Rio Tinto to dominate week amid thin corporate calender

Many heavyweight companies have reported and there are signs of things tailing off as we head towards August bank holiday. However, that is not to say that the corporate calendar will not give the market plenty to digest.<br /><br />Car dealers <strong>Pendragon</strong> and <strong>Lookers</strong> will give some insight into the effectiveness of the government&rsquo;s car scrappage scheme, while <strong>Rio Tinto</strong>, employment and real estate firms will also give investors something to think about.<br /><br />Global recruiter <strong>Michael Page</strong> reports its interims today. The firm has already pre-announced that half-year earnings will be around &pound;6m, but investors will want to know more about the company&rsquo;s outlook for the rest of the year. <br /><br />Numis notes that year-on-year comparatives are about to get much easier but that &ldquo;evidence of a demand-led recovery is needed to provide the next leg of the re-rating process, and this remains some way off&rdquo;.<br /><br />Car dealer <strong>Pendragon</strong> will be in the spotlight tomorrow, and broker Panmure Gordon said it expects revenue to decline and adjusted pre-tax profit to plunge to &pound;5m from &pound;13.4m a year earlier.<br /><br /><strong>British Land</strong> will report its first-quarter results and the market will be watching for any news on potential acquisitions and a further update on the group&rsquo;s strategy. <br /><br />Wednesday will see the second car dealer of the week, <strong>Lookers</strong>, report its interims. In this case, Panmure analysts are expecting a strong set of figures, with a slight rise in profit to &pound;15.9m, despite a revenue decline.<br /><br />&ldquo;In terms of cash generation/balance sheet, we would expect debt reduction to be on track to hit our &pound;60.2m post placing net debt estimate, implying gearing levels of 52 per cent and a healthy net debt/EBITDA of x1.3,&rdquo; the broker said.<br /><br />Also on Wednesday, <strong>John Menzies</strong> and <strong>Hochschild</strong> mining will post quarterly updates.<br /><br />Thursday will see <strong>Rio Tinto</strong> report its interim results and, being the week&rsquo;s only FTSE 100 stock to give an update, the market will likely take notice.<br /><br />UBS is forecasting underlying earnings of US$2,756m for the period, down from US$5,475m. <br /><br />The broker expects a number of items to be included in the underlying earnings, such as impairment charges to the Alcan Packaging business, and the US$195m break fee on the Chinalco deal. <br /><br />Rio management indicated at the time of the capital raising in June 2009 that the company would not be paying an interim dividend. <br /><br /><strong>Wellstream</strong> will also post six-monthly figures, and it expected to show that it has been cash generative in the period, including the payment of dividends.<br /><br /><strong>Cineworld Group, IP Group</strong> and <strong>ProStrakan</strong> are also due to report their interims.<br /><br /><strong>Rightmove</strong> will update the market on its first six months on Friday. Numis analysts expect &ldquo;a good set of interim results underpinned by preliminary signs of improvement in the UK housing market&rdquo;.