Next week brings us a mix of full and interim results, with some important updates.
We have a relatively quiet week coming our way next week, but there are a few interesting annual and interim results announcements due. We're also expecting a small handful of important trading updates, too.
I've been looking at a few of them, with a view to suggesting ones you might think are worth a bit of research ahead of the news. Like Boy Scouts, Foolish investors should be prepared...
Housebuilding and construction group Galliford Try (LSE: GFRD) is due to release preliminary results on Wednesday, amid a number of other results from the sector.
And so far, results have been good, though the reactions of the market have been mixed. On Wednesday, Barratt Developments (LSE: BDEV) announced a strong year, including a 159% boost in pre-tax profits, but the shares fell 6% on the news. And then yesterday, shares in Kier Group (LSE: KIE) flew when the company also released good full-year results. Redrow (LSE: RDW) will also report on Wednesday.
But what about Galliford Try itself? In July's trading update we were told the firm has "exceeded the objectives of our three-year transformational housebuilding plan", and that the full year should be in line with expectations. That suggests we should see a dividend of 4.5% from the 672p shares, with a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 11, and that payout should be twice covered by earnings.
This is clearly a sector that's recovering nicely, but with Galliford already up 50% over the past 12 months, some will feel it's priced high enough now. I don't share that view, and it still looks good value to me.
Wednesday will also bring us full-year figures from Smiths Group (LSE: SMIN), the multinational diversified engineer, and we're expecting a fairly flat year with profits that should be pretty much in line with last year. With the shares on 1,062p, earnings should bring us a P/E of about 11, and the dividend is expected to be around 3.5%. So that looks like a middling dividend from shares that are modestly priced, if not an obvious screaming bargain. So why the interest?
Well, the engineering sector has been attracting more confidence of late, as the tough years of economic meltdown and severely tightened government spending are looking more and more likely to be nearing their end. Along with that, sector share prices have been rising -- Smiths is about 20% up on its low point at the end of last year.
Forecasts for next year see the P/E falling to 9 and the dividend firming up to 3.8%, which in itself is not a massive improvement, but many will be seeing it as the start of a longer-term upwards trend for the sector.
I like to keep an eye open for small-cap growth possibilities, and next week we'll have one in the shape of Oxford Catalysts Group (LSE: OCG), which is due to release interim figures on Friday. The shares have put on a spurt of late, gaining 35% in September to today's price of 77p, and they're more than 50% up on their low point around the beginning of the year.
The company is not profitable yet, with losses forecast for this year and next, but over the past six months it has been steadily picking up contracts to provide its technology to synthetic fuel production projects -- and that's clearly a market that could have great potential.
It could well be one for tech-savvy growth investors to keep an eye on.
As well as a number of results, we also have a couple of important trading updates due next week, with Imperial Tobacco Group (LSE: IMT) set to bring us up to date on Thursday, ahead of full-year results due in October.
Imperial has been soaring ahead of the FTSE for most of the year, but has fallen back of late to 2,289p, so that it is now barely ahead of the index. But it's still had a strong run over the past three years, and investors have pocketed some handsome dividends along the way.
And there's no sign of an end to it -- the City is expecting a 4.6% payout this year, rising to 5.1% next year, with the shares still on a fairly modest P/E of around 11.
The same day we'll have an interim statement from online grocer Ocado (LSE: OCDO), covering the 12 weeks to 5 August. It's had a rocky ride since flotation in 2010. Although the shares did briefly breach 250p, they're currently trading for less than half their 180p flotation price, at 74p.
There are several reasons for bearishness, but the biggest is fears over the firm's ability to get its capacity high enough to achieve any kind of meaningful profit without needing fresh capital. Still, the coming year could be the turnaround point from loss into profit, so this looks like being an important update.
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> Alan does not own any shares mentioned in this article.