Week ahead: Brexit expected to knock GDP and earnings

Billy Bambrough
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Oil Giant BP Reports Third Quarter Profits
Last week nearly 60 per cent of shareholders voted against a £14m pay package for chief executive of BP Bob Dudley in a year in which it reported record losses, cut thousands of jobs and froze its employees’ pay (Source: Getty)

Concerns over Britain leaving the European Union are expected to have weighed on gross domestic product (GDP) over the first quarter of 2016.

Economists are expecting to see growth cooled to 0.4 per cent in the last three months, when the latest numbers are released on Wednesday. In the fourth quarter of last year the economy expanded 0.6 per cent.

The FTSE 100 ended lower on Friday after manufacturing data in the eurozone and in the US missed forecasts. Markit’s purchasing managers’ index on Eurozone manufacturing fell to 51.5 in April from 51.6 in March, falling short of estimates of 51.9 but still over the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index ended down 1.1 per cent at 6,310.44 points, ending a three-week stretch of gains and slipping from a four-month high reached just a few days previously.

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The UK earnings season revs up this week, bringing numbers from some of the UK’s big banks, energy companies and retailers.

Tomorrow Costa Coffee owner Whitbread will be hoping to turn a corner following a difficult 12 months when it reports its full-year results.

Chief executive Alison Brittain has had a tough time since she took over at Whitbread from her long-serving predecessor Andy Harrison late last year. The analyst consensus estimate suggests Whitbread will this week post a rise in adjusted annual pre-tax profits to £535m, from £488.1m a year earlier. Its shares have fallen more than 14 per cent since Brittain took charge and are down more than 26 per cent in the past year as sales growth fell and results came in under expectations.

First quarter results for BP will also be announced Tuesday, after almost 60 per cent of shareholders revolted against a £14m pay package for the company’s chief executive last week. Analysts will be keen to see how much the recent upswing in the oil price has improved the situation for multinational oil firm.

Read more: More proof business had a terrible start to 2016

Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered are all set to release their first quarter earnings this week, with HSBC reporting in a weeks time. Like their US counterparts, all are expected to have been hit by bad debt, poor investment banking performance and uncertainty around Brexit.

Other results to watch out for include online retailer Boohoo.com tomorrow, Argos owner Home Retail on Wednesday, and biotech company Shire on Friday.

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