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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:

  • Whitbread will reveal whether it’s got enough cash to pounce on the May reopening.
  • J Sainsbury will hope to finish the year on a high after a better-than-expected Q3.
  • Lloyds gives us a taste of what’s going on with banks’ bad loans, borrowing profitability and balance sheets.

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

Pearson* First Quarter Trading Statement
Tesla* First Quarter Results
Alphabet* First Quarter Results
AVEVA Full Year Results
BP* First Quarter Results
HSBC* First Quarter Results
IWG First Quarter Results
Microsoft* Third Quarter Results
PZ Cussons Trading Statement
Visa* Second Quarter Results
Vivo Energy First Quarter Trading Statement
Whitbread* Full Year Results
Apple* Second Quarter Results
British American Tobacco* AGM Statement
CRH First Quarter Trading Statement
Dixons Carphone* Full Year Pre-Close Trading Statement
Facebook* First Quarter Results
Fresnillo First Quarter Production Update
GlaxoSmithKline* First Quarter Results
J Sainsbury* Full Year Results
Lloyds Banking Group* First Quarter Interim Management Statement
Network International Payment Solutions First Quarter Trading Statement
Persimmon* Trading Statement
Reckitt Benckiser* First Quarter Trading Statement
Spotify* First Quarter Results
WPP* First Quarter Trading Statement
Amazon* First Quarter Results
Computacenter First Quarter Trading Statement
ConvaTec First Quarter Trading Statement
DS Smith* Pre-Close Trading Statement
Evraz First Quarter Trading Statement
Flutter First Quarter Trading Statement
Glencore First Quarter Production Update
Howden Joinery First Quarter Trading Statement
Inchcape First Quarter Trading Statement
Indivior First Quarter Results
Kaz Minerals First Quarter Interim Management Statement
Lancashire Holdings First Quarter Trading Statement
McDonald's* First Quarter Results
Meggitt First Quarter Trading Statement
Natwest* First Quarter Interim Management Statement
Royal Dutch Shell* First Quarter Results
Schroders First Quarter Trading Statement
Smith & Nephew First Quarter Trading Statement
St. James's Place First Quarter New Business Statement
Standard Chartered* First Quarter Results
Synthomer First Quarter Trading Statement
Unilever* First Quarter Trading Statement
Weir Group First Quarter Interim Management Statement
AstraZeneca* First Quarter Results
Barclays* First Quarter Results
Hikma Pharmaceuticals Trading Statement
Rotork Trading Statement
Smurfit Kappa First Quarter Trading Statement

*Companies on which we will be writing research.

Whitbread – Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

It’s been a miserable year for hotel chains, but Premier Inn owner Whitbread has managed to keep its head above water while waiting for the end of lockdown. The group’s financial year finished at the end of February, so the past week’s worth of loosened restrictions won’t be visible yet. We can say with some certainty the results will make for tough reading - there’s no way to dress up nearly a year’s worth of shuttered hotels and restaurants.

Cash will therefore be the metric to watch. The group raised £1.0bn in June and had £814.9m left at the end of December. Whitbread has been marching forward with expansion plans in Germany despite the challenging conditions, a strategy which could pay off as long as the world starts to normalise within expected timescales. If the group managed to get through the past three months without draining too much of its savings, it could be in a stronger position to capitalise on pent-up demand when UK hotels re-open in late April and May.

We’ll also be looking for management to offer some updates on reopening plans as well. The return of international business travel is essential if Whitbread is to make a full recovery, but we expect domestic travel to pick up some of the slack for now, as it did during breaks from restrictions last year. Just how much of the slack remains to be seen, and for that reason it will be important to keep an eye out for talk of recent booking rates and demand.

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J Sainsbury, Sophie Lund-Yates, Equity Analyst

Sainsbury’s full price sales did better than expected in the third quarter, which means expectations will be high as it reports full year results. We also wonder if the supermarket has managed to sustain the huge increase in demand for online orders. With lockdowns still in place for much of the final quarter, we suspect there could be positive news on this front.

The group said it expects to bring in £330m of underlying pre-tax profit for the full year. That includes the repayment of £410m of business rate relief. Profits have been held back by a huge ramp up in pandemic-related costs, so we’ll be paying close attention to the outlook statement. If the group decides to further accelerate its digital capacity, in response to increased online demand, it could mean margins are squeezed in the medium term.

Argos is also worth attention. The pandemic expedited restructuring plans, which came with hefty costs – increasing execution risk. General merchandise is more exposed to the ups and downs of the economy too, because it’s not essential like food shopping. We wonder if the consumer base has started to flinch.

See the J Sainsbury share price, charts and how to deal

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Lloyds Banking Group – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

We see three big questions for Lloyds, and all UK banks, this year.

Firstly, have bad loans remained modest? The banking sector set aside billions in provisions for bad loans when the pandemic hit – expecting a significant increase in defaults. But thanks to massive government support, bad loans have been lower than some expected. If that continues, not only will loan impairments be low this year, but some historic provisions could be released, boosting profits.

Secondly what has happened to interest rate margins? Net interest margins essentially measure the profitability of lending. We know the Bank of England’s decision to cut rates early in the crisis affected the profitability of lending for Lloyds. However, a hot mortgage market suggests the group may have been able to increase profitability more recently.

Finally, what does the bank plan to do with its formidable capital pile? Having been forced to suspend dividends last year, and restricted in what it could pay out at the full year, Lloyds is practically awash with capital. That gives it lots of options, including dividends, acquisitions and buybacks. The bank has so far said it intends to pay a “progressive dividend” but from what level is unclear – a conservative dividend payment would open the door to alternative uses of the spare capital currently sitting on the group’s balance sheet.

See the Lloyds Banking Group share price, charts and how to deal

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Author Nicholas Hyett owns shares in Lloyds Banking Group.

Unless otherwise stated estimates are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Past performance is not a guide to the future. Investments and income they produce can 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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