THE company reporting season gets into full swing this week, with a slew of companies issuing numbers including BP, Shell and BT to name just three FTSE 100 giants.
National Express, the rail and coach operator that recently became a takeover target after losing its franchise for the East Coast main line, reports on Thursday and markets will be waiting to see if it snubs a rumoured takeover approach from the Spanish Cosmen family and private equity firm CVC. It may also announce a separate bid from rival Stagecoach with the results.
The group, which is struggling after losing a key rail franchise, recently rebuffed an offer from rival FirstGroup. Motley Fool analyst David Kuo said the interim results are likely to “make interesting reading to say the least”.
Oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell issue half-year results on Tuesday and Thursday respectively.
With oil trading between $40 and $70 per barrel in the last six months, compared to between $90 and $140 in the same period of 2008, both are likely to disappoint markets.
“Their dividend payments should still be pretty juicy,” Kuo said.
BT Group, the telecommunications giant that continues to suffer due to poor performance at its Global Services division, is set to update the markets on its first-quarter trading on Thursday.
All eyes will be on Spain on Wednesday with European banking giant Banco Santander set to report solid first-half numbers.
The bank, which has largely defied the devastation of the credit crunch, has taken over Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester in the UK and has nearly 2m shareholders in this country.
Motor distributor Inchcape reports second-quarter profits on Wednesday, following its rights issue to reduce its debts from £400m to £100m. The profits are expected to be “significantly ahead” of the paltry £20m reported in the quarter to March, but still far below those seen in the same period last year.
Gas firm Centrica reports on Thursday, with a cold snap in February set to boost profits at its British Gas Residential unit. The firm could also update on its £1.3bn cash offer made for North Sea specialist Venture Production.
Nationwide issues house prices numbers today and on Wednesday the Building Societies Association issues mortgage approvals figures, adding a distinct housing flavour to this week’s economic data.