UK firms set for busy week of trading reports

THE UK’s corporate calendar is packed this week as many of Britain’s biggest companies deliver their results before the month’s end.

Both AstraZeneca and Royal Dutch Shell are set to give full-year results on Thursday, while British Sky Broadcasting, Haynes Publishing and Rank Group will give interim reports.

Trading announcements are also expected that day from Gem Diamonds, Brewin Dolphin, Enterprise Inns, Babcock International Group, Investec, Mitchells and Butlers and Great Portland Estates.

The busy reporting week starts today with final figures from Amino Technologies, Porvair, SThree and Telefonica, plus trading announcements from Aveva Group and Mitie Group.

Tomorrow’s news includes an interim report from consumer goods giant PZ Cussons and trading updates from Carpetright, British Land, The Paragon Group, National Grid, William Hill and Hyder Consulting.

On Wednesday Safestore Holdings will give its year-end figures while United Utilities and Imperial Tobacco will make trading announcements.

On Friday telecoms group BT, banknote printer De La Rue and sweetener manufacturer Tate & Lyle are expected to update their investors.

Ishaq Siddiqi, of ETX Capital Markets, was bullish about the expected earnings.

“This week will be the busiest week for European earnings and following on from the better-than-expected earnings we have seen Stateside, expectations are building from a similar showing from European blue-chips,” he said.

On the economics front, the week includes the release of Nationwide housing figures on Thursday.

Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said: “We expect house price data to be released during the week by the Nationwide to show that prices were flat month-on-month in January, which would leave them down by 0.7 per cent year-on-year. Latest data from the Nationwide show that house prices edged down 0.1 per cent month-on-month in December having been flat in November.”

On Wednesday, mortgage approval and lending figures will reveal whether the sluggish house buying market is coming back to life.

Friday sees the release of Markit manufacturing figures for both the UK and Europe, giving a glimpse of how private sector manufacturing is faring. Economists are hoping it will be more good news after UK manufacturing activity rose to a 15-month high in December. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) edged up to 51.4 in December, up from 49.2 in November and above the 50 reading which shows growth.