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Next week on the stock market

What to expect from a selection of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected overseas shares reporting next week.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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Once again we should start this article with a couple of words about the calendar. Thanks to the upheaval that’s going on some companies are chopping and changing the dates on which they release their results. Added to that we’re still getting plenty of updates from the market that aren’t scheduled at all.

So while we’ve done our best to compile these dates, please keep in mind these are always subject to change – and that’s particularly true at the moment.

Among those currently scheduled to release results:

  • Associated British Foods should be able to show cost savings are on track, as Primark stores remain closed
  • Subscriber numbers will be the one to watch at Netflix, and global lockdowns could mean good news
  • boohoo should let us know what the pandemic is doing to sales

FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other stocks scheduled to report next week

BHP Q3 Operational Review
Polymetal Q1 Production Results
Associated British Foods* Half Year Results
Centamin Q1 Results
Coca-Cola* Q1 Results
Integrafin Q2 Trading Update
Jupiter Fund Management Q1 Trading Statement
London Stock Exchange Group Q1 Trading Statement
Netflix* Q1 Results
Quilter Q1 Flow Update
Snap* Q1 Results
Antofagasta Q1 Production Report
boohoo* Full Year Results
CRH Q1 Trading Statement
Fevertree* Full Year Results
Heineken* Q1 Trading Update
AJ Bell Q2 Trading Update
Anglo American Q1 Production Report
Meggitt Q1 Trading Statement
Relx Q1 Trading Statement
Tullow Oil* Trading Statement
Unilever* Q1 Trading Statement
Nestle* Q3 Results
Rotork Trading Statement
Verizon* Q1 Results

*Companies on which we will be writing research.

Associated British Foods

The last we heard from ABF, all 376 of its Primark stores across 12 countries were closed following international lockdowns. That’s not something we expect to have changed by next week. But it means we’ll be looking out for commentary on cost savings instead.

During the disruption the group thinks it can recover 50% of its operating costs. We made retail operating costs about £575m a month last year and it would be good to have confirmation savings are on track. We’d also like to know if the group’s been applying pressure to landlords – rent is a separate cost to business rates, and one the government is waiving for the year. It would make sense to try and lop some extra names off the list of IOUs.

The group’s fortunate in some ways because about 35% of its profit comes from its various food businesses. When we last heard these had been largely unaffected by the outbreak. Of these divisions sugar’s the most important, and following good progress in recent months we have reason to suspect there could be more positive news.

These alternative sources of revenue are likely behind ABF’s decision to keep the dividend. But investors should be prepared for the possibility that this could change. With so much uncertainty about the length of lockdowns, the board may decide distributing surplus cash to shareholders isn’t the most prudent move.

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Rival streaming service Disney+ has gained 50m subscribers since launching five months ago, helped by the fact millions of us are stuck at home. That bodes well for Netflix’s subscriber growth.

In the first quarter of last year Netflix’s paid subscriptions grew just over 25%, and we’re very intrigued to see how the pandemic has swayed the numbers this year. Subscriber growth is particularly important because the business model demands that Netflix builds scale and spreads costs over a larger customer base. Increased competition from the likes of Disney and Amazon Prime makes that trickier, and we’ve already seen higher levels of churn in the core US market.

In order to keep its hard-won customers happy, and to attract new ones, Netflix spends billions on content every year, meaning it burns through cash. As things stand it’s able to plug the hole with debt secured on favourable terms. But if performance were to disappoint, this could change.

Netflix’s dominant market position should hold it in good stead – and swathes of people with nothing to do but watch telly should in theory mean good news next week. But, as ever, investors should pay particular attention to the impact of competition. A price to earnings ratio of 60.2 means there’s pressure on the group to stay ahead of the pack, and the share price could be sensitive to a loss of momentum.

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As an online-only retailer boohoo is in a much better position than its bricks and mortar counterparts, as it can continue to trade. But that’s not to say the pandemic won’t be causing problems. Rival ASOS said in recent weeks sales had fallen 20 – 25%. That’s hardly surprising - it’s hard to find many reasons to buy a new outfit at the moment.

But boohoo’s financial year started long before the current disruption, and we’ll be interested to hear how trading was going before the world changed. In particular, growth in the US is important for the group’s long-term prospects so any news on expansion plans and sales growth are the things to watch.

In terms of the outlook for the current financial year, we suspect the uncertainty means boohoo will refrain from giving specific guidance. But we wouldn’t be surprised to hear of plans to preserve cash, including things like reining in spending and halting supply orders.

The shares have fallen around 14% since early March, reflecting concerns around the full impact of coronavirus. The shares still trade on a relatively high price to earnings ratio though, which means it’s important for boohoo to live up to expectations.

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Unless otherwise stated estimates, including prospective yields, are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Thomson Reuters. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Yields are variable and not guaranteed. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Investments rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment. No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment. This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication. Non-independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place (including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing. Please see our full non-independent research disclosure for more information.

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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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