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Next week on the stock market

What to expect from a selection of FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and selected other companies 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.

Among the companies reporting next week:

  • Direct Line will show us how the new strategy is progressing
  • Ibstock investors will be looking for a change in momentum after a slow finish to 2019
  • Eyes will be on capitalisation in Legal & General’s full year results

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

Hiscox Full Year Results
Senior Full Year Results
4imprint Full Year Results
Aggreko Full Year Results
Ashtead* Third Quarter Results
Direct Line* Full Year Results
Fresnillo Full Year Results
GoCo* Full Year Results
Greggs Full Year Results
Ibstock* Full Year Results
Intertek* Full Year Results
IWG Full Year Results
John Laing Full Year Results
Keller Full Year Results
Rotork Full Year Results
Signature Aviation Full Year Results
Travis Perkins Full Year Results
Elementis Full Year Results
Hill & Smith Full Year Results
Legal & General* Full Year Results
Vivo Energy Full Year Results
Admiral Full Year Results
Aviva* Full Year Results
Capita Full Year Results
Coats Full Year Results
Domino's Pizza Full Year Results
GVC Holdings* Full Year Results
ITV* Full Year Results
Melrose* Full Year Results
PageGroup Full Year Results
Premier Oil Full Year Results
Schroders Full Year Results
Spire Healthcare Full Year Results
Spirent Communications Full Year Results
Synthomer Full Year Results
SIG Full Year Results

*Companies on which we will be writing research.

Direct Line – Emilie Stevens, Equity Analyst

Direct Line’s third quarter results in November came alongside a strategy update.

CEO Penny James laid out a new approach focussed on leveraging new IT investments and bringing costs in line. Next week’s full year results will give us a first update on how the new changes are progressing.

Premiums were down 1.3% for the nine months to November, primarily reflecting weakness in the group’s Motor division which accounts for around half of total premiums. However, there were signs the division was turning around. Growth had returned in the third quarter and looked set to continue into the end of the year thanks to a strong performance from the Churchill brand on price comparison sites.

Direct Line has been seeing claims costs rise so it’s raised prices to compensate, making any growth that much more impressive. Investors will be hoping this has continued into the New Year.

See the latest Direct Line share price, charts and how to trade

Sign up for Direct Line updates

Ibstock – Emilie Stevens, Equity Analyst

Since we picked the UK’s leading brick manufacturer, Ibstock as one of our Five Shares to Watch in 2020 the group has released a single short trading update. It said that despite last year’s political and economic uncertainty Ibstock expects to deliver cash profits “broadly in line” with market expectations.

The group cautioned that construction activity had dropped in the second half of 2019, meaning the start of 2020 will likely be subdued. Sales were up mid-single digits for the year though. Investors will be hoping higher volumes and pricing upgrades have been sustained.

In November net debt stood near the bottom of the group’s target range at around £84m. While Ibstock is a cyclical business the strength of the balance sheet gives us confidence in its ability to withstand short term disruption.

See the latest Ibstock share price, charts and how to trade

Legal & General – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

The challenge for Legal & General in these results is to show that it can grow its bulk annuities business while still increasing the dividend. That might sound counterintuitive – after all growing sales is usually a good sign for the dividend, but insurance is a bit of an unusual case.

When an insurer writes an insurance contract, like an annuity, it’s required to hold a certain amount of capital against that contract. This helps to give customers and regulators certainty that the insurer can make good on its promises.

Recently Legal & General has been growing the portion of its business that works with final salary pension schemes. These so called bulk annuities, where Legal & General takes on responsibility for paying final salary pensions in return for an up-front sum, can be very profitable but they also require a lot of capital.

As well as new annuities increasing capital requirements, the value of existing capital reserves has fallen in value. That’s down to worries about the UK economy knocking the value of Legal & General’s investments in things like UK corporate bonds and property and lower interest rates. Lower capital ratios raise questions about whether a growing dividend payment can be sustained.

Generally we find the group’s mix of businesses quite attractive. And tend to take the view that the growing asset management business in particular helps to underpin the dividend. However, we’ll still be paying particular attention to the interaction between annuity sales and the Solvency Ratio (the key measure of an insurers capitalisations) next week.

See the latest Legal & General share price, charts and how to trade

Sign up for Legal & General updates

Nicholas Hyett holds shares in Legal & General.

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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