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Next week on the stock market

We take a look at 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;

  • AG Barr will fill in some of the details after an informative trading statement.
  • Next's product mix will reveal whether consumers are prepping for relaxed restrictions.
  • Royal Mail looks to build on an already strong start to 2021.

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

29-Mar
No FTSE 350 Reporters
30-Mar
AG Barr* Full Year Results
Imperial Brands* Trading Statement
Pennon* Trading Statement
Royal Mail* Pre-Close Trading Statement
31-Mar
3I Infrastructure Pre-Close Trading Statement
01-Apr
Next* Full Year Results
02-Apr
No FTSE 350 Reporters

*Companies on which we will be writing research.

AG Barr – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

Unlike rivals such as Fevertree or Coca-Cola, IRN BRU maker AG Barr’s products are not especially popular in bars and restaurants. Instead, most sales come from retail stores. This has meant bar and restaurant closures during lockdowns have had a more muted impact on the group than on some competitors, though cocktail brand Funkin has seen sales hit hard.

However, as fewer of us have been out and about, on-the-go impulse purchases have fallen and those usually account for about 40% of sales. AG Barr will need these sales to return as society normalises, so commentary on recent trading and brand strength will be of particular interest.

AG Barr said in a trading statement that revenue is expected to be around £227m, compared with £255.7m last year. Operating margins are expected to be roughly equal to last year, meaning operating profit will be better than markets had expected. Given margins of 14.9% last year, this means operating profit should be around £34m. However, there are sure to be several underlying items in the books, such as write downs and a one-off, as-yet unknown, compensation payment for the termination of AG Barr’s agreement to distribute Rockstar in the UK.

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Next – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

Profits will be the focus of Next’s full-year results as the retailer flexes its strong inventory management skills to spin hay into gold. A 12% reduction in excess inventory in the end-of-season sale should prop margins up – though the fact that the clearance had to be moved online could make the sale less profitable. The group is expected to report full-year profits before tax of £370m, reflecting an uptick in sales through the end of the year.

If there’s one thing we are relatively sure about it’s that Next will be on track to hit its 2021 sales forecast – the group cast a wide net guiding for somewhere between a 4% rise and a 3.5% fall. It wouldn’t be surprising to see full-year sales growth in the red throughout the first half.

Given the wide guidance range forward-looking statements will be top of mind, particularly with store reopenings approaching. Last year we saw a shift away from work and occasion wear amid lockdowns, but the hope of relaxed restrictions could see Next’s product mix start to normalize, ultimately helping overall full-price sales growth.

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Royal Mail – Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst

A trading update earlier in March confirmed the Christmas surge in letters and parcels has continued into early 2021. Together with lower restructuring costs that led to an upgrade in full year operating profit guidance.

Unsurprisingly the news went down well with the market. With detail about current trading already in the public domain it could make for an uneventful pre-close trading update next Tuesday, at least in terms of current revenue numbers.

Instead the focus will be firmly on the future, potential cost saving, investment requirements and outlook for future trading. With capital expenditure likely to rise over the coming years free cash flow could come under pressure, which wouldn’t bode well for future dividends. While these details are likely to be saved for the full year results in May, any hints next week will be closely scrutinised.

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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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    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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