A heavy AGM week will bring us updates from BP, Lloyds, RBS and Next, too.
We have an especially busy Thursday coming up for company updates, but before then we'll have full-year results from Home Retail (LSE: HOME) on Wednesday. The shares have plummeted of late, losing more than half their value in the past 12 months, falling to 103p, and the reason has a simple name -- Argos.
As we learned from the company's trading statement last month, though like-for-like sales for the year at Homebase fell by 2%, that was eclipsed by a 9% fall at Argos, whose store format is looking increasingly unattractive to shoppers. To add to that, 2012 got off to a poor start, with both divisions seeing substantial like-for-like falls in the 8 weeks to February 25 -- Homebase down 6.5%, Argos down 8.5%. We'll want to hear what chief executive Terry Duddy plans to do about that.
The recruitment specialist Harvey Nash Group (LSE: HVN) is due to bring us news of its full year on Monday, and February's trading statement suggests things should be ahead of earlier expectations, with staff shortages in high-tech niche markets driving business. Recruitment can be a good barometer of general economic trends, so a good year for Harvey Nash will be a promising year all round.
The shares have had a roller-coaster time of late, but with the current 63p price giving us an expected year-end price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of around 8 and a 4.4% dividend, it may be a good time to take a closer look with a view to business strengthening over the next few years.
Tuesday brings us half-time figures from Imperial Tobacco Group (LSE: IMT). Things have been going well for the shares this year, and they're up 20% over the past 12 months, to 2,505p. Perhaps people are smoking more to try to calm their economic nerves. Last month's trading update suggests the year is in line with expectations so far, and forecasts are decent with yet another 4% plus dividend on the cards.
A multitude of updates
We have a handful of first-quarter updates coming, including BP (LSE: BP) and Reckitt Benckiser (LSE: RB), both on Tuesday, and BG Group (LSE: BG) on Thursday. And we should get a Q3 update from British Sky Broadcasting (LSE: BSY) on Wednesday.
But with AGM season in full swing, the bulk of next week's releases will be interim management statements, and news from the two shareholder-owned banks will be keenly awaited.
Lloyds Banking Group (LSE: LLOY) will update us on Tuesday, with Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) following up on Friday. Both have seen their share prices sliding further over the past year, with falls of 40-50%.
They're paying how much?
Other news from the financial sector should come from fund manager Man Group (LSE: EGM), which will make a first-quarter statement on the day of its AGM on Tuesday. Man Group has been confounding investors by insisting it will carry on paying its massive dividends (currently forecast at 14%), despite its flagship AHL fund not performing well enough to cover the payout. I suspect this one might prove to be a particularly interesting AGM.
Other expected updates include a Q1 statement from Next (LSE: NXT) on Wednesday, coming at a dramatic time for the fashion business. And then Thursday will bring us statements from Diageo (LSE: DGE), Morgan Sindall Group (LSE: MGNS), Wm Morrison Supermarkets (LSE: MRW) and RSA Insurance Group (LSE: RSA).
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Notable announcements next week:
Monday: Harvey Nash Group, Waterlogic, Creston
Tuesday: N Brown Group, BP, CSR, Imperial Tobacco Group, Lloyds Banking Group, Man Group, National Express Group, Reckitt Benckiser Group
Wednesday: Avon Rubber, British Sky Broadcasting Group, First Quantum Minerals, Henderson Group, Home Retail Group, Kofax, Next, Playtech, Provident Financial, JD Wetherspoon, Wolfson Microelectronics
Thursday: Aberdeen Asset Management, Avocet Mining, BG Group, Carphone Warehouse Group, Diageo, Legal & General Group, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels, Mondi, Morgan Sindall Group, Morrison Supermarkets, Randgold Resources, Reed Elsevier, Rexam, RSA Insurance Group, Schroders, Smith & Nephew, St James's Place, WSP Group
Friday: Lancashire Holdings, Rentokil Initial, IMI, Laird, Rolls-Royce Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland.
Fool comment on this week's news: