Week ahead in business and finance

Ocado

Monday

Full-year results

MJ Gleeson

Trading update

Dairy Crest

Economics

CPI (EZ)

Tuesday

The focus at Ocado is shifting from bagging overseas contracts to executing them.

The FTSE 100 firm’s shares have surged after striking deals to supply its automated warehouses to companies in France, Canada, Sweden and the US. City analysts now expect the flow of deals to slow.

Investors will be looking for “a progress report on the relationship with Morrisons and updates on the international licensing deals, especially in France, where Groupe Casino and Ocado have begun work on the first customer fulfilment centre”, according to AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.

Ocado Group
Day
13:0014:0015:0016:0017:00900,0910,0920,0930,0Previous close: 914.8935.6-1,20%
1 week
-5.44%
1 mth
-12.50%
3 mths
-11.12%
YTD
133%
1 year
209%
Last
924.4
Change
+9.6
+ /  %
1.05%
Time
17:30:15

Private hospital operator Spire Healthcare admitted last month that it had been hit hard by NHS spending cutbacks, warning investors that profits will be “materially lower”.

The NHS uses Spire to help make up for staff and bed shortages but has been reducing its referrals to private companies to save money.

Its shares are languishing close to a record low and could sink further if new signs of NHS belt tightening flagged in August continue.

Full-year results

PureCircle

Interim results

Spire Healthcare

Trading update

Ocado

AGM

Northgate

Wednesday

B&Q owner Kingfisher’s summer sales sizzled after the hottest heatwave in four decades prompted Britons to buy hose pipes, sprinklers and paddling pools.

But after a strong summer the struggling turnaround at the FTSE 100 company on both sides of the Channel will be back under investors’ microscope.

“Despite the fact we’re now over halfway through a five year turnaround plan, there’s been little to get excited about so far,” said George Salmon at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“Signs that it can boost the bottom line will be the key focus of these results.”

Interim results

Kingfisher

Trading update

Babcock International

AGM

Games Workshop

Economics

Inflation data (UK), House price index (UK), Housing starts (US), New car registrations (EZ), Construction output (EZ)

Thursday

Short-sellers are circling construction outsourcer Kier Group ahead of its full-year figures with 18pc of its shares in the hands of hedge funds.

The construction contractor has drawn unflattering comparisons with collapsed peer Carillion but house broker Liberum has vigorously defended the firm.

Analyst Joe Brent argued that “even a very harsh assessment suggests that leverage is affordable, as long as trading holds up”.

Full-year results

Kier Group

Trading update

IG Group

AGM

Auto Trader, Diageo

Economics

Retail sales (UK), Existing home sales (US), Consumer confidence (EZ)

Friday

Engineering group Smiths Group ending merger talks with ICU Medical will be back under the market’s microscope on Friday.

The company ended discussions last week over a merger of its medical division with its US peer, arguing that it “was important that such a combination did not undervalue Smiths Medical and its prospects”.

The division is the largest in Smiths and the proposed break-up would make the company a more industrial-focused business.

Full-year results

Smiths Group

Interim results

SIG

Economics

Public sector net borrowing (UK), Composite PMI index (US & EZ)

Economic week ahead

After rows about what the UK economy can expect in the event of a no deal Brexit, there is set to be slightly less excitement from the Bank of England this week.

The main event will be Andy Haldane, the chief economist, discussing how to avert the next financial crisis.

Threadneedle Street will be paying close attention to the figures on price growth which will be unveiled on Wednesday.

Economists expect inflation to cool from 2.5pc to 2.4pc. This would be good news amid still relatively weak wage growth, alleviating the squeeze on Britain’s households.

Following poor results from retail giants including John Lewis, and the end of World Cup fever, retail sales are expected to drop off in data published on Thursday. Forecasts are for a fall from 3.5pc to 2.3pc growth, excluding fuel figures.

 And after talking up fears about the likely £80bn fiscal hole in the event of no-deal Brexit, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond will be hoping for good news when the latest update for the public finances is revealed on Friday.  It is a key pre-budget marker.

[“Source-telegraph”]