The week ahead in business and finance

easyjet

Low-cost carrier easyJet will release its latest trading update on Tuesday.  CREDIT: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG

Monday May 15

After Dignity, the UK’s only listed funeral company, cut its earnings guidance just two months ago, it is expected to enjoy a robust first quarter. Earnings before interest and tax are forecast to increase by around 8pc in quarter one to £33.5m, while sales are expected to rise by 6pc, analysts in the City said.

At its full year results released in March, the London-listed group lowered its medium-term target underlying earnings per share growth rate to 8pc. The company also said trading in the first few weeks of 2017 continued to be “strong”.

Interim results: Lonmin, Diploma, Victrex

Trading update: Dignity, Lonmin

AGM: React Group, Fidelity European Values, Microsaic Systems

Economics: Rightmove HPI m/m (UK), Empire State manufacturing index (US)

Tuesday May 16

The persistent weakness of the pound and a raging price war in Europe’s short-haul travel market are expected to hurt the low-cost carrier easyJet, when it unveils its first quarter trading update this week.

Despite the airline posting an 11.7pc rise in passenger numbers to 7.1m last month, analysts at Barclays said pricing has continued to be “very challenging” for Europe’s No 2 no-frills carrier, with foreign exchange headwinds effectively offsetting fuel gains. In January easyJet said it expects pre-tax profit for the 12 months to September 30 2017 to be hit  by £105m, an increase from the £90m drop flagged three months previously.

Full-year results: BTG, NewRiver Retail, Premier Foods, Vodafone Group, Speedy Hire

Interim results: Zytronic, Jackpotjoy, Avon Rubber

Trading update:CYBG, ITE Group, EI Group, easyJet, Manchester United, Crest Nicholson

AGM: Faron Pharmaceuticals, Xaar, IWG, Rockhopper Exploration

Economics: HPI y/y (UK), PPI input m/m (UK), CPI y/y (UK), RPI y/y (UK), CB Leading index m/m (UK), housing starts (US), building permits (US), industrial production m/m (US), NAHB housing market index (US), flash GDP q/q (EU), ZEW economic sentiment (EU), trade balance (EU), ZEW economic sentiment (GER)

Wednesday May 17

Expect the pub operator Mitchells & Butlers to post a 5pc fall in pre-tax profits to £78m for the first half of the year. The group, whose chains include Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One, posted like-for-like sales growth of 1.7pc in the first quarter, beating industry data which pointed to a 0.9pc increase in sales industry-wide.

Peel Hunt analyst Douglas Jack said: “We believe operational improvements and asset repositioning are starting to bear fruit.” The mid-cap company has attempted to improve profits by refurbishing its estate of more than 1,700 sites, rebranding assets, increasing marketing and targeting higher volumes of food sales with cheap deals.

Full-year results:JZ Capital Partners, SSE, C&C Group, British Land

Interims: Redx Pharma, Brewin Dolphin, Mitchells & Butlers, Countryside Properties, Patisserie Holdings

Trading update: Premier Oil, Coats Group

AGM: UBM, Meikles Limited, Tritax Big Box Reit, esure, Foxtons, Jupiter Fund Management, Cenkos Securities, Playtech, BP

Economics: Average earnings index 3m/y (UK), unemployment rate (UK), claimant count change (UK), final core CPI y/y (EU), final CPI y/y (EU)

Thursday May 18

The British dairy food company Dairy Crest’s year-end net debt is expected to be “somewhat” higher than the previous year as rising milk and cheese prices in the UK weigh on its figures.

Sales are expected to increase slightly, by £1m, year-on-year to £423m, while adjusted pre-tax profits for the year are expected to rise by 6pc to £61m, buoyed by robust sales for its key brands, Cathedral City, Country Life, Clover and Frylight.

Analyst Charles Hall of Peel Hunt said: “The cream price has been unhelpful but should drop back as milk volumes are increasing.”

Full-year results:Elektron, Investec, Royal Mail, National Grid, Land Securities, Booker Group, Burberry, Dairy Crest, Bloomsbury Publishing, 3i Group

Interim results: Marston’s, SSP Group, Euromoney Institutional Investor, Thomas Cook

Trading update: Rank Group, Hargreaves Lansdown, Balfour Beatty, Greggs, Cineworld, S&U

AGM: S&U, Learning Technologies Group, Prudential, Balfour Beatty, Safestyle UK,

Economics: Retail sales m/m (UK), Philly Fed manufacturing index (US), unemployment claims (US), CB leading index m/m (US)

Friday May 19

The drugmaker Hikma suffered a big setback last week after US regulators decided not to approve its generic copy of GlaxoSmithKline’s blockbuster lung drug Advair.

In March, Hikma, which bought Boehringer Ingelheim’s US generic drugs business last year, said it expected profitability in its growing generics drugs business to improve significantly this year.

However, Numis analyst Paul Cuddon cautioned: “Consensus forecasts may need to come down unless Hikma can significantly improve generic margins without Advair.”

Interim results:LightwaveRF, Grainger, Future

Trading update: Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Close Brothers

AGM: Hunters Property, John Laing Infrastructure Fund

Economics: CBI industrial order expectations (UK), current account (EU), consumer confidence (EU), PPI m/m (GER

[“Source-telegraph”]