Companies reporting w/c 2 March

We give our thoughts on what to expect from companies announcing results week commencing 2 March 2020.

Tuesday

Ashtead Group Plc (Q3 2020 Earnings Release)

In this third quarter update the market will be focused mainly on the performance in the key US market but will also be taking note of any comment on the UK operations. Those are a smaller part of the business but in December the company warned on challenging conditions in the UK and said it was to take action to deal with it. The shares have brushed that off in recent times, reaching a new record high in the past two weeks.

We currently list Ashtead as a BUY

Intertek Group Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

The quality assurance and safety testing company is expected to report a reasonable set of numbers with revenues expected to be up around 7%. We may see some impact on the numbers from the trade dispute between the US and China but more worrying will be the outlook for the first quarter of 2020 as commodity demand slows due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

We currently list Intertek Group as a BUY

Wednesday

Legal & General Group Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

The group reported a good set of half year numbers as operating profits grew by 11% and with the management saying the retirement business is strong we can expect some of this to carry on into the second half. There may have been some impetus in the final quarter with funds flowing in following the end of the Brexit impasse and decisive General Election result lifting some market uncertainty, investors would expect assets under management to set new records. Events in the first couple of months may be just as interesting with possible floods claims in the UK and the market selloff from the Covid-19 spread hitting fees from funds under management.

We currently list Legal & General Group as a BUY

DS Smith Plc (Q3 2020 Sales and Revenue Release - Trading Update)

Interim results in December were in line with market expectations but in this third quarter update investors will be looking to see if the increased forecast has taken place yet following a drop in the first six months. The sale of the plastics division has been passed by the US Department of Justice, albeit with some conditions attached.

We currently list DS Smith as a BUY

Other companies reporting this day include Hill & Smith Holdings Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release) – BUY

Thursday

Aviva Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

Aviva has underperformed its peers in the sector as markets take the view that management lack strategic direction for the group. In this regard investors will focus on signs of any change in forward strategic thinking from its leaders. The new management team though are considering options for parts of its Asian business. The business may though have seen renewed activity in the final quarter as a degree of uncertainty in the UK was lifted following the general election result. There is an expectation that operating profits continued to improve from the previous year with a solid dividend.

We currently list Aviva as a BUY

ITV Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

With the share price falling back to pre-election levels investors will be hoping for continued improvement in its online offering and costs. Advertising revenues and guidance for the year ahead is likely to dominate thoughts along with an update on its recently launched streaming service BritBox.

We currently list ITV as a HOLD

Melrose Industries Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

Rumours have circulated recently that the group might be considering a sale of its US business Nortek which could enable management to concentrate on turning around GKN. The market's focus will be on the GKN business especially with signs that pressure is mounting on the global economy. Analysts have always believed that GKN will be a longer-term turnaround story.

We currently list Melrose Industries as a BUY

Schroders Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

The results should reflect the rise in markets in the final months of 2019. However the market prefers to look ahead and the outlook and comments regarding the global economy in light of the coronavirus will be worth noting. To a certain extent taking a view on the company is a proxy on the markets. If you think the markets are going up then the company is in a sector which will benefit and probably outperform. Of course, the opposite could be true if the market turns bearish, although it is viewed as being more defensive than some of its peers.

We currently list Schroders as a HOLD

Admiral Group Plc (Q4 2019 Earnings Release)

Thanks to a trading update only a few weeks ago there should be few surprises from this car insurance provider. At that stage the company raised its full-year profit guidance to £510m-540m due to a lower than expected level of injury claims during 2019. Investors will be looking to see if the combined ratio has recovered following a drop in the first half, and also how the international operations are performing. Repair costs have been rising recently so any comments on that issue in these full-year results will also be of interest, alongside any guidance on prospects for the new financial year.

We currently list Admiral as a HOLD

All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to www.share.com. To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.