Share Talk Stocks – Market Announcements Commencing 31st August 2021

A short trading week after Bank Holiday will see the peak results on Wednesday. However, the City slows down towards the weekend as it eases into September.

After a few weeks of financial updates from this sector, more housebuilders are now on the agenda. We will also hear from Melrose, Bunzl, and 888.

This week is expected to be rich in economic data with lots of PMI readings, and figures on job growth from the UK and US.

Bunzl PLC (LSE:BNZL), the specialist international distribution and services group, releases interims on Wednesday and may have something to add to the rapidly unfolding driver shortages story.

The group did not mention any logistical issues in its June pre-close statement, other than an indirect reference to “continuing pandemic related challenges”.

The first half’s underlining revenue is expected to be 6% more than that of the comparable period in 2019. Due to COVID-19-related orders, the group adjusted operating margin for this half will be almost 1% higher than the one achieved in the first quarter of 2019.

888 Holdings (LSE:888) PLC, the online betting and gaming firm, is in a line of business that thrived during lockdown so the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions might not have been greeted by management with unalloyed joy. More information will be revealed in the interims on Wednesday.

The board was pleased with the results of the second quarter. This is due to continued momentum and favourable exchange rate movements. However, the company stated that it “remains conscious of the potential effect of greater than usual seasonality in summer post-COVID-19 and retail and leisure venues opening across international markets reopening across all global markets and the previously disclosed expected impacts of regulatory and compliance modifications, which are weighted towards the second half of year.”

Average daily revenues in the UK fell by 20% between 17 May (when UK leisure and retail venues reopened) and 7 July (when the group presented a second-quarter trading update). Analysts will therefore be interested to see if this trend continues throughout July and August.

John Menzies (LSE:MNZS) will update investors with its interim results in mid-week, coming after a trading announcement where it said it was trading ahead of market expectations.

Peel Hunt says that although there are regional variations, the weakest ground services in Europe are the most notable. However, this is compensated by trade elsewhere, which is driven by new business opportunities, strong cargo performance, tight cost management, and additional support from governments.

The broker stated that “Commercially the first half of the year was very strong” and was significantly better than last year.

“Pre-IFRS 16 net debt was PS183mln at 30 June (31 December 2020, PS216mln), and total liquidity was at PS187mln. This is a significant headroom compared to a covenant level at PS45mln. Menzies should be able to earn higher returns due to the rationalization of the portfolio and a restructured cost base.

Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV) will release its finals on Wednesday, where investors will focus on the outlook statement since we already have an idea of what the full year might look like.

The full-year underlying pretax profit is expected at PS899mln, which is the high-end market expectation. This is based on a strong recovery in completion volumes which are expected to be around 3.4% higher than before the crisis.

Analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown stated that the FTSE 100 group is facing ongoing build cost inflation at 3-4%.

Demand expectations will also be a key focus.

Analysts stated that the “stamp duty holiday” and the pandemic lifestyle changes had lit a fire under housing market.

“The government remains committed to supporting housing markets with things such as 95% mortgages. This makes it more affordable for people with small deposits and makes buying a home more affordable. As some of the headwinds from the past eighteen months diminish, demand will likely decrease.

Berkeley will release a trading update Friday that covers the first four months in its financial year. This update will be presented alongside the annual general meeting of shareholders. Investors will vote on a capital return of PS509mln for the fiscal year ending April 2022 via share buybacks, dividends, and a “B share” scheme.

Berkeley will issue shares and then repurchase or cancel them. This leaves the owners with a taxable loss rather than dividends which would be subject to income tax.

The housebuilder previously stated that it would distribute at least PS281mln annually to shareholders through buybacks, dividends, and dividends up to April 2025. This was helped by a net cash pile of PS1.1bn as of April 2021.

Analysts at AJ Bell believe that the market will be interested in information about the cash pile and comments on forward sales. These were PS1.8bn a Year Ago and PS1.7bn April.

Thursday will also include Melrose’s half-year results, which are expected to paint a grim picture for at least some of its segments.

The problems caused by the global shortage of semi-conductors are weighing down the largest division, Automotive. Meanwhile, the aviation businesses which heavily rely on commercial air travel will likely be severely disrupted.

Analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown believe that margins are a bright spot because the manufacturer has been keeping them under tight control. The operating margins will be approximately 5.6% for the entire year, an increase of 3.9% from last year.

Monday in the UK is a bank holiday so only dedicated UK traders will be interested US pending home sales. They are expected to fall 1.9% in July, after falling 2.2% in June.

Tuesday will see the publication of the Nationwide Housing Prices Index for the UK. This index is expected to show a slight cooling in the overheated UK housing market.

Economists predict that prices will rise 10.2% compared to a year ago, which is down from the 10.5% increase in the previous month.

The final Markit/CIPS Manufacturing purchasing manufacturers’ index (PMI), will be 60.1, which is down slightly from 60.4.

The Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI will follow it on Friday. The final reading is expected to be 55.5 compared with July’s readings of 59.6.

For the week ending on September 3, expect significant announcements

Monday, 30 August
Finals Base Resources plc

Tuesday, 31 August
InterimsCentralnic plc

Economic data nationwide House Price Index, US consumer Confidence

Wednesday 1 September:
FinalsArcontech Group PLC (AIM:ARC)

Interims 888 Holdings(LSE:888) PLC, Johnson Service PLC, Menzies PLC,Petropavlovsk PLC (LSE:POG), PPHE Hotel Group Ltd,Bunzl PLC (LSE:BNZL), Melrose PLC

Economic data PMI for manufacturing in the UK and US

Thursday, 2 September
Finals Barratt Developments (LSE:BDEV)

Interims  Limited Gem Diamonds (LSE:GEMD) (Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited (LSE:GKP) (Inspired PLC(AIM:INSE) (Wentworth Resources PLC (AIM:WEN)

Trade updatesBerkeley Group (LSE:BKG)

FTSE 100 ex-dividends to reduce index by 15.83 points

Glencore PLC (LSE:GLEN) Admiral Group(LSE:ADM) BHP Group PLC(LSE:BHP) Antofagasta PLC(LSE:ANTO)

Economic data initial jobless claims in the USA

Friday, September 3:
FinalsAllergy Therapeutics PLC(AIM:AGY)

Economic data UK/US services PMI, US non-farm payrolls, US unemployment rate

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