Monday February 29
Insurer Hiscox is expected to post a drop of more than 10pc in pre-tax profits for 2015 and slash its special dividends today. The anticipated fall in profits comes despite another year of benign claims, with the special dividend being hit by an attempt to maintain a prudent capital buffer under Solvency II.
In the nine months to September 30, gross written premiums grew by 12.9pc to £1.5bn as a result of strong insurance lines in the US and London market.
While the group said it benefited from “good risk selection and a lack of storms, floods and hurricanes” in its management statement in November, it is likely to be bruised by severe flooding during the winter months.
Full-year results: Keller Group, WH Ireland, Cairn Homes, Senior, Hiscox
Economics: M4 money supply, mortgage approvals
Tuesday March 1
Equipment rental group Ashtead will post its third-quarter results tomorrow and investors will be keen to find out, how the US market is faring, with fears of a recession there. However, despite these worries, Jefferies believes the FTSE 100 group will post moderate construction growth, buoyed by commercial activity.
The energy downturn has hit some firms, but US non-residential construction rose 8.3pc last year. The share price has been bruised by read-across from its US peer, United Rentals, when it reported falling fourth-quarter revenue.
But analysts believe the reaction was overdone, with Numis pointing to rental revenue growth of 20pc in the past year. Ashtead’s US unit, Sunbelt, is expected to post a 20pc jump in rental revenue in the third quarter yielding pre-tax profits of £134.1m.
Full-year results: Fresnillo, Direct Line Insurance, Just Eat, Moneysupermarket, Barclays, Greggs, Glencore
Interim results: MySale Group, Ashtead Group
Economics: Unemployment rate (EU), PMI manufacturing (UK and US)
Wednesday March 2
Last week, STV, which has the ITV1 franchise in Scotland, posted its full-year results and during its presentation managers alluded to a solid 2016 for ITV advertising revenues. They also said audience declines in ITV1 had mitigated in the final six months of 2015.
Data from the BARB on audience share for the six weeks to February 14 revealed ITV1’s audience share rose 8pc, compared with the previous year.
The comments boosted ITV ahead of its full-year results on Wednesday, when the market expects the group to post pre-tax profits of £825m and earnings per share of 16p. Analysts believe focus will shift to organic growth, specifically overseas, after the group was very acquisitive in studios last year.
The final quarter was dominated by Comcast bid speculation, which lifted the stock.
Full-year results: ITV, Intertek, Fisher James & Sons, Dignity, Laird Interim results Clinigen Trading update Stagecoach Group
Economics: Beige Book Fed Survey (US), PMI construction (UK)
Thursday March 3
A significant rise in profit commissions should boost Admiral’s pre-tax profits by around 5pc to £370m last year. Operating profit is anticipated to grow by 8pc, buoyed by the insurer’s UK motor unit, where a growth rate of 4pc has been forecast.
Recent data pointed to a strengthened upturn in UK motor insurance rates, which is set to put Admiral in a robust position to capture additional market share in the UK.
Its international business is loss-making, but analysts in the City believe it is heading towards profitability, with a boost in both its Italian and Spanish divisions.
Nick Johnson, of Numis, said: “We see good scope for earnings out performance and think the shares have further attractive upside.”
Full-year results: Whitbread, Travis Perkins, Inmarsat, Carillion, Admiral Group, Aggreko Trading update: McCarthy & Stone
Economics: PMI services (UK)
Friday March 4
Expect sales growth of around 3pc when WPP reports on its full-year results, while adverse foreign exchange movements are expected to weigh on margin by around 10 basis points. Despite a backdrop of slowing global growth, the group expects to deliver earnings per share growth of between 10pc and 20pc.
Earlier this month, boss of the multinational advertising group, Sir Martin Sorrell, reassured investors that the recent market turbulence had little impact. China is WPP’s third largest market, where it boasts a leading position.