THE TIPSTER | Diageo set to toast sales

THE international spirits maker and brewer, Diageo, will report earnings on Thursday. Currently on the cusp of buying Jose Cuervo tequila, the share price has increased by 13 per cent over the last six months and 50 per cent year-on-year. As with its last earnings report, it appears that the majority of revenue for the company will emanate from emerging markets. Operating profit before exceptional, one-off costs should be more than £3.1bn against nearly £2.3bn last year. CMC’s price for Diageo is 1694.65-1698.36p.

UK retail darling, Marks & Spencer, has seen its share price close higher for six consecutive weeks. This follows a torrid period from mid-March, where the stock fell from 390p to 310p in early July. Poor second quarter results showed a decline of 2.8 per cent in like-for-like sales, triggering the exit of Kate Bostock, the executive director of general merchandise. The recent rally in M&S shares has been on speculation that a £6bn bid is in the offing. However, the share price has spent the majority of the last three years trading in a range of 300p to 400p. GFT’s latest price is 365.14-365.95p.

Virgin Rail may have lost its franchise for the West Coast mainline, however its partner, Stagecoach Group, has held up well. A diversified services portfolio means that it will still be in the rail business along with other transport ventures. The upcoming interim management statement may help propel the share price beyond the 52-week high. Interactive Markets quotes 297.7-298.5p for Stagecoach.

BSkyB is a company favoured by investors. The company recently learned that it does not have to offer its flagship sports package at a discount, after winning an appeal against industry regulator Ofcom. The stock has rallied ever since News Corp dropped its takeover bid and, at a price of 770p, there is notable upside potential. Spread Co quotes 767.2-768.2p for BSkyB.