ahead: Whitbread is ready to show its resilience

The hospitality group Whitbread, the company behind the Premier Inn budget hotel chain, should confirm its resilient performance through the downturn when it issues results for the 26 weeks to 27 August tomorrow.

But given the upbeat September trading statement, which prompted a rise in consensus forecasts, Whitbread is "unlikely to surprise again so soon", according to Citigroup. Indeed, the group's focus on the domestic market and its capex-heavy business model may limit growth as a recovery takes root, Citi said, adding that other operators may prove "more interesting longer term plays for the recovery".

Not everyone is as cautious, with Panmure Gordon recommending that investors continue pile into the stock, which has made strong gains since the September trading statement. "The key to further outperformance is the continuation of the slowly improving RevPar [revenue per available room] trend at Premier Inn evident in the second quarter," the broker said, adding that the valuation was further supported by a strong balance sheet.

Numis is also optimistic, and expects a "confident" outlook statement, while Barclays Capital, which last week switched its recommendation on the company's stock to "overweight" from "underweight", said the update may prompt another review of consensus forecasts. "We would recommend buying shares ahead of this event as we believe that the previously set full year pre tax profit guidance is likely to prove conservative and we expect consensus forecasts to be revised upwards again," Barclays said. "We also see some opportunity for the group to accelerate the Premier Inn expansion programme and believe that, to this end, there is a good chance of corporate activity over the next six to 12 months."

Today: Results/updates: None significant

Tomorrow: Results/updates: Bellway, Booker, Ferrexpo and Whitbread.

Wednesday: Experian is due to post a trading statement for the first half of the year, and UBS expects a marginal slowing in organic sales growth for the credit-rating company, with a flat performance in year on year terms. "We expect limited commentary from management on margins other than a reiteration of the aim to deliver constant currency profit growth," the broker said. "On outlook, the company should be mildly optimistic given the annualisation of the Lehman bankruptcy, which should mean easier year on year comparisons for the core credit-checking activities."

Also on Wednesday, Punch Taverns' preliminary results should be in line with expectations, according to Numis, with net income per pub down 11 per cent. "With the company paying down almost £1.1bn of debt last year, we believe profit before tax should start to stabilise in 2010," the broker said, adding that further disposals and debt reduction, and signs of stabilisation, should act as a positive shares catalyst.

Results/updates: N Brown, Burberry, Eaga, Rio Tinto, Punch Taverns and Experian

THursday: UBS is looking for a 6 per cent rise in assets under management at Ashmore, the investment manager which is due to post a trading update later this week, with the figure forecast to rise from $24.9bn (£15.7bn) at the end of June to $26.4bn at the end of September. The rise is likely to be driven by investment performance and foreign exchange gains, while net fund inflows are forecast to total around $100m.

"While our forecast for net fund inflows is minimal, any positive number should be well received by the market, as Ashmore suffered net fund outflows of $7.5bn in 2009," the broker said, adding that positive fund inflows "would show that the group has turned the corner".

Also on Thursday, retailerWH Smith is due to post preliminary results. Earnings per share should rise by 18 per cent to 41.6p, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which attributes its forecast to the share buybacks in 2008. Total sales are expected to rise to £1.35bn, up 0.4 per cent in year on year terms, with like for like sales down 4.4 per cent. "We forecast a net cash position of £33m, giving scope for higher dividend payouts or expansion going forward," the broker said. "We see upside risk to estimates given expected recent margins trends in the sector."

Results/updates: Partygaming, Mothercare, Renishaw, Uniq, WH Smith and Ashmore

Friday: Results/updates: Admiral, Clinton Cards, Chrysalis, Computacenter and NCC Group.

Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer was final surviving member of seminal punk band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

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

The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
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
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Yaya Touré has defended his posturing over his future at Manchester City
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
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
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
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

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